It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show (are you living life in the Upside Down?
) or as large as the struggle of moving to a foreign country (especially if you had to leave behind grandma’s cooking).
Because we are committed to getting you the most timely and comprehensive essay advice on the interweb, we have made a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of all seven prompts. ) into our pool of essay advice, we’d like to leave you with one last little secret: the prompts are not actually as important as you think they are.
In fact, in our instructional writing course and private advising, we encourage applicants to root around for their most meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later.
It has historically served as a fabulous catch-all for subjects that don’t fit within the confines of the other prompt options.
A recent addition to the Common App’s prompt selection now offers even more freedom to applicants (more on that later), but students should still think of Prompt #1 as a topic of immense choice, reeled in by a few helpful guidelines.The most important thing to consider for this prompt is that your subject and/or perspective is dynamic and specific to you and who you are and no one else.Some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm: Overall, this prompt is what we at College Essay Advisors call a “choose-your-own-adventure” prompt.Focus on the key words, “background,” “identity,” “interest,” and “talent,” and use them as launch points for your brainstorming.What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer?Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives.Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options.We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems.Accordingly, Prompt #2 essays should be predominantly filled with a student’s response, outlook, and demeanor when presented with one of life’s many hurdles, rather than a detailed account of the hurdle itself.Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing.This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject, otherwise you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. Part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.