Responses to Common Application Essay Prompts

Responses to Common Application Essay Prompts

If you are not familiar with the Common App, then you have a great opportunity to try it out. by using Common Application, students can apply to more than 900 different colleges and universities using the “Common Application” online. One of the great aspects of the Common App is that you can also submit responses to essay prompts that select schools can view. Give them a sample of your writing, your way of thinking and give them an insight into them who you are is a great opportunity to help your app stand out.

However, one of the difficult parts of writing a college application is knowing where to start and how to organize your thoughts. Middle School Excel Writing Lab is a good resource for this, but you can also find some tips for each of the 2022-2023 essay prompts below to get you started. Remember, you can choose whatever challenge speaks most to you as an individual, and these are just suggestions to get you started. You can always start here and then do your own thing!

1.) Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful that they feel their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.

Points to consider:
  • • Do you have something that really shines and defines you as a person right now?
  • • Has your heritage or culture positively influenced the way you see the world?
  • • Do you have a strong sense of who you are as a person because of important events in your background?
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • You can write this much like a memoir where you describe certain life events or experiences that come together to form an overall theme. The trick to making it memoir-style is to include narrative elements, such as descriptions of your thoughts and feelings, and to include descriptions of you and others as if the author of the character were doing it. You want to explore your own unique insight into what each life event or experience has taught you about yourself and your future in order to settle on a certain topic.
  • • Alternatively, this prompt can be answered with a Cause and consequence essay format in which you discuss the various influences you have faced in your life. After describing each influence (experience, background, or people), you’ll want to go into detail about how it shaped your identity. You can delve even deeper into a topic by explaining how each one has shaped your view of the world and your future.

2.) The lessons we learn from the obstacles we encounter can be critical to later success. Tell about a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you and what did you learn from the experience?

Points to consider:
  • • How have you grown in the last few years of your life? What events led to this growth?
  • • Have you had any serious conflict with another person that affected your thinking? What events led to the change in thinking?
  • • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? Did you face it head on or did it take a while to learn from the experience? What lesson did you learn and what happened to shift your focus from failure to growth?
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • This essay can be answered immediately with a personal narrative. You can include all the typical elements of storytelling (dialogue, description, following a plot diagram) that you wrote with you as the narrator.
  • • You can write it as a Compare and contrast essay if narrative is not a comfortable format for you. To do this, you’ll want to think critically about how you were before and how you’ve changed since. You would then give your audience the situation and background information about the obstacle in the introduction, each body paragraph would explain a different way you changed, describing how you faced the conflict as evidence, and the conclusion would summarize your essay. by explaining how you will take the lessons you learned into your future.

3.) Think about a time when you questioned or questioned a belief or idea. What led to your thinking? What was the result?

Points to consider:
  • • You would like to explore an idea that shows maturity and growth.
  • •What did you ask that taught you that our thoughts and beliefs are constantly changing as we experience new things and meet different people?
  • • Is there a specific person who influenced you to change? What experiences with them caused this shift in your beliefs?
  • • Have you questioned or challenged your beliefs and then decided you didn’t want to change them? What experiences led you to the decision No alter?
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • This challenge can be written as a story. First, you should think about what the overall lesson you learned was and use that as a story theme throughout your essay. Then start planning your story according to the plot. Include dialogue and descriptive language to communicate the emotion of the experience.
  • • If story writing isn’t for you, you can also set this essay using Cause and consequence format. Your introduction to an essay like this can be a general description of your previous thinking. You would then want to organize your essay with each body paragraph exploring one of the reasons why your thinking changed. You can end your essay with a conclusion that explores how questioning or challenging your belief or idea will affect your movement forward.

4.) Think of something someone did for you that made you happy or thanked you in a surprising way. How has this gratitude influenced or motivated you?

Points to consider:
  • • If the event you are thinking about is very far in the past, you may not remember enough details to bring the subject to life. Try to think of something that happened that you remember well enough to make it personal.
  • • Gratitude can be about simple events in your life; this essay doesn’t have to be about a grand gesture. It can be about someone’s consistent behavior that you feel grateful for and that has had an impact on your future.
  • • Who is the most influential person in your life? Why does this person have such influence? Make a list of the aspects of their character for which you are most grateful and from which you have learned the most. Start your essay from there.
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • This essay could again be a Cause and consequence format. To set this up, you should introduce the person who taught you gratitude and provide background information to help your audience understand who they are in relation to you. You will then want to think about the main ways they taught you gratitude. Each of the body paragraphs will highlight what they did or a quality of who they are and how it positively impacted you. You could close by talking about how you will apply these lessons and the motivation to carve out a positive future for yourself.
  • • You can create a character analysis for this essay. Really analyze the person you are writing about and create an essay as a tribute to them. You can introduce the person and their general mood in the introduction and then dig a little deeper in each body paragraph by giving an example of a gratitude lesson you learned from them. Give details about how their behavior makes you feel and motivates you. End your essay with an important tribute to this person and explain how their lessons will serve as an example for your own gratitude and motivation in your future.

5.) Discuss an achievement, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and new understanding of self or others.

Points to consider:
  • • This challenge is very broad, so if no other challenges resonate with you, there is probably a way to adapt this challenge to your life experiences.
  • • What achievement or experience keeps you going? It might be one of those moments that haunts you and you wish you could have handled it differently. It could also be something you’ve done well and are really proud of.
  • • Have you participated in or organized any public benefit events? How has it affected the way you think about the world?
  • • Have you participated in any activism? What did the people you met teach you and the cause you rallied around?
  • • Maybe it wasn’t just one event; instead, you may have faced a series of experiences that led to personal growth and understanding.
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • If you can think of a single event that spurred growth and new understanding of yourself and others, you can write it as a personal narrative based on the plot and including descriptions of the narrative elements. Be sure to include your thoughts and reactions to the events in the narrative.
  • • If a series of events had a big impact on you, you would probably write it as a memoir and describe and discuss each event and how each one impacted you. You would still include descriptive narrative elements, but spend time analyzing each event.
  • • This essay also works as a Compare and contrast essay because you delve deeply into the topic of how you have changed or how your views of the people around you have changed. In this case, you would describe what you were like in the introduction. You would want to really analyze how each part of the experience or each individual experience changed you in separate body paragraphs. In each of these paragraphs, state what step to change the experience led you to take. Finally, apply these lessons to your future.

6.) Describe a topic, idea, or concept that captivates you so much that you lose track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Points to consider:
  • • Are you absolutely obsessed with learning about something? What is it? Why does it describe you so perfectly? What did you start on this topic? What do others think of your obsession? What makes you want to learn more about it?
  • • What is one theme you keep coming back to when you dream? Can you think of a philosophical question that you might read or think about often? Why is this so interesting to you?
Organization of this type of essay:
  • • This essay is personal Informative essay. It’s personal because you include your opinions on the topic and explain what aspects really tickle your fancy, but it’s informative because you’re also educating the audience about the topic. Informative essays rely heavily on evidence and explanation, so this is a good time to narrow down your topic of interest to the things that stood out to you the most in each paragraph, and then explain why you think it’s so amazing.

7.) Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to another prompt, or one of your own design.

Points to consider:
  • • This is the most open of all challenges! If you’ve written an essay for school, for yourself, or for a writing competition that you’re really proud of, this is your chance to share it. Just remember, if you can, try to show your unique personality and way of thinking in the essay. You want to stand out and this is an open enough challenge that anyone can use it.
  • • If you’ve read all the other challenges and thought, “These just aren’t for me,” that’s okay. Sit down and think about something that is meaningful to you. Maybe it’s a type of art or medium that has inspired you. Maybe it’s a special person in your life who has taught you valuable lessons. This challenge can be anything, so take the time to dig deep into your life before you start writing.
Organization of this type of essay:

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