Common app essay hints

Below are a number of links that provide examples of Common App essays.

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We hope they inspire you and help you to write your own unique essay for your college application. Please do not copy them, as this is plagiarism.

Watching the news with my parents one night, I heard a story about Japan, which included an interview with a man speaking Japanese. Suddenly entranced, I struggled to make sense of the incredible sounds tumbling out of his mouth and immediately knew that the language was a puzzle I needed to solve. The degree summer heat beat down on my shoulders, but that was the least of my problems. A six-year old boy had just disrupted a yellow jacket nest by the lake and children were getting stung left and right.

If it had been any other summer I would have sat back and let an adult take care of the problem, but as the only camp counselor in the vicinity, I was suddenly the closest grown up around. Patience has never been my strong suit, and while I have always wanted to be a healer, I could never imagine waiting to finish college and medical school before actually working with patients. I have never been particularly adept at math, but always managed to do well enough with a little extra effort.

That is, until I signed up for trigonometry. I managed to keep a grasp on the lessons for the first few weeks, but my understanding of the topic slowly ebbed away as the semester wore on. Last year, I was excited when my English teacher announced that she was assigning a group project for our Shakespeare unit.

I sat there waiting to report what had just happened in my history class. Admittedly, I felt a moment of relief at the thought of a less taxing lesson than usual. Some of my classmates thought the same thing, but chose to express it a little more vocally. There was no cataclysmic event that caused me to do so; rather, some of the dogma began to feel exclusionary and overly judgmental. The first time I voiced a challenge was in my weekly catechism class. Immigration is an enormous issue in America, with people arguing about every possible angle to the challenges facing successful policy reform.

Yes, many girls I know in my Mexican American community hold ostentatious events that look like they should be on the cover of a magazine. But when I celebrated my 15th birthday, it was a deeply-rooted cultural affair celebrating my transition into adulthood alongside my family and closest friends.

I would have loved to be on the high school yearbook staff, work on the school paper, run for student government, play a sport, or have enough time to devote to my studies. But my high school experience was much different. I worked twenty to thirty hours a week from the time I was fourteen to help support my family and save for college. My father died when I was ten leaving my mother with three children to support and so, as the oldest, I tried my best to help.

I love the game of football and in sixth grade I decided I wanted to play on a team. I was sure it would be great. I picked up my equipment a few days before the first practice and strolled in thinking this would be easy. However, it was a disaster! I was out of shape, the coach yelled all the time, and I was completely unprepared.

I went home devastated and refused to go back. I grew up tinkering with anything I could get my hands on.You only get characters on the activities list for the Common Application. How do you make the most of them? Here are some tips with accompanying college activities list examples. These tips still apply. How to develop more and better content for your activities list.

How values can help you bring much more variety to your activities list. Why you should never stretch the truth on your activities list. Your activities list can make a big difference in your application. Art Created art and organized club. Founder, Art Honors Society Organized and ran meetings, set up field trips, brainstormed and created group art activities, wrote and sent newsletter to members.

Most students write a pretty good activities list description and then they stop there. Use stronger verbs. Develop better and perhaps a bit more content. Have you included a wide range of responsibilities? Most students forget to include solving problems, gaining skills, and making tangible and even quantifiable! Are you communicating what you learned or how an activity changed you?

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If not, you may be leaving money on the table. You probably need stronger verbs. How do I know? Member, Debate Debated topics, attended tournaments, researched topics.

Common App Essay Examples

BTW I am so much nicer and less sarcastic in real life—just employing it here to make a point. I lead research and case writing, mentor younger debate students, organize mock debates, host an annual debate tournament. Heads up: Using this list for ten minutes will up-level your Activities List verbs, and thereby your descriptions. But wait. Use the 25 questions below the chart for ideas. After a few minutes, your chart may look something like this:.

Did I list all my tasks, or just a few? Go back and check. Did I list tasks I completed that fell slightly outside the scope of my responsibilities? Did I consider the internal problems I solved—any personal challenges?

Did I name the external problems I solved—for my friends or family?For high school seniors, fall means college application season. And college applications often mean applying through the Common Appan online system that lets you apply to multiple schools at the same time. In other words, you only have to fill out everything once — including a personal statement.

But just how important is the Common App essay? This application component gives schools the opportunity to learn more about you as a person and what's important to you. You should use this space to tell your story and reveal aspects about your personality that admissions officers can't detect through other parts of your application.

In this guide, we'll explain what the Common App essay entails, introduce this year's Common App essay prompts, and look at admissions experts' biggest tips for producing an unforgettable personal statement.

The Common App essay is the main personal statement you'll submit to colleges that 1 use the Common App and 2 require the essay. Your personal statement gives you the chance to delve deeper into your interests, experiences, passions, and strengths. You can find the essay prompts and instructions by going to the "Common App" tab on your Common App account and clicking on "Writing.

Your essay must be between and words long. This statement gives you the chance to delve deeper into your interests, experiences, passions, and strengths. You can discuss almost anything you want to, provided your topic addresses the prompt you've chosen.

There are also no rules on style or how to tell your story. You must submit the Common App essay to all schools that require it, but you don't have to write a separate statement for each Common App college though some schools may ask you to submit supplemental essays — more on this later. The application form provides you with a box in which to type your essay; however, it's strongly recommended that you compose your essay in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or another word processor first before copying and pasting the final draft into this box.

The Common App essay is a key part of your college application. According to a study conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling Highly selective institutions typically placed more emphasis on the essay. In one study, Benedict spoke with BestColleges about the Common App essay, including how its importance varies by institution. While most experts agree that a strong Common App essay won't necessarily secure you admission into a highly selective college — especially if your grades and test scores aren't up to par — a cogent, well-written statement could act as a tipping point in your favor at certain schools.

Benedict noted how this often happens at small liberal arts collegeswhich tend to take a more holistic admissions approach. Only a small number of Common App schools do not require the Common App essay. That said, some colleges maintain a separate writing supplement, which appears on the Common App under that particular school with the label "Writing Supplement.

The Common App essay prompts change every couple of years or so. This year's prompts are the same as last year's. You must choose and respond to one of the following prompts:. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

If this sounds like you, please share your story. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.

How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea.

What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale.The Requirements: 1 essay of words; 1 essay of words.

Supplemental Essay Type s : WhyCommunity. Take some time to reflect on the factors that led you to Santa Clara University. Were you taken with a specific program? The more research you can do on SCU the better — your tenacity for detail will put your academic potential on display! Welcome the reader into your mind and help him or her see how Santa Clara University checks all the boxes for you. First off: take some time to actually read the full mission statement. Think it over and jot down some notes about the parts that speak to you and the possibilities it evokes in your mind.

Think micro over macro: a certain line or sentence within the statement that affected you, for example. Get a little vulnerable and be willing to share a vision of the future that not only shows you care, but also might allow you to better the world around you in some way! We thought so. Sign up for free instructional videos, guides, worksheets and more! Score our Exclusive Video Brainstorming Guide and more!

If you have had the opportunity to visit campus or experienced Santa Clara virtually, please share your impression of SCU. Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement, Santa Clara University promises to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion.

We strive to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. How do you plan to live out and implement these values in your own life to create a more equitable society? Want more tips and tricks? Supplemental Essay Prompt Guides:. One-On-One Advising. Common App Essay Prompt Guide. Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide. YouTube Tutorials. Contact us for information on rates and more!

First Last. High school senior High school junior College student College grad Other.College Essays. If you're applying to more than one or two colleges, there's a good chance you'll have to use the Common Application, and that means you'll probably have to write a Common App essay. In this guide, I'll cover everything you need to know about the essay. I'll break down every single Common App essay prompt by going over the following:. This will be your complete starting guide for Common App essays.

After reading this, you should have a lot of ideas for your own essays and directions to write a really strong personal statement. Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of the individual prompts, let's quickly go over the logistics of the Common App essay and some general tips to keep in mind. Although not every school in the US requires an essay as part of their application, the Common Application has traditionally required you to submit a blanket personal statement.

That policy changed recently, and the essay is now optional for some schools. Here are examples of schools that do not require the Common App essay note that some may require a school-specific writing supplement instead :.

If you're applying to more than one or two schools through the Common App, you'll almost certainly need to write a response to the Common App prompts. As such, I would recommend sending your essay to schools even if they don't explicitly require it. You're writing it anyways, and it's the best way for the school to get to know you as a person.

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It's also worth noting that because of the way this system is set up, you could theoretically send a different essay to each school. However, doing so isn't a good use of your time : if schools want to know something more specific about you, they'll require a supplement.

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Focus on writing a single great personal statement. The exact word limit for the Common App essay has varied somewhat over the years, but the current range is words. You must stay within this length; in fact, the online application won't allow you to submit fewer than words or more than Some schools will state that if this isn't enough space, you can send them a physical copy of your essay.

Don't do this. No matter how tempting it might be, stick to the word limit. Otherwise, you risk seeming self-indulgent. In general, I'd advise shooting for an essay between and words long. You want to have enough space to really explore one specific idea, but you don't need to include everything. Editing is an important part of the essay-writing process, after all!

The word limit is like this barbed wire—you shouldn't cross it, no matter how tempted you are.

common app essay hints

As you'll see, the Common App prompts are very general and leave a lot of room for interpretation. Moreover, colleges interpret the questions generously —they're more concerned with learning something interesting about you than with whether your topic perfectly fits the question.

You can write about almost anything and make it work, so if you have an idea, don't let the fact that it doesn't fit neatly into one of these categories stop you. Treat these breakdowns as jumping-off points to help you start brainstormingnot the final word in how you need to approach the essay. The Common App changes its prompts fairly frequentlyso make sure you're familiar with the most up-to-date versions of the Common App essay questions.

7 Expert Tips for the Common App Essay

If you have friends or siblings who applied in past years, don't assume that you can take the exact same approaches they did. This guide will go over the details of all seven current prompts, but first let's talk about some overall advice. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up.I am applying to different schools for early action.

I will finish my Common app application on time but I don't know if my school will be able to send my letter of recommendation and transcript on time. If I send my application on time but my school sends my transcript late, will they still review my application?

common app essay hints

If they don't review my application, are they going to move it to a regular decision or reject it? The system is simple: you receive karma sort of like a credit when you help others.

If you're short on karma, you can do any of the following to earn more:. The answer really just depends on the college. Usually if you submitted through Common App the college won't care and understand that it is not in your control. Hope this can help. Log in. Schools School list Find schools Majors. Please login to. Sign up. What happens if I submit my common app application on time but my Letter of Recommendation and Transcript is late? Your answer can help students like you.

But you also earn karma kind of like credits when your answer is selected as an Accepted Answer 20 karma or upvoted 1 karma. This is our way of thanking folks like you! How does karma work? Accepted answer. There are two things that YOU can do: 1 Email the colleges that you are applying to and tell them about your situation; most colleges will be flexible.

Looks like you don't have JavaScript enabled. Enable JavaScript to use our free tools.Looking for help with the Common Application Essay? Hello, students and parents of the future class of !

The time has come. This wide range of questions, meant to inspire candidates in their search for compelling personal stories, is ideal for exploring essay topics of all tones, styles, and subjects. 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.

Before you dive or cannonball! In fact, in our instructional YouTube videos and private advisingwe encourage applicants to root around for their most meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later.

This is a process we call the Backwards Brainstorm, and you can learn more about it here. What matters is the story you want to tell. And that you floss at least every other day—trust us, it will pay off in the long run. We are as sure as ever that every single one of you has a valuable story or two or twelve! All it takes is ample time for reflection and a little writerly elbow grease to find it.

So take a peek at what the application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them really! What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer?

It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show are you living life in the Upside Down? We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems. Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility. The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures.

They can be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for years, or as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables.

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Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore. Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible. This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories.

common app essay hints

It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory. This is also a more precarious prompt than most in that students need to carefully assess the risks of espousing beliefs that might be polarizing for the readers of their applications.

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Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to any campus. If this prompt jumps out at you because you have a very specific story to tell or opinion to voice, run with it! Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue see the horror genre example above.

What matters most when responding to this prompt is that you have strong convictions about the belief or idea you are trying to convey, and that you examine the personal effects of this ethos on your life and world. For this reason, Prompt 3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions. We love Prompt 4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it.

Students should think about everything from more traditional obstacles they have had to overcome to the small predicaments that have inspired them to think about what they really value.

common app essay hints

Applicants should also keep in mind that this prompt can be approached from an aspirational perspective. Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. How might you be part of meaningful progress and problem-solving moving forward? It is important that the problem you choose is linked to your life and world in a meaningful way.


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