KEY things to know about the 2017-2018 Common App Prompts:
- The Common App had zero prompt changes last year and many expected the same thing for this summer. That’s not the case. Several of last year’s prompts have been revised and new prompts added.
- The “topic of choice” essay prompt is back for the first time since 2013! (The Universal App and Coalition App had this last year, and the Common App is now jumping on board again as well.)
- There are now 7 main essay prompts to choose from, quite a lot.
The 2017-2018 Common App Essay Prompts Are:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change]
- 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? [Revised]
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]
- 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 that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change]
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
We’ve done a thorough review of these and feel strongly that applicants should cross off 4 of these prompts right from the get go. Work with us and we’ll tell you which ones and how.