It’s official –for any current junior in high school, essay writing season just began. The Common App released their main essay prompts for the 2019-2020 year, which means that essay brainstorming for any junior, if you’re ready, can launch.
One of the things we work on with our students is helping them pinpoint and refine the main academic interest that they will present to colleges with. It used to be that an “exploratory” approach to college admissions was okay and that checking “undecided” for your targeted major/concentration on the Common App wasn’t a huge deal. No longer! Your main essay for the Common App is one spectacular shot that you have to convey to colleges that you are (already!) a scholar in a particular field.
Is that art history perhaps? Awesome! Then maybe an online course from Georgetown University’s Summer Program for High School Students is the way to go, as you could take a 3-college credit course called Renaissance to Modern Art and learn all about western pictorial art, sculpture and architecture from the early Renaissance to the 20th century. Now THAT will likely spark some great ideas for your main essay response for the Common App –not to mention the Georgetown transcript you’d earn in just a few weeks of online coursework from June 3rd to July 26th, 2019. Or, maybe your main academic interest is environmental sustainability OR evolutionary anthropology or biophysics?… Stellar! A wonderful way you can research that is with an examination of what you’ve done in your high school career and summers so far, with careful planning for your ever-important summer 2019. We’d love to assist!
Bottom line: We track updates on the Common App very closely and are SO pleased that the main essay prompts from last year will be the same for 2019-2020; this was announced earlier than ever before. So:
KEY things to know about the 2019-2020 Common App Prompts
- The “topic of choice” essay question remains in place.
- There are 7 main essay prompts to choose from, quite a lot.
- The most popular essay prompt last year (which 24% of applicants picked) was #7, the topic of choice, but we actually do not usually urge that one.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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?
- 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.
We’ve done a thorough review of these and feel strongly that applicants should cross off 4 of these prompts RIGHT NOW. Work with us and we’ll tell you which ones and how.