Common App Essay Prompts

It's that time of year again! The 2016-2017 Common Application essay prompts are confirmed, and high school juniors everywhere will soon be gearing up to work on their essays. Here are the topics, which have not changed from last year: 

1. 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.

2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

4. 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.

5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.

During the 2015-2016 application cycle, more than 800,000 applicants submitted a common application, and 47 percent of them chose prompt number one about their background, identity, interest or talent, making it the most popular prompt by far. The least popular? Prompt number three, challenging a belief or idea. Only four percent of applicants chose that topic.

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