By: Bradley Blankenship, Ph.D., College Navigator and Education Consultant
If you are planning to apply to colleges next year, did you know that the Common Application has already released its essay questions? This means you can get a head start on your essay writing!
Because the Common Application reviews their essay prompts every other year, the 2018-2019 application cycle will use the same questions as the 2017-2018 cycle.
Common Application Essay Prompts for 2018-2019
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 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?
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
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, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
6. 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?
7. 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.
Essay Tips to Remember
Less is more
The Common Application only allows essays between 250 and 650 words. This isn’t a time to be verbose. Be intentional in your word choice and make every sentence count.
Keep the focus on you
While I appreciate the intention of the theme, I’ve read more essays about influential grandmothers, grandfathers, and athletic coaches than I care to recount. The essay is an opportunity for you to show the admissions counselors who you are. It should be about YOU! If you do choose to write about a friend or family member, please be sure to make sure that the focus is still about you.
Essays take work
Very few people, if any, can sit down and write a perfect first draft. The writing process can be messy. Each student experiences it in their own way. Take your time and explore your ideas. Write multiple versions of your essay from different perspectives. However you approach it, try not to get discouraged and know that this is something most students struggle with. You are not alone!
Take advantage of your resources
When working on your essay, take advantage of the resources that are available to you. Maybe your school has a writing center; ask them for help! Are you close to your guidance counselors? See if they would be willing to brainstorm ideas with your or give you feedback on your writing. If you prefer to work in groups, create a writing group with your friends! If you want more specific help, make an appointment with one of My College Navigation Hub’s advisors! We love working with students and helping you find your voice and best fit is what we do best!
Schedule a free consultation with Bradley
Bradley Blankenship, Ph.D., has worked with families to develop and implement unique academic curriculums that meet their needs. As former faculty, administrator, and college admissions officer, he has experience working with students at both the university and high school levels. Finding, applying, and enrolling in a college or university can be overwhelming, particularly if you are a homeschool student. Assisting in the college search and application process, creating and authenticating transcripts, developing comprehensive home school portfolios, and helping to brainstorm creative and unique service-learning experiences that compliment your curriculum are just a sampling of Bradley’s skill sets. Bradley has a B.A. George Mason University (Psychology), M.S. Indiana University (Higher Education), and a Ph.D. Indiana University (Higher Education).
Areas of Specialty: Homeschool Curriculum Development, College Search and Application, Transcript Authentication, LGBTQ College Search, Transfer Admissions, Gap Year Planning, Co-Curricular Experiential Education