These questions and comments appear on the Common Application website. Although no
word limit has been mentioned, if there indeed has been no change since last year, then the limit is still the painful and
2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts
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.
The most popular essay prompt of the 2017-2018 application year (through
January 5, 2018) is "Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth..."
(23.6%), followed by the topic of your choice option (22.5%), and "Some students have a background, identity, interest,
or talent that is so meaningful..." (21.4%).
"Through the Common App essay prompts, we want to give all applicants - regardless of background
or access to counseling - the opportunity to share their voice with colleges. Every applicant has a unique story. The essay
helps bring that story to life," said Meredith Lombardi, Associate Director, Outreach and Education, for The