- All applications processed at commonapp.org.
- One 650 word essay sent to all colleges.
- Five common app essay topics to choose from.
- Individual colleges may have their own essay requirements: these are known as supplementals.
THE PURPOSE OF APPLICATION ESSAYS: THEY ARE ABOUT YOU!
- They tell a personal story about you to help persuade an admissions officer that you’re a good candidate for the school.
- They reveal your passions and what you’re proud of.
- They tell us something about your goals, your interests and your personality.
COMMON ELEMENTS IN THE COMMON APP ESSAY QUESTIONS
- You are asked to be personal, and tell an “I” story.
- There are questions within the question.
- They are looking for you to find a specific experience within your life to discuss.
- You are asked to reflect on how the experience affected you: what you learned, how you changed, how you’ve grown.
HOW TO BE YOUR BEST IN AN ESSAY
- Sell yourself: reveal your best qualities.
- Have a positive attitude about everything the experience has taught you.
- Be strategic and selective with your accomplishments.
- Provide evidence of your leadership ability.
- Where possible, mention goals.
- Reflect on what you have learned.
HOW TO DISCUSS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, LEADERSHIP AND GOALS
- Be strategic and selective in what you include. There isn’t room for everything.
- Choose long term involvements and things you are passionate about.
- Where appropriate, demonstrate your leadership qualities: creative thinking, initiative, perseverance, conflict management and ability to work well with others.
- Where possible, share specifics academic interests, personal goals, career aspirations and dreams for the future.
HOW TO DISCUSS DIFFICULT EXPERIENCES
- Be direct and honest.
- Don’t overshare.
- Reflect on what the experience taught you.
- Focus on the positive where possible by demonstrating what you’ve learned.
SUPPLEMENTALS: THREE BROAD CATEGORIES
- 1) straightforward questions about experiences, interest in the school or program.
- 2) creative questions about “you.”
- 3) critical thinking questions about philosophical, moral and cultural issues.
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN WRITING SUPPLEMENTALS
- Keep your responses simple and packed with information.
- Take time to consider your answer and say something specific.
- Show your thought process, how you arrived at an answer to a moral or philosophical question.
- Where appropriate, relate the question to something personal.
- Take extra care to ensure that this is your best writing even when answers are short.
WRITING RULES TO REMEMBER
- Answer the question.
- Tell the truth.
- Keep to the required word length.
- Show us instead of telling us.
- Be specific.
- Use simple language.
- Edit and Proofread.
- Tell a good story.