Great post Mark! I like how you used an actual prompt example to help students organize their thoughts better when writing a college essay. There’s a blog post on http:/// that includes more general things that your college essay should say about yourself that students can apply to all prompts as well. You can find it here http:///how-to-write-the-perfect-college-essay-5-things-it-should-say-about-you/ . There’s other college advice on there too about how to master the admissions process and even tips how to format your resume for college applications. Good stuff!
2017-2018 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. [No change]
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? [Revised]
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking ? What was the outcome ? [Revised]
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. [No change]
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
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? [New]
Identity : This is the pivot of the prompt. However you address this prompt, you are being asked about your identity. You are asked to address the fundamental nature of how you see yourself as a person. Who are you? What are you? What makes you, well, you? Admissions officers want to be able to say, “hey, I understand who this kid is and where he came from, because the kid understands this about himself and is able to communicate it in a clear, compelling fashion.” So, this essay must address your identity, however you define it.