Common Application essay prompts for 2015-16 applicants

The Common App (Application) is an online college application used by over 500 colleges and universities.

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Here are the essay prompts for the Common App next year (this is relevant for current juniors!)

  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.


Current juniors could spend some time this summer working on college essays to distribute the senior year workload which is heavy in the fall, considering their coursework plus college applications. Also, juniors could ask several teachers for letters of recommendation this June to be written over the summer. Teachers get inundated with requests for letters of recommendation in the fall and winter.