Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you?
Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter.
Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you. Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.
Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds impressive.
As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself.
Wondering what essay prompts you might see on your college applications?
From The Common Application to individual school applications, we’ve got you covered.
The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores (and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool).
Nearly 700 colleges accept the The Common Application, which makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form.
If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission in 2016, you will have 250–650 words to respond to ONE of the following prompts: Answer this prompt by reflecting on a hobby, facet of your personality, or experience that is genuinely meaningful and unique to you.
For more than 35 years, students and families have trusted The Princeton Review to help them get into their dream schools.
We help students succeed in high school and beyond by giving them resources for better grades, better test scores, and stronger college applications.
It is only after we have built the Athlete Blueprint, that we can continue to design a program targeting the needs and goals of that individual.
Though many programs may be similar, each individual will have their own workout agendas to be completed.
Based on continuous re-assessment, programs will be modified to ensure the athlete is doing what they need when they need it.
Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution.
Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it.
Don’t forget to explain why the problem is important to you!
Just like Prompt #2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller moment.
Describe the event that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed.
That’s why the last piece of this prompt is essential.
The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result.
Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged.
Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! A vague essay about a hot button issue doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything useful about YOU.
This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick.
Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in.
Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in.
Avoid a rehash of the accomplishments on your high school resume and choose something that the admissions committee will not discover when reading the rest of your application.
You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you failed.
But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance!
Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth.
Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.
The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are impressive people.