Changes to the Common App

Posted on Feb 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM

Just when juniors and seniors thought it was safe to work on that Common Application essay—kapow! The prompts have been changed—for the first time in many years.

The essay must be written in response to one of the five questions below. These prompts reflect what many of the supplement essay choices have been for schools that have requested additional writing from the applicant.

So, here are the five choices for the 2013-14 Common Application essay:

  1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  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 place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Word limit: 650 words. Minimum, 250 words. The folks at the Common Application have stressed that the upper limit will be adhered to, but that it’s a limit, not a requirement; a student should not feel obliged to write 649 words.

Additional changes:

In addition, the revised Common Application (used by well over 400 schools nationally) no longer has the shorter (150 word) writing sample found on the old Common Application form.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your application essay. Remember that we have some of the best essay assistance around! Let us help you get a leg up on this critical part of the college application process. Contact the Score At The Top Center nearest you.

Topics: Common Application


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