2016-2017 Common Application Essay Prompts: A Guide

Posted: November 02, 2016 To: Study
Content 2016 2017 common application essay prompts a guide

In line with the start of the 2016-2017 college application, a number of common application essay topics have surfaced for aspirants to look into and start working on their college applications. The topics that have been confirmed are similar to that of last year’s (2015-2016) and, likewise, they are subject to creative interpretation without compromising the core guidelines that students will have to follow.

  1. A topic of your choice – it could be almost anything under the sun: an interest or a life-altering event that helped shape the person you are today. The good thing about this prompt is that you only need yourself as a source for this essay. There is no need to research further because you most likely already have the main points that you think deserve a space in your essay. Because it is, after all, your choice, it can be as simple as your favorite book, movie, or song to something more existential like the challenges you had to face when you moved out of your hometown to a strange new place. Use this to your advantage and pick a topic that is most interesting to you and you feel would be the easiest for you to put yourself in the best light possible.

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  1. How a failure affected you and what you learned from the experience – the key to answering this prompt is to understand that this is not simply about your failure but, in fact, more about the success that followed. It gauges how you are able to deal with failures, setbacks, and stress. It looks at your problem-solving ability to see if you are physically, mentally, and emotionally ready for college. After all, it is going to be a strange new world out there.

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  1. On challenging a belief or idea – this proves to be one of the difficult topics among the prompts provided that you will have to establish two theories – their theory and yours. This is also quite challenging because the goal is to be objective about it rather than to be preachy. Additionally, as this could end up quite controversial, the applicant must be cautious about not disrespecting the other theory in the effort to make it sound like you are right and that they are wrong. 

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  1. A description of the problem you have solved or would like to solve – you can choose from various challenges including intellectual and ethical issues. Similar to Prompt #2, it showcases an applicant’s problem-solving ability. Students can also have a free hand to choose between personal and social issues. They just have to consider which problem is most valuable and important for them to address. Note, however, that this prompt has to be addressed both substantially and creatively; that is, you will have to include at least objective solutions along with creative approaches.

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  1. An accomplishment or event that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood – this transition could be within the family or community whichever topic you are more comfortable with to discuss. The good thing about this prompt is that it is open to just about any idea including birthdays and graduations. Experience has taught us that any topic as long as it is authentic, honest, and well-written could go a long way and impress the admissions department.

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