College Essay Word Limit Common App

Because we are committed to getting you the most timely and comprehensive essay advice on the interweb, we have made a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of all seven prompts. ) into our pool of essay advice, we’d like to leave you with one last little secret: the prompts are not actually as important as you think they are.In fact, in our instructional writing course and private advising, we encourage applicants to root around for their most meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later.

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So take a peek at what the 2019-20 application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them (really! The Common App’s Prompt #1 is the Old Faithful of essay questions.

It’s been around for years and offers all the flexibility an applicant could ask for from a prompt, with just enough direction to get those creative fountains flowing.

Consider these questions as you brainstorm: Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue (see the horror genre example above).

What matters most when responding to this prompt is that you have strong convictions about the belief or idea you are trying to convey, and that you examine the personal effects of this ethos on your life and world.

This question is similar to Prompt #2 in that it is meant to tease out a student’s problem-solving skills and provide a glimpse into an applicant’s frame of mind when dealing with challenges.

It also provides a few bonus opportunities for creative expression, leaving both the scale and the time frame for setting up a problem/solution wide open.

This is a process we call the Backwards Brainstorm, and you can learn more about it here.

For now, the main point we want you to take away is this: The prompts don’t really matter. (And that you floss at least every other day—trust us, it will pay off in the long run.) We are as sure as ever that every single one of you has a valuable story (or two or twelve! All it takes is ample time for reflection and a little writerly elbow grease to find it.

For this reason, Prompt #3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions.

We love Prompt #4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it.

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