How to Answer Common App Essay Prompts (2020-21)


How to Answer Common App Essay Prompts (2020-21)

When applying for more than one college, chances are you’ll have to write a common app essay. You can write it in any way you want, but with recommendations from professionals and those who have already been through the whole application thing, it will be much easier. In this article, we’ll review 7 amazing essay prompts that may result in your admission to the college of your dreams.

Are you ready for a challenge? By getting help from professionals, you’re increasing your chances of getting to any school!

What Is the Common App Essay?

The first thing to highlight is what a common app essay is. First of all, not every school requires an essay from their applicants. But most do. So, when applying, the Common Application system will make it easier for you to send a personal statement and other necessary papers to several establishments at once.

The common app essay is a personal statement where you describe your best and worst quality, a failure or accomplishment, talk about your background, answer questions, state your passion. You let the committee get knowledge about your persona and become familiar with you.

The officer who reads the letter should get a feeling that you’re a perfect applicant for their school. That’s why you should highlight yourself from different sides, be honest, and let them know your passion is growth, and their college can help you fulfill that passion

It’s wise to send the statement even to the college that doesn’t require it, just in case. It’s a powerful piece of writing that describes your experience, and it may improve your chances! The committee doesn’t know you as a person when seeing your grades, they can only assume. So, such an essay can describe you to them and let them know if you’re eligible.

You can send a different letter to every college but it will become a setback for you timewise. It’s better to write one super-powerful paper to impress any committee! There are things that appeal to all colleges. The 7 following prompts are a reflection of those things, so use them wisely to reveal your beautiful persona to the officer you will read your letter.

How To Write Common App Prompt #1: The Background Essay

Every student has a different background and experience. You can’t go wrong with your own story, because there are no two exactly identical ones. 

You have your own:

  • Identity;
  • Interest;
  • Value;
  • Best quality;
  • Best skill;
  • Meaningful experience.

This type of admission essays is as old as the papers themselves. It’s basic, always interesting, and always different. The process of writing will help you get a reflection on yourself as well.

Let it define you, bring keywords like “growth”, “background”, “interest” to your focus when you start to brainstorm. Always brainstorm for ideas and note them before writing. Remember your most memorable experience, what’s interesting about your life, what’s special. If there’s nothing special at first sight, just start writing out your qualities, paradoxes you’ve had or are having.

Have you been overseas in a country that made you look at your life differently?

Is your life not as standard as it might seem at first?

Find something specific. Ask yourself the following:

  • How am I different from other people of my age?
  • What’s my key quality?
  • How can I see myself? Who can I ask to help me with that?

Give it a strong title and let’s go!

How To Write Common App Prompt #2: The Setback Essay

Every student had their own lessons to learn because of a failure or setback. What was your lesson and how did you manage to not let the failure define you, but the lesson that you’ve learned?

That’s quite a question, but it will open a whole new creativity flow for you. The experience will also be therapeutic since you’ll look back and relive the situation, bringing your power and value to it. You’ll heal whatever hurt has left from it. And you also may make the admission officer cry a little.

Be sure you:

  • Make an engaging title;
  • Bring the solution to your focus, not the problem;
  • Format the essay properly;
  • Explore your lessons and find a key concept the essay will be based on.

Become our personal example for this one. 

Appeal to emotions, concentrate on the turning points that inspired you. The experience may be connected to your family, studies, personal life, or anything else. Financial issues, struggle in self-understanding, trying to find your best skill or a solution to another difficult problem.

How To Write Common App Prompt #3: The Challenger Essay

Everyone has had a challenge at one point. What was yours about as a student and as a person? Where did you look for the source of strength to overcome it? Illustrate the scale of the problem, write a story where you’re the main character. 

Common app essays offer you an opportunity of a lifetime to open your heart, head, and skills, and just write an amazing story. This will be your very own personal accomplishment.

Here, reveal your beliefs and knowledge, discuss the breaking points that almost made you give up. Make it passionate, make it stand out so much that the officer will want to read it to other people. Standing out is one of the best things you can do to get the admission.

Ask one question or more about:

  • You challenge;
  • Its breaking points;
  • Where you went for help/reassurance/peace;
  • What the result was;
  • How it affected you.

Pay attention to the conclusion, make sure there is one with a call to action or the action you’ve committed to after all.

How To Write Common App Prompt #4: The Solver Essay

Every student has had a problem they had to solve. Reveal yourself as a solver, as a troubleshooter, show that you can make it on your own. The concept should be about a strong applicant. This prompt will show the process of your research and realization of your power.

This may be the future problems, current, or past, but make sure they aren’t common. The main purpose of this prompt is to illustrate an unconventional issue and how you explore the ways to help. A powerful call to action will also be useful for this prompt.

Every essay will benefit from some attention grabbers, so make sure there are some at the beginning.

Question set to contemplate on:

  • What inspired you to make a change?
  • What world problem do you want to solve?
  • If you had power in an industry of the world, what would it be?

How To Write Common App Prompt #5: The Accomplishment Essay

Every student has had moments of unstoppable growth, an accomplishment that has changed their life forever. The decision to live alone, move to another town, a big win, a result as a consequence of hard work. Think of the challenges, of the things that made you go forward no matter what, what new understanding all those things have brought. 

Most often, the perspective is to go from childhood to adulthood. Contemplate on the topic and reveal what was your changing point. When did you realize you were an adult. What knowledge did you bring from one life to another?

How To Write Common App Prompt #6: The Passion Essay

Every person has their own passions. It is a place where you can be 100% yourself, embrace your interests, hobbies, and passions. Think about the subject. What you can think about/talk about/do for hours, not answering to family and friends, being totally submerged?  Why do you think the passion for it is so powerful?

Such a subject will show you as a passionate learner. Past knowledge and experience are good and all, but your ability to be so motivated that nothing can distract you tells a lot about your perspective. Make your main word “passion” or “motivation”, and brainstorm.

Some people will find the answer right away, while some, of course, may need to think longer. But you’ll definitely find something, maybe from childhood. If it’s in any way connected to the word “learning”, you’re winning twice!

How To Write Common App Prompt #7: Topic of Your Choice

If nothing in the prompts 1 to 6 is quite your scale, you’re free to choose a free topic. 

Don’t make the essay too formal, it’s better to talk as if to a friend. Make it almost cozy, pleasant to read. Let your values be the concept and the example for such an essay.

As usual, of course, try to describe something that only you have experienced. Don’t make the essay common. Research your own experience and talk about the events and experience that are so interesting and different that they have made you a more special person. And if you feel like nothing works and you can’t write the essay, there’s always professional help online!

At EssayDragon, we will help you create the most powerful common app essay your college has ever received! We’ll unite your experience and our writing skills, and the result will impress you!