Common App College Essay Prompt 2013

How to Format Your Common Application Essay

by j9robinson | Aug 9, 2017 | Common Application, Commonly Asked Questions, How Format Common App Essay, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Confused on How to Format Your Common Application Essay? Here are 9 Hot Tips The 2017-18 Common Application opened for business earlier this week (August. 1). Chances are you will soon need to know how to format your common application essay. If you are on the ball,...

The Trouble with Boys and College Application Essays

by j9robinson | Jul 25, 2017 | Common Application, Parents, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Who Writes Better College Application Essays: Boys or Girls? When I gave one of my summer college application essay writing boot camps this last weekend in my hometown of Laguna Beach, I had 11 boys and one girl. As the students showed up, I casually mentioned this...

Common Application Prompt 6: Be Warned!

by j9robinson | Feb 18, 2017 | Common App: Prompt 6, Common Application, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

  Big Red Flag on this New Common Application Prompt 6! The Common Application added two new prompts for 2017-18. Now students can choose from seven prompts (instead of five) to inspire their personal statement “Common App” essay. The seventh new...

New Common Application Prompts for 2017-18

by j9robinson | Feb 7, 2017 | Common App Prompt 7, Common Application, Common Prompts, The Common App, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

New Common Application Prompts for 2017-18: TOPIC OF CHOICE IS BACK!!   Great news for you college-bound juniors who are just starting to think about your college application essays. If you need to write your personal statement essay for The Common Application,...

How to Write a College Application Essay: In 3 Easy Steps

by j9robinson | Feb 19, 2016 | Essay Cheat Sheet, Jumpstart Guide!, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

  After working with thousands of students from all over the world on writing the dreaded college application essay for the last eight years, I’ve finally been able to boil down the process to three simple steps. Yes, just three steps. If you follow these...

Common Application Essay Prompts and Strategies for 2016-17

by j9robinson | Feb 13, 2016 | Common Application, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Stand Out in Your Common Application Essay   So you are ready to start writing your Common Application Essay? Congratulations! You have found the best source of specific tips and strategies on exactly how to brainstorm topics for each of the 5 prompts–and...

How Many Common Application Essays Should You Write?

by j9robinson | May 31, 2015 | Common Application, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Short Answer: ONE College Application Essay for The Common App   The Common Application comes out officially August 1. But they already announced the changes for this coming 2015-16 season. The most important were changes to the five essay prompts. (You can write...

How to Answer Common Application Prompt 4: Free Tutorial Video

by j9robinson | May 30, 2015 | Common App: Prompt 4, Common Prompts, Uncategorized, Video Tutorials | 1 Comment

  The folks at The Common Application added a new prompt this year and I love it. It asks you to write about a problem. What’s so great about a problem? Problems = Stories = Great Essays! This may be the only time having a juicy problem is a good thing. So take...

Pulling Your Hair Out Over The Common App? Here’s Some Relief

by j9robinson | Oct 17, 2013 | Common Application, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

  Students trying to submit their college applications–including their essays–to The Common Application are finding all sorts of glitches and problems this fall. Apparently, it’s a new system and some students have spent literally hours trying...

Hot Strategies for All Five of the New Common Application Prompts

by j9robinson | Jun 13, 2013 | Common Application, Common Prompts, The Common App, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

College Application Essays Which Prompt Will You Pick?   UPDATE: Most of this information is still helpful and relevant. However, please see the changes in the NEW Common Application Prompts for 2015-16!  If you are ready to brainstorm ideas for your Common...

Should You Take the Challenge of Prompt 3 of New Common App?

by j9robinson | Jun 13, 2013 | Common App: Prompt 3, Common Application, The Common App, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

  College Application Essays: How to Answer Prompt 3 of the Common App. Who or What Have You Confronted Lately?   When you read the five options for your Common Application essay, one prompt probably will appeal to you first off. Others you will skim and...

The Essay Tightrope: How Far to Push the New Common App Prompts

by j9robinson | Jun 10, 2013 | About Admissions Officers, Common Application, The Common App, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

  If you are working on your Common Application, you have five prompts (or essay questions) to choose from for your essay. The challenge is to pick the prompt that you can answer to write your best, most effective essay. In previous years, you had the option to...

Should You Choose Prompt 5 for Your Common App Essay? Maybe…

by j9robinson | Jun 6, 2013 | Common App: Prompt 5, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

PLEASE NOTE! This prompt has changed for 2017-18. This post is now obsolete, although you can still find helpful general information on how to think about prompts and write your essays.  The revised prompt 5 is: Discuss an accomplishment, event,...

Oprah and Prompt 2 of The Common Application

by j9robinson | Jun 5, 2013 | Common App: Prompt 2, Common Application, The Common App, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

  Yesterday, I wrote about how you can answer Prompt #2 of The Common Application and write about recovering from a failure. Coincidentally, our favorite motivator Oprah Winfrey stood up in front of the graduating class at Harvard University just last weekend and...

The Beauty of Failure: How to Answer Prompt 2 of The Common Application

by j9robinson | Jun 4, 2013 | Common App: Prompt 2, Common Application, Common Prompts, The Common App, Uncategorized | 21 Comments

College Application Essays: Tell a Story to Answer Prompt 2 When Messing Up is a Good Thing   I almost like Prompt #2 as much as Prompt #1 of the new essay questions for The Common Application: The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success....

How to Answer Prompt #1 of the New Common Application

by j9robinson | May 22, 2013 | Common App: Prompt 1, Common Application, Common Prompts, How to Answer Prompt #1, Sample Essays, The Common App, Uncategorized | 39 Comments

College Admissions Essays: The Common App. Prompt #1  My Favorite  Out of the seven prompts you can chose from to write your application essay for The Common Application, I like the first one a lot. (UPDATE: As of 2017, you can now write about any topic you want. See...

Common App Prompt 4: When Your Problem is a Good Thing!

by j9robinson | May 15, 2013 | Add a Twist, Common App: Prompt 4, Common Application, The Common App, Uncategorized | 66 Comments

How to Answer Prompt 4 for the Common App for your College Application Essay Prompt 4: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal...

College Essay Help from The Best: The New York Times

by j9robinson | Apr 17, 2013 | Choosing a Topic, Sample Essays, The Common App, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

  Mentor Essays for The Common App And Other College Application Essays   If you are one of those students who understands how important these college admissions essays can be to landing in the school of your dreams, the New York Times just published a dream...

The New Common App Prompts: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

by j9robinson | Feb 20, 2013 | Common Application, Common Prompts, The Common App, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

  College Application Essays How To Answer the New Common App Questions The best news about his year’s Common Application (2015-16) is that you can still write about almost any topic you want—these prompts are very open-ended. And they also added a...

Find Your Defining Qualities

by j9robinson | Jan 21, 2013 | Personal Statements, The Common App, Uncategorized, Where to Start | 3 Comments

No matter what the prompt asks for, almost any effective college essay should showcase one or several of what I call your “defining qualities.” If the prompt asks you to write a personal statement (for The Common App), tell about yourself or wants to know...

The Common Application Announces 2013-2014 Essay Prompts, Longer Word Limit

Today the Common Application released the essay prompts for the 2013-2014 application, along with news that they will enforce a strict 650 word limit, an increase of 150 words from the previous 500 word limit.

There has been controversy surrounding the Common Application's new essay prompts since it was announced they were eliminating the "topic of your choice" essay option. According to the organization, the development of the prompts and the word limit came after much consideration from the counselors on the Outreach Advisory Committee.

The Common App also clarified on its Facebook page that the short answer activity essay will not be part of the main application in 2013-2014. Schools will instead choose whether or not to ask a version of it on their supplements.

Below are the instructions and the new essay prompts for the 2013-14 Common Application, set to be released in August.

Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

  • "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."

  • "Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?"

  • "Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?"

  • "Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?"

  • "Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family."

What do you think of the new essay prompts? Do you think there should still be a "topic of choice?" Tell us in the comments!

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