2016-2017 Common App Essays

College Essays, Common App Essays, New Common App Essays

The Common Application has announced the 2016-2017 essay prompts.

If you’re a high school junior looking to get a head start on your Common Application Personal Statement, we suppose you now can. The Common Application has announced the essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle and bum bum bum bum…they are the precise same questions as this last cycle’s questions (the essay prompts do change from time to time!). This junior class sure is facing a lot of change in the admissions process, notably with the new SAT, so we believe it a wise move on the part of The Common Application to keep their essays the same. The juniors deserved some stability.

As reported on The Common App.’s website, “By conducting a review process every other year, rather than annually, we can hear from admissions officers, as well as students, parents, and counselors, about the effectiveness of the essay prompts. These prompts are designed to elicit information that will strengthen the other components of the application. “We want to make sure that every applicant can find a home within the essay prompts, and that they can use the prompts as a starting point to write an essay that is authentic and distinguishing,” said Scott Anderson, former school counselor and current Senior Director for Programs and Partnerships for The Common Application.”

Juniors are facing quite a few changes this admissions cycle. But the Common Application essay prompts will remain the same.

And during the 2015-2016 admissions cycle, which prompt did most students end up choosing? The first one of course! Indeed 47% of students chose to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent. And why? Because the question is framed in such a way that it essentially allows students to write whatever it is they want. It offers them the most flexibility, the most room for creativity. It is the prompt we recommend students choose. The others are too confining. And why on earth would you ever want to write about an accomplishment? You don’t want to brag in college admissions and that prompt essentially leaves you no choice but to do so. Applicants will complete that prompt at their own peril.

As reported by The Common App., “Among the more than 800,000 unique applicants who have submitted a Common App so far during the 2015-2016 application cycle, 47 percent have chosen to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent – making it the most frequently selected prompt; 22 percent have chosen to write about an accomplishment, 17 percent about a lesson or failure, 10 percent about a problem solved, and four percent about an idea challenged.” What a silly 22%! Yikes is right.



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