The latest revisions to the Common Application have two overarching goals. The first is inclusivity. Common App wants to make it clear that they understand and appreciate that, like your private college counselor, every student has a unique path that leads them to higher education attainment. The other revision goal was directly influenced by scientific research on gratitude and kindness, specifically the benefits of writing about the positive influence of other people in our lives. The Common App essay prompts will remain the same with one exception. The problem solving essay prompt has been retired and replaced with the following:
“Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?”
In this era that is frustratingly defined by the pandemic, global conflict, and division, the makers of the Common App wanted to help students reflect on something positive and heartfelt in their lives. And college essay help with your writing tutor here in San Diego can help you develop your topic, create an outline, add supporting evidence, and more. (Don’t write your college application essay about your experience with the pandemic. Many students are overdoing that and yours likely will get lost in the noise. Your essay writing tutor can tell you more about how to be competitive even in a subjective category like college writing.)
As of 2021-2022, these are the 7 essay prompts that you may choose from:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.
- College essay help is especially valuable here. Your essay writing counselor has experience with both writing and reading application essays, and they can advise you on topics that may be overdone — or help you choose an essay topic you haven’t even thought of.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Writing about failure is a tricky subject. College essay help shows you how to be humble but confident, grateful but not self-serving, with some perspective as to what an authentic “challenge” might be. Working with your essay writing consultant or tutor can help your writing demonsrate insight into you, your character, and your likelihood of success in college.
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea,or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Quick tips for writing your essay
You’re a unique individual who has undoubtedly taken a unique path to achieve college readiness. So your response to any of the seven essay prompts should be as unique and special as your story is. Start your essay preparation by getting into an optimistic state of mind. It helps to focus on the people and experiences that have positively shaped your life. Take notes, rank your best options, and review your entire application to see if anything about your story is missing. The essay is your chance to make your voice heard, and to educate the reader about who you really are and how you approach what life throws at you.
Don’t procrastinate. Keep track of due dates. Make a plan to create an outline, first draft and final draft ready for submission well before the deadline. Have educators, friends and family you trust review your essay if you’re comfortable sharing it with them. Better yet, at Hawk Educational Solutions, we have College Essay Counselors ready to help you in every step of the process.
If you have a hard time focusing on the positive, there’s another equally effective way to approach the essay. If you and your family have faced overwhelming obstacles, how have you turned those challenges into personal growth and transformation? In other words, how did you rise above the challenges to ultimately become someone who has a unique outlook on life? Never hesitate to focus on those who helped you overcome struggles in your essay. Readers appreciate the humanity in your essay. Your essay should not be indistinguishable from the thousands of others they will review. By making it personal and relatable, the readers will appreciate your willingness to open up and reveal your unique story.
Courses taken, grades and test scores don’t tell your whole story. In fact, many argue that those things are far less important than personal life experiences. Your essay is your big chance to share how you became the individual that you have become, and to relate your experiences to college readiness.