How to Write a Common App Essay

How to Write a Common App Essay at

What is a common application?

A common application is a serious opportunity for being admitted to a college all around the world (in the USA as well as to Western Europe). Basically, it is pretty easy to submit your application. The procedure is very simplified and you can become familiar with the requirements quickly. Writing a common app essay is a significant part of the application process, so the preparation for it should start as early as possible. Furthermore, there are plenty of things you should do prior to writing the essay. Keep in mind that you will need plenty of time to write the essay.

How to write a common app essay


This stage includes defining your career goals, future profession and educational path. You need to think about those kinds of things while in high-school, because no one will wait for you to choose what to do with your life. Choose a subject which attracts you and correspond to your needs and skills. Then, discuss it with your parents or friends, as well as with the school counselor. At latest, your decision should be made a year before the application.

Common app essay prompts

A good thing with the common app essay is that you will be focusing on one out of three prompts given below. Here we shall explain each of them one by one. The main goal of these prompts is to assign you a task, but without strict limitations of what you will write. Thus, you should associate the particular prompt with something important that happened in your life. In contrast with other application papers, such like personal statement, here you need to be focused on one thing only.

For example:

1st Common App Essay Prompt

The first prompt could be related to some negative experience of yours, which has influenced your way of thinking.

2nd Common App Essay Prompt

The second prompt may be associated with a positive experience or feeling. You need to tell why you perceive it as a special one, and how it contributed to your mentality and personal traits.

3rd Common App Essay Prompt

The third prompt could be associated with, let’s say, your first memory (in absolute sense).

There may be prompts related to other things, but at any rate they will point to your experiences, feelings and thoughts.

However, you should not think that this is merely a psychological analysis (as those test when you have to draw a picture, or to color it, or to put some things in order, or to play word associations, etc.). As a matter of fact, the reader will assess your ability to carry out a self-reflection. If you have the mentality of a “thinker” (who loves analyzing and discussing different processes, problems, etc.), this task will be the easiest that you have encountered in your life. The thing is just to “clothe” your thoughts appropriately, as to convince the reader in what you are saying.

What strategy to choose?

Your strategy while answering the prompt can vary according to your writing skills. Most applicants tell a personal story and then reflect on it: what is its meaning, why is it so important? They also try to influence the reader emotionally by provoking compassion, admiration, etc. The most important thing is to focus on a central event, act or process that is part of your life in the common application essay, and to show that you can analyze it profoundly. The reviewer has to find something reflective or introspective throughout the paper.

Many applicants are not familiar with the problem of how to write a common app essay. Excellent preparation and good writing training will guarantee that your essay will be of good quality and perhaps positively assessed. On the other hand, lack of preparation will result in poor outcome.

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