Essay Prompts for 2013 -2014 Common Application

February 6, 2013

New Essay Prompts for 2013 -2014 Common Application

The 2013-2014 Common Application, scheduled to launch on August 1, 2013, will include new “personal statement” essay prompts. The new admission application prompts were created to enable applicants to tell their unique stories as part of a holistic selection process. 

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice.

The questions no longer offer a "topic of choice" prompt however the first prompt is mostly open. The length of an acceptable essay has increased from 500 to up to 650 words. The Common App will not accept a response shorter than 250 words.

Students are instructed to write clearly on a selected topic that “helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice” and enables “readers of your application to know you apart from courses, grades, and test scores”.

The following prompts will appear on the 2013 -1014 Common Application:

  • 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.

 The Common Application (informally known as the Common App) is an undergraduate college admission application that applicants may use to apply to any of 488 member colleges and universities in the United States. Students fill out one application and send it electronically to as many of the member colleges as required. 

Common App Member Colleges


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