How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 5

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This is your chance to share a story about becoming an adult. This “coming of age” essay focuses on one key accomplishment or event that caused you to become more mature, or to be seen as an adult in the eyes of others.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 5:

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

Key Tips and Pointers

  • “Becoming an adult” has many different meanings. Above all, it means that your culture, community, or family begins to see you as a more responsible member.
  • Choose one situation in your life that illustrates your transition into adulthood by taking on greater responsibility or a more adult role.
  • Focus on only one event or accomplishment.
  • Brainstorm a list of the ways in which you changed as a result of the story you are going to tell. This is a reflective essay.

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 5 in four easy steps:

  1. Start with a hook by giving a vivid description of the event or accomplishment that caused you to “grow up.” Show your storytelling skills.
  2. Continue by describing the outcome of the event or accomplishment. Did you win an award, or master a new skill? Perhaps you took your first job or began to volunteer and became a leader.
  3. Explain why your story shows your transition to being perceived as an adult by either your culture, your community or your family.
  4. End by reflecting on how this experience influences who you are today, as a college applicant.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 5, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.

How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 4

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This is your opportunity to present your problem solving skills and your ability to plan and take action. Here, you will focus on explaining your critical thinking process from start to finish.

Here is the Common Application 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 importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.”

Key Tips and Pointers

  • This essay can focus on either a problem you have actually solved, OR a problem you would like to solve in the future.
  • Choose a problem that is meaningful and has a measurable impact on your life or on the lives of others.
  • Identify the steps required to solve the problem in the order they need to be taken.
  • Have a clear “solution” in mind: how did you know when the problem was resolved or what would be the outcome in solving the problem?

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 4 in four easy steps:

  1. Start by describing the specific problem you solved or intend to solve. Clearly explain why this is a “problem” and who (or what) the problem impacts.
  2. Explain why this problem is meaningful and why it is “worth solving.”
  3. In chronological (sequential) order, explain at least three steps required to solve this problem. Think of these steps as actions that must be taken towards a solution.
  4. End your essay by describing how the solution has a positive impact. Stay positive and focus on the best possible outcome.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 4, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.

How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 3

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This is your chance to share a story about your ability to take action by challenging a belief or idea. The most important part of this essay is to explain the ACTIONS you took and to reflect on the results of your actions.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 3:

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

Key Tips and Pointers

  • Start by choosing ONE belief or idea that you challenged. This can be a belief or idea held by yourself or held by others.
  • Carefully explain both why and how you challenged the belief or idea. Both are essential to your story.
  • Remember that this essay shows your critical thinking skills and your ability to follow through on a cause. Maintain a confident voice and take pride in your actions.

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 3 in four easy steps:

  1. Start with a “hook” by describing the situation that prompted you to act.
  2. Describe your thought process about choosing what to do.
  3. Explain the action that you took to challenge the belief or idea. This can include taking a stand by speaking, writing a letter or confronting a person or a group of people.
  4. Conclude your essay by directly stating whether or not you would take the same action again. Reflect on why you would–or would not–make the same choice as the person you are today.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 3, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.

 

How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 2

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This is your opportunity to share your problem-solving abilities as well as your resilience. Your future institution is eager to learn how you react to setbacks and challenges.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 2:

“The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? “

Key Tips and Pointers

  • Start your essay in the middle of the action. In this case, start with a “hook” by first describing your experience of failure. Do not be afraid to be “intense.”
  • Be specific about why this incident represents a “failure.”
  • Include at least three key details of your experience of failure. Details can include describing who else was involved, describing your emotions or using pieces of dialogue.
  • Before you write, jot down some of the specific things you learned as a result of this failure. Avoid generalizations such as “I learned perseverance.” An example of a more specific response is: “I learned how to remained focused and optimistic by seeking a mentor.”

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 2 in four easy steps:

  1. Brainstorm the times in your life when you have failed at something. Choose to write about the failure that had the biggest impact on your life.
  2. Use descriptive language to explain what happened, and exactly how you responded.
  3. Include one ACTION that you took in response to the failure. It is important that your institution sees your problem-solving skills.
  4. End with a self-reflection on the experience. Explain why this failure was fundamental to who you are today, as a college applicant.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 2, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.

How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 1

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The Common Application essay prompt 1 asks you to tell a unique story about your personal life. This is the story only you can tell! For this prompt, you will focus on a specific experience that shaped who you are today.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 1:

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. “

Tips and Guidelines:

  • When you respond to this prompt, try to narrow your focus. Rather than sharing your life story, choose one meaningful detail to write about.
  • For this prompt, you have freedom in topic choice. Some of the best responses to this prompt include stories about a unique cultural background or a standout talent.  
  • This is not the time to talk about classes, grades, or test scores. Do not be afraid to use your own voice to tell the story of an important moment in your life.
  • Be specific! For example, instead of focusing on your family’s culture in general, write about a moment that illustrates a specific cultural experience such as a family meal or traditional gathering.
  • Think of this essay as your chance to share a defining moment or moments in your life story. Readers will get a glimpse into your past and your personality.  

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 1 in four easy steps:

  1. Brainstorm a few possible moments in your life that strongly influenced who you are today. Choose the one that you find most meaningful and important to your identity.
  2. Start your essay by describing the moment or memory that best illustrates this theme in your life.
  3. Include details to make your essay more personal by using descriptions and dialog.
  4. Conclude your essay by reflecting on how this important moment continues to influence who you are as a person.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 1, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.