How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 5


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.

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