How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 1


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.


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