2015-2016 Essay Requirement Changes | The Common Application

I asked Scott Anderson, the Senior Director of Education and Partnerships for the Common Application, what kind of advice he would give students for navigating the new application essay prompts. In short, he says you should not overthink the changes!

Common Application essay prompt change- good or better…

We break down the changes to the 2015-16 Common Application essay prompts
Photo provided by

How do I search for colleges within the Common Application

With these thoughts in mind, and as much for fun, as to allay undue concern about new questions, I went back to each and every essay my senior clients wrote for the Common Application during the last two admission cycles. That represented nearly 100 unique essays. I found that each student's essay could be used to respond fully and well to one (or more) of the new questions. Despite all the discussions about how the changes in the Common Application could harm the application process or diminish opportunities to develop a personal, creative essay, my conviction is that relatively little has changed. The essay remains the place on the application where the student can respond using his or her own voice in a personal, unique and insightful way.

How do I create my Common App account

Theessay, of course, is the scary part (ominous drum plays). The CommonApplication asks that you write one essay on one of six topicsthat change often. So your older brother may be able to score you anillegal beverage or two, but his old essay will do you no good.

Mar 28, 2017 - The Common App has yet again changed its application essay prompts ..
Photo provided by

Can I make a change to a submitted application? - Common App

6. To expand college membership and improve access for college-bound students, the Common App no longer requires that its members include a personal statement as part of their application. Students, however, can still elect to submit a personal statement to those colleges who have made the essay an optional part of their admission process. To ensure that students are aware of the change, they must now check an “I understand” box on the “Writing” page of the application. The wording of the new rules is as follows: Some colleges require submission of the personal essay with your Common Application. You may submit a personal essay to any college, even if it is not required by that college. If not required by a college, you will be given the option during submission to include your essay or not for that college.

2016-17 Common Application Essay Prompts: A Guide

Common Application Essay Choice 3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

2017-18 Common Application Essay Prompts

To bring you up to speed on these new Common Application Prompts, last year they had 5 prompts to pick from to write your main essay for The Common Application. Now they changed some of the previous prompts (just minor tweaks), and added 2 news ones you can pick from as well.