Class of 2022 – it’s about that time. The first milestone in your college application journey has officially arrived.
Today the Common Application released their 2017-18 essay prompts. This reveal comes with a heaping helping of good news, most of which relates to the fact that the prompts have not changed all that much from last year’s selection. In addition, your options have expanded! We don’t want to keep you in too much suspense, so before we break things down, here are the prompts with notes from the Common App about any changes from last year’s prompts in brackets:
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. [No change]
2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]
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. [No change]
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
Now that you know what you’re up against (not so bad, right?), here are three main things you need to know about the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts:
Overall, we could not be more thrilled with the 2017-18 prompt options. While we still maintain our philosophy that the prompts don’t really matter (what matters is that you find the right story to tell), this expansion of prompt selection should serve to ignite students’ creativity and reinforce the idea that there are many ways to arrive at a successful personal statement.
Be on the lookout for our comprehensive Guide to the 2017-18 Common App Essay Prompts, which will be released as soon as we can get our little elves to write it for us (luckily they take payment in leftover Superbowl nachos). In the meantime, take a peek at last year’s guide, which will undoubtedly prove useful, especially for the first five prompts. We’re here to support you on your college essay journey – so follow us on social media, check back with us frequently and get ready to write your winning essay!