Common App Essay Sample

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Avoid generalities like "to get a good liberal arts education” or “to develop career skills," and use details that show your interests: "I'm an aspiring doctor and your science department has a terrific reputation." Colleges are more likely to admit students who can articulate specific reasons why the school is a good fit for them beyond its reputation or ranking on any list.

Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you?

There isn’t a prompt to guide you, so you must ask yourself the questions that will get at the heart of the story you want to tell.

Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.

But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance!

That’s why the last piece of this prompt is essential.

Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges.

The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores (and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool).

Don’t forget to explain why the problem is important to you!

Just like Prompt #2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller "aha" moment.

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