The Common Application has made several significant changes to its newest version of this widely used online college application. In a controversial move, they have eliminated “topic of your choice” as an essay prompt. For the first time in many years, they have also changed some of the other essay prompts. According to Inside Higher Education, the new essay prompts are:
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
The Common Application has also instituted new essay lengths. Instead of a 500 word maximum, students may now use up to 650 words and the minimum acceptable word limit will be 250 words.