Common App Essays

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Table of content
  1. 1. What is the Common Application essay?
  2. 2. How to Write the Common Application Essays 2021-2022
  3. 3. Choosing your Common App Essay Topic
  4. 4. What Makes a Great Common App Essay?
  5. 5. What Are the 2020-2021 Common App essay prompts?

Going to college is a life-changing experience. For many high school students, this is the first time that they have to make an important decision that will shape their future. While applying to college may be one of the most stressful periods in a person's life, it can be made a bit easier if you start preparing for it in time. Today, we will look at college essays – specifically, the common app essays that are part of most college applications.

If you are wondering what kind of essay this is, what is considered a successful common app essay, how long can or should a common app essay be, or what are the common app essay prompts for this year – do not worry, we will cover all this and much more in this detailed guide about writing the best common app essays ever!

What is the Common Application essay?

Common application — or common app for short — is a type of application that most students have to submit to get into university. A lot of colleges require applicants to write a common application essay on one of the topics that are assigned for that year. In addition, there might be another secondary or supplemental essay that applicants have to submit as well, but that is not nearly as important as the common app essay.

In short, the common app essay is a 650-word essay that serves to show an applicant's talents, achievements, interests, and aspirations that will give admissions officers a clear idea of whether this applicant is good enough to get into that college or not. This essay is very important as it can make up for nearly 30 percent of the admissions decision. The rest of the decision is based on the overall schoolwork of a student, their exam scores, volunteer work, community service, and so on.

How to Write the Common Application Essays 2021-2022

One of the first things you need to do when preparing for the common app essay is to look at the topics assigned for the essay and choose one that you want to write. If you are having trouble choosing a topic, you can talk to someone close to you and ask for advice or maybe even consult a teacher that you think would be able to help you out. Once you have made your decision on the topic, it could be a good idea to brainstorm and do some freewriting as preparation for the final essay.

There is usually a deadline for submission, so you will want to keep that in mind as well. Start early and take the task seriously — you do not want to be late with your submission or leave it for the last moment. Outline what you want to include in the essay, what your focus will be on, or what the thesis paragraph will include. That will make it easier for you to make a cohesive and coherent essay. You should also consider looking up common app essay examples or sample common app essays just to get the feeling of what your essay should be like.

Once you start with writing, you will need to divide the essay into paragraphs. Here are the paragraphs you should have:

  • Introductory paragraph
  • Thesis paragraph
  • Body paragraphs – one for each idea you elaborate on
  • Conclusion paragraph – this is where you will wrap the story up and point to the thesis statement or main idea again.

You should re-read your essay at least a few times before submitting it, check for any grammar or spelling errors. A word of advice is to never write in a know-it-all tone or attempt to write like a professional, older writer. The purpose of this essay is not to give the admissions officers something to read but to let them see your personality, what your interests are, what you want to achieve in the future. Believe me, once you really get into it, you might even find that 650 words are not nearly enough to tell your story.

Choosing your Common App Essay Topic

Below you can find seven common app essays prompts that you can choose from when writing your essay. Six of the topics are somewhat limiting but still great if you do not have a definite idea about what you want to write. They focus on the applicant's background, something that they have lived through, accomplished, a dilemma they might have had, a realization, and so on.

If the first six options do not sound interesting to you, the final option is to write on a topic of your choosing — the one that you are really passionate about and might have already written on. If you decide to go with this one, you will need to think  hard about what you will write about, as it should be something that will dazzle the university admissions officers enough to let you join.

If you have a problem coming up with a topic or forming your essay on one of the topics given, you can always ask a teacher to help you get rid of that writer's block, or you can seek assistance from a professional service. At PHDessay, we have so many great writers that can help you out with whatever you need or even write an essay for you. It is very simple to order an essay from our website, while our professional authors will be happy to assist you and help you write an essay that you will be proud of.  

What Makes a Great Common App Essay?

No matter what topic you choose to write on, you should always put your best effort forward when writing a common app essay. You have to remember that the admissions officers will not be able to see you or get to know you at all when you apply to the college — all they will have to go on is your application and the essay!

What will make your common app essay better than someone else's essay is the story you tell and how you tell it. Do not be afraid to get in touch with your feelings and tell your story in great detail, explaining how an experience changed your life, what you learned from it, or how it helped you come to some realization. Also, remember that you are writing for an admission officer that is going to determine whether you get into the college of your choosing or not, so you have to write it in a down-to-earth tone, to be respectful, insightful, and unique in your writing.

Last but not least, you should always go back and re-read your essay before submitting it. I cannot stress this enough — grammatical or spelling errors are a big no-no when writing a common application essay. It will be best if you get started on the essay early, think about the topic long and hard, get a second opinion as well as some advice from teachers and family, and only then start actually writing the essay that you will submit.

Make the most of the 650 words that are given to you — this is your chance to show everyone what you are all about, what you aspire to become, and why you are a perfect candidate for that college.

What Are the 2020-2021 Common App essay prompts?

Luckily for college applicants, there is more than one topic they can choose from when it comes to writing successful common app essays that will get them into college. The topics for this year are the same as last year ones, so you might recognize them if you took an interest in them last year. Here is the full list of essay topics:

  1. There are certain students that have a background or interest without which their application would be simply incomplete.If this is the case, please share that story of yours.
  2. The lessons we learn when overcoming obstacles can be essential to reach success in the future. Please share a story of a challenge or failure, how did it affect you, and what have that experience meant to you?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned some of your beliefs or ideas you’ve heard. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that one has done for you that has affected you in a surprisingly positive manner. Has this motivated you?
  5. Discuss an achievement or experience that signified a personal growth and/or sparked a new understanding of your personality of that of others.
  6. Describe an idea or topic that you find extremely engaging and that makes you totally forget about time and events around you. Why is that captivating for you?
  7. Write an essay addressing any topic you want. This can be one of already completed ones, one based on a different prompt, or one of your own design.

If you read closely up to this point, you should have a clear idea of what the common app essay is really about. This essay might be just the thing that will change your life and get you into the college of your dreams. So, give it your all — you will not regret it!

We've found 2 essays on Common App

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