2021-22 Common App Essay Prompts Are Here!

There’s some BIG NEWS this month for those applying to college for the class of 2025!

  1. The Common Application essay prompts are officially out as of 4 days ago!
  2. There’s a new question to replace a question that I loved and that many of the students I work with loved too. Seems  we were in the minority. For those just starting the process, I think we’re all going to love the new question! (SEE NUMBER 4).
  3. For the second year in a row, there will be an optional question on COVID-19 and whether it’s significantly influenced your academic record or your life in other ways (obviously, it’s influenced all of us). Whether you decide to write this optional essay is not something you need to decide now. There’s plenty of time — and I’m happy to discuss when it makes sense to write.

It’s exciting the have the prompts out this early — but it’s too early IMHO to start writing. Most of the students I work with don’t start until the summer. Most finish an excellent version in 3 to 5 sessions once we’re done with a brainstorming session. Then the student shows it to other readers for comment — and comes back, and we polish it to a fine finish.

Here are this coming year’s prompts. Don’t worry for an instant if you don’t know what you’re going to write. It’s much too early to decide. But it might be fun to start thinking and even taking notes. The length: 250 to 650 words maximum. Enjoy!

  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.
  1. 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?
  1. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  1. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  1. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  1. 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?
  1. 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.

To read more about how the Common App folks decided on the new question, click here.

Supplemental essays — which many colleges require — don’t begin appearing until later in the spring, and some in the summer, but I have a packet of last year’s supps for 30 colleges, as well as the University of California, Un of Texas, and MIT (not a Common App college). If you want to see them, please shoot me an email with College Prompt Supps in the subject line.  Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com

If you have questions about college essays or anything else involving the process, please contact me by email or phone (EAST COAST TIME ZONE): 1-855-99-ESSAY  Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com

Thanks for stopping by. I update the site frequently with new information, so please come back!