How to Answer the Common App Essay Prompts


The application process is complex and stressful. Students must manage many documents, and an application essay is one of them. It may seem like an easy task ‒ telling about yourself in a few hundred words. Yet, it has 30% of the weight for the whole application package.

We’ve gathered tips and advice on how to write an application essay that will impress selection committees.

What Are Application Prompts?

An application prompt is a topic that will help you direct your statement. The relevant application prompts for 2024/24 are:

  • Personal Background or Talent;
  • Learning From Challenges;
  • Questioning Beliefs;
  • Acts of Kindness;
  • Personal Growth;
  • Passion or Curiosity;
  • A free topic.

According to EssayPro, each of the topics holds the potential for flexibility. It is essential to understand that the selection committee wants to learn more about you, not the average “correct” answer for the given question.

You decide in what way you will feel comfortable talking about your experiences, aspirations, and ambitions. Naturally, not all of the prompts will fit. That is why there is a free topic on the list. Choosing the right application essay prompt is half of the task.

How to Choose the Right Topic


All of the topics seem relevant and exciting. So, how do you choose the right one? A proper topic resonates with your story. Do not rush the choice, and take your time. You may write down your achievements, struggles, and aspirations to see which stands out the most.

Then, compare your notes with the provided prompts and pick the one that will help you tell about your journey through it. Imagine you are the main character of a novel about yourself, and an application essay is a new, exciting chapter.

If your story has many struggles or anguish, it is better to avoid it. An application essay is not the best way to vent out. Yet, if you are comfortable sharing your story or showing how the turmoil in your life has helped you, you may use the experience of your struggles as a base for your application essay.

The same goes for positive experiences and passions. You need more than stating that you are passionate about something. You need to describe yourself through your ambitions and interests.

It may take a few drafts before determining what you want to tell and through which prompt. Several brainstorming techniques may help you with this task.

Brainstorming and Reflection

Listing is one of the most straightforward and accessible techniques for developing ideas for your essay. Yet, if you can’t make a sufficient list, try the following methods:

  • Freewriting. Write about something for ten to fifteen minutes straight. Don’t think about grammar, structure, or style. Just write down whatever comes to your mind. It will help your mind relax and see the bigger picture.
  • Mind Mapping. Try to create a visual map of your thoughts. Start with a single idea that can be in the prompt, and make a flowchart of keywords or ideas relevant to the core idea.
  • Interviewing yourself. First, write down the question that you are interested in. Then, genuinely answer the inquiries. This technique will help you tackle your experience from unconventional sides.
  • Reverse outline. If you have a draft or two, summarize each paragraph in a few words. This approach will aid in organizing your thoughts and highlight the essential parts.

As for the reflection, try not to focus too much on significant events. Even small experiences, like short talks or a sudden mood swing, may serve as a source of inspiration for an application essay.

If you struggle to find a significant event worth telling about, make something simple a turning point in your article. This approach goes an extra mile but will make your application essay more believable.

Show, Don’t Tell

“Show, Don’t Tell” is one of the primary storytelling techniques employed by academic help websites that write essays for you and that will make your application essay stand out. The principle implies that instead of simply listing the facts about yourself, you must add emotional experience. Feelings, thoughts, and sensations related to your narrative will make it more alive and vivid, immersing the readers in the essay.

Naturally, you don’t have to go poetic till the end. Yet, a couple of sentences or a paragraph about your brightest experience will surely give your essay a necessary impact.

Follow the Structure & Proofread

Application essays follow the general writing rules despite a few odd tweaks. You still need an introduction, body, and conclusion. A thesis statement should be at the end of your introductory section, and each paragraph should have a topic sentence.

After you complete your drafts, collect the best bits and elements to compile them into a compelling application essay.

Besides, remember to proofread and edit your essay. Obvious grammar mistakes will make even an excellent story sour. After you finish writing, put the paper aside and return to it later. Additionally, you can show the draft to your peers for reviewing and proofreading. With a bit of practice, you will create an outstanding application essay.


Final Words

Writing a well-made application essay takes time. Therefore, it is better to start this process as soon as possible. Another way to get a perfectly crafted paper is to apply for professional help. You can scan through essay service reviews to learn about trustworthy platforms to iron out your application essay.

Remember that an application essay is a story about you, not a correct answer to a prompt. Use the prompts as a guideline for your narrative. Brainstorm the ideas, show the experience, and follow the overall essay’s structure. The tips and techniques in this article will help you develop an outstanding application paper.