2021-2022 Common App Essay Prompts

The common app essay is the main personal statement students submit to colleges that 1:Use the Common Application and 2:Require the essay. Your personal statement gives you the chance to delve deeper into your experiences, interests, passions and strengths.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their applications would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like any of your students they can share their story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Students should recount a time when they faced a challenge, setback or failure. How did it affect them and what did they learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when they questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted their thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for them that has made them happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated them?

Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of themselves or others.

Describe a topic, idea or concept they found engaging that makes them lose track of time. Why does it captivate them? What or who to they turn to when they want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of their choice. It can be one they have already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of their own design.

  • COVID-19 has affected students in drastically different ways. If they need to, the COVID-19 and natural disaster question in the Additional information sections of different application programs are a place for them to describe the impact of these events. The question is not intended to be an extra essay. There is also no need to describe how their school responded to these events. Instead, consider how these events may have impacted them, their family, and their learning environment.

Examples might include:

  • Illness or loss within their family or support network
  • Food insecurity
  • Employment or housing disruptions within their family
  • Toll on mental and emotional health
  • Access to a safe and quiet study place
  • A new director for their major or career interests
  • New obligations such as part time work or care for siblings or family members
  • Availability of computer or internet access required to continue their studies

This information is from a document created by Irving, Texas High School Counselor JB Jones and posted to the HS Counselor Group on FB