Sample College Essay Questions

So take a peek at what the 2019-20 application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them (really! The Common App’s Prompt #1 is the Old Faithful of essay questions.

This question is similar to Prompt #2 in that it is meant to tease out a student’s problem-solving skills and provide a glimpse into an applicant’s frame of mind when dealing with challenges.

It also provides a few bonus opportunities for creative expression, leaving both the scale and the time frame for setting up a problem/solution wide open.

Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore.

Some key questions to consider: Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible.

For this reason, Prompt #3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions.

We love Prompt #4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it.

It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show (are you living life in the Upside Down?

) or as large as the struggle of moving to a foreign country (especially if you had to leave behind grandma’s cooking).

They can be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for years, or as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables.

While the possibilities are almost endless, students should be careful not to choose challenges that may seem trite (the inability to achieve an A on an exam and/or secure tickets to that Drake concert) or that illustrate a lapse in good judgment (that time you crashed your car or ate 15 bags of Cheetos in one sitting).

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