2017-18 Common Application Essay Prompts

By IvyWise on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017-18 common app essay prompts.jpgCommon App Brings Back the Topic of Choice Essay for 2017


Regular decisions for the class of 2021 are far from being released, but the college admissions process for current high school juniors is already revving up with the announcement of the 2017-18 Common Application essay prompts.

Over the past few admissions cycles the Common Application essay topics have remained the same, sometimes with minor language changes. This year, in addition to some revisions to the current prompts, there are also two new prompts, including the reintroduction of the “topic of choice” essay, which the Common App dropped in 2013. The Coalition App, which launched last year, notably included a “topic of choice” essay prompt in its first application.

Every year the Common Application reevaluates the standard essay prompts, soliciting feedback from counselors, admissions officers, students and more. The Common Application essay underwent major changes in 2013, with the revision of the prompts, the elimination of the topic of choice essay, and a longer word limit.

Here are the essay prompts for the 2017-18 Common App:

  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.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encountercan 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?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realizationthat sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 
  6. 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?
  7. 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.

What do you think of the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts? Which do you think you will respond to on your application in the fall? Tell us in the comments below!

Ready to get started on your essays? Here’s some college application essay advice from one of our expert counselors!

Devin: Show Your Humanity in Your Essay from IvyWise on Vimeo.

Related Topics
College Application Tips, College Essays
 简体中文 »