2021-22 Common App Essay Prompts
Announcing the essay prompts now is significant, as it allows current juniors to get started even earlier on their college applications, especially with the availability of account rollover. At IvyWise, we advise students to get started on their college applications the summer before their senior year. While current juniors can certainly start to brainstorm topics for their college application essays this summer, the Common App essay should not overshadow juniors’ current college prep, including extracurriculars, test prep (if applicable), studying for AP or other important exams, and other important college prep tasks like building their balanced college list and visiting schools.
New Common App Essay Prompt
For the first time in almost five years the Common App has introduced a new essay prompt:
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?
This replaces the previous prompt, “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.”
Here are the Common App essay prompts for 2021-22:
- 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.
- 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?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- 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?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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?
- 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 2020-21 Common App essay prompts? Which do you think you will respond to on your application in the fall? Tell us in the comments below!
Are you ready to get on track with your college prep? In addition to helping students with their Common App essays and supplements their senior year, IvyWise works with students to help them craft a balanced college list, choose the right courses for the next school year, select the best teachers for letters of recommendation, and more to help them put together the best college application possible. For more information on IvyWise’s college counseling services – no matter where you are in the process – contact us today.