How to Answer the Common App Essay Prompts (2020-2021) – A Complete Breakdown of All 7 Prompts

How to Answer the Common App Essay Prompts (2020-2021) – A Complete Breakdown of All 7 Prompts
We at Rostrum are committed to give you comprehensive essay advice to help you navigate the Common App prompts. So take a peek at what the 2020-21 application has in store for you. We have decoded each of the 7 prompts for you

#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.

The possibilities for this essay are nearly endless. Please keep in mind that you would need to identify what part of your “background, identity, interest, or talent” is important to you, as well as explaining what makes it so meaningful

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*What about my history or background differentiates me from my peers?
*How do I define myself? How would the people closest to me define me?
*How has it shaped your life or personality? How has it motivated you?
*In order to stand out, try to tell a story that features a conflict stemming from your identity, interest, background, or talent.
*Have you faced a challenge and grown from it? What lessons did you learn?

#2 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?

In this essay topic, first, you must talk about a challenge, setback, or failure you’ve experienced. Next, you must explain how it impacted you and then what you learned as a result. This prompt calls for an overall positive tone, where one should focus more on the solution and less on the problem. Your response should highlight positive qualities like determination, persistence, resilience, courage, integrity, humility, etc. Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*How do you deal with hardship?
*What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life?
*What have been some of the major challenges you’ve encountered in your life? And was there a silver lining?
*Think about how you’ve changed and how those changes will benefit you in college. How will these changes help you contribute to a college campus?
*Remember to stay focused on growth, values, and lessons learned.

#3 Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

This prompt calls for a passionate essay about ideas, values, and beliefs. Make sure your response has an overall positive and productive tone rather than an overly preachy and didactic tone. it is important you highlight your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions.

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*Have you ever stood by an unpopular opinion or belief? Why? What made you do so?
*What ideas, values, and beliefs deeply matter to you? Why?
*Focus on the outcome. What impact did this challenge or belief have on your life and community?
*Have a vision. How will this learning process impact your actions moving forward?

#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.

This essay topic allows you to explore a problem that is meaningful to you. It is important you mention steps to combat the problem. With your response aim to link the problem to your passions, actions, or aspirations. It should highlight your thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as how you personally respond to challenges or problems.

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*When have you been proactive in attempting to affect change?
*What inspires you to take action?
*What kind of mark would you like to leave on the world?
*If you could change anything about the world, what would it be? How might you change it? Why does it matter to you?
*How have you taken steps to solve this problem, or what steps could you take in the future? How will you carry out these steps?

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

This essay should discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization. It calls for your reflection on what you have learned and how you have grown as an individual. Your response should highlight the intangible qualities that don’t show in your application.

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*What experiences or moments in your life have changed you as a person?
*How do you react to periods of transition? What inspires a change in your perspective?
*What does your personal growth entail? It’s not enough to state you’ve grown — you must also show the college admissions officer how this growth has changed or will manifest into your actions.
*Since your realisation, how have you treated people differently, demonstrated problem-solving abilities, or approached challenges?

#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?

This prompt calls for a passionate essay about something that truly excites you. It is largely about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself.

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*What do you love? What truly excites you? What inspired you? Why?
*When something interests you, how do you learn more? Do you go to the library, watch documentaries, talk to a mentor?
*What is your work ethic like?
*What’s the story behind your curiosity, and why is it so important to you?
*What about your process of learning, is satisfying?
*How have you acted upon this interest?

#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.

Write about anything you want! One should choose this topic if there’s a specific experience or anecdote you would love to share. Make sure that whatever you talk about, you’re able to relate it to who you are as a person.

Consider the following key points to help you brainstorm:

*What do you want the admissions officer to know about you that they wouldn’t be able to glean from your transcript, test scores, or teacher recommendations?
*What would you bring to a college campus that no one else would or could?
*Is there an experience you’ve had that admissions officers should know about in order to truly understand you?
*What are the stories that come up over and over again, at the dinner table or in the cafeteria with your friends, that might give some insight into who you are and what is important to you?

Remember, admission officers just want to get to know who you are and understand what you bring to a classroom and campus. They want to see your personality, values, interests and passions through your essays. So take a few minutes to brainstorm, uncover your memories, collect your stories and unleash your creativity. Show don't tell!!
If you would like your essay reviewed by an expert, so you can feel confident when submitting your college application, feel free to contact us!

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