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Ready, Set, Go: The 2016-2017 Common Application is Live

It’s that time of year. Time to put down the video game controller or whatever your summer guilty pleasure and get to work—the Common Application is up and running as of August 1. Now it’s time to work on your personal statement.

This year the essay prompts are the same (which has been public knowledge for a few months). The “topic of your choice” was removed from the 2015-2016 CA so that remains the same. Here are the 2016-2017 CA essay prompts:

  • Option 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.
  • Option 2: The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Option 3: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Option 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.
  • Option 5: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Consider these essays a launching pad to write about something that shows your growth and development, values, reflective nature, the things that are important to you. These essay options give you the latitude to write about something that is interesting, powerful, and meaningful to you.