The Major Prompts for a College Application Essay

To get admitted to most of the colleges today you have to provide the authorities with proper papers. One of them is, by no means an application. You are to show that you can become a great student. College authorities have plenty of people who want to be admitted to their institution, and your main aim is to prove that you possess all the necessary features to be one of them. As a matter of fact, writing an application is not an easy thing to do for a newcomer, but it is very easy for you to fail it. Here are some tips on how you can showcase your learning ability and make an impression on the admission committee.

What Should You Start With?

To get admitted to the college of your dreams, you have to make a groundbreaking and breathtaking application essay that will leave the admission committee unarmed in deciding whether to allow you to be their student or not. Your essay should capture the attention of those who will read it, and it is to create a distinct image of what you want these people to see in you. Think of all the success you got in your life. Try to focus on your good features, as they are your main aces in this game. First of all, try not to be nervous and just feel free to behave just like you do in your everyday life.

Open Your Mind

Pulling your brains together is crucial in writing a good essay. Think of all the features and abilities that are the building blocks of your personality, such as your hobbies, things, and activities that make your life brighter. Don’t be shy to write everything good you think about yourself, as these are the things that bear the most useful information about you. Don’t hesitate! This is the information people want to hear from you. So don’t hurry and take plenty of time to think all these over. Focus on the main question in the prompt. Make sure, that you got the idea of it exactly as you were supposed to do it. Structure your essay, by making a list of things that have to be mentioned in your paper. Almost any important event in your life can serve as a trigger to let out the flow of your thoughts out to get the desired effect on paper. Play around with your ideas, try to write something insignificant. This will be somewhat of an exercise for your brain.

Discipline and Control

One can’t underestimate the importance of self-discipline when writing an essay.  Chase away all the thoughts that may disturb you and lead your consciousness astray. Try not to waste your time thinking of things that do not concern the present moment, place and situation you are in now. You are to have a straight edge between everything you need now, all other ideas, which can be left for a while. This will make you calm and self-confidence. Then, try to follow this advice.

  • Be Illustrative. Just like any piece of literature, an essay at its best is based on describing the slightest circumstances of different events, instead of focusing on a simple notion about them. Such works are far more pleasant to read, and they give a more objective image of an author who wrote them. Also, such details turn any dull essay into a piece of art, which will certainly add more to the image of you in the eyes of the admission committee. But be aware of certain limitations and restrictions while using this technique. In inexperienced hands, this weapon can be used against you.
  • Mind the Choice of Words. Make everything possible to look and sound like you are completely fit this college and try to express it through your paper. Pull yourself together and mind your grammar and punctuation. Sometimes, when being nervous, even the smartest people tend to make the silliest mistakes. Try to express your thoughts through good vocabulary and mind the choice of words. But don’t be too intensive with it. If you overload your essay with sophisticated terms and expressions, you may sound ridiculous.
  • Laconic and Precise. Use a sufficient amount of words to express your ideas, but in any case, do not try to push as many words in one sentence as possible. A distinct feature of any educated person is a professional use of language. This is not the contest for the longest sentence in the history of essays. Do not try to win it.
  • Sentenced to Order. Remember, that different types of sentences are aimed to convey different types of information. Be attentive to the proper use of stylistic devices and the form of your narrative. Inexperience in writing such essay is clearly visible to the professional eyes.
  • A Friend in Need. Other person’s eye can spot the mistakes you won’t notice as you are into the tissue of your essay more than anyone else. But be careful in the choice of people who may help you with that. First of all, you’re the one who is the true judge your own work. If it doesn’t satisfy you personally, there is little chance that someone else will like it.
  • Dismember to Remember: The structure is a very important part of writing an essay. Mind this before you start writing it. Below there are several prompts, which will help you to lead a full examination of your analytical essay.
  • The most important people in your life. Don’t even think to write about famous people. Everybody knows who they were and what influence they had on others. You won’t be unique in that unless you knew them personally which is quite impossible. Think about the impact they had on you, and try to describe what has changed in your life by their ideas and deeds.  This is what matters when it comes to discussing you personally.
  • What makes you so special to be a student of this college? Don’t forget, that there are tons of people who wish to take your place. Most of them are filtered when that can’t prove the admission committee why they are the suitable ones. If you cannot prove and explain it to yourself, you won’t be able to explain it to others also. Do not flatter the officers when you want to say that this is “the best college in the world.” Your position should be grounded. Look through the charts of colleges in your country, and find this one in it. When you refer to some real statistics, you will look more professional and objective.
  • The most important book in your life. The common mistake of many people is to start retelling the plot of the book, thus turning an essay into a simple summary that is quite dull and boring. Be sure, that the possibility that the admission officers are aware of your favorite book is quite high. Instead, try to focus on the impact this book had on you personally, the idea of the book and how it changed your life. The right choice of a book to tell about is very important at this stage.
  • Dwell upon your life beyond studying. There is not much free space for you to write about things you like when you have free time. Though, in his part, you can feel free to be yourself in telling about events and things that brought you valuable and meaningful experience.

Application Essay Format For College

Let’s get down to the rules of formatting your essay.

  • 12-pointed fonts of Times New Roman
  • Space is doubled
  • Margins no wider that 1.
  • Type your last name on the top left of the page, the same place where the number is;
  • The essay shouldn’t be longer than 600 words.

Tackling the Common Application

The Common Application gives you an opportunity to apply for about 700 schools. Each year seven basic prompts are provided to students. The list of the common essay questions for the 2017-2018 is below.

  • 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. [No change]
  • 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? [Revised]
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]
  • 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. [No change]
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
  • 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? [New]
  • 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. [New]

On the one hand, these prompts seem to cause no difficulty to reveal. On the other, each of them has its own peculiarities. That is why you definitely need our tips below if you want them to be exciting for your reader.

  1. This one is rather personal. Don’t write about your school life and performance. The topic asks whether you are more than that. You really have to think what an identity means for you and how you see it. If you decide to talk about your talents, make sure that you pick up those that are really interesting to discuss. It is highly important not to overestimate your talents comparing them to your potential academic achievements. Don’t go like “I admire singing, and I want to sing in French perfectly. That is why I’m here to study this language.” Your admission officers won’t like it for sure!
  2. Success was an extremely popular concept of the twentieth century. ‘The story of success’ has become a set phrase. Somehow, it made today’s people weaker, as they have become subject to perfectionism. Today, a successful person is the one who can face failure and continue going. As you are still young, such failures in your life may be smaller, but it doesn’t mean that they are less stressful. If you have overcome it, you are a much more interesting applicant than those who are used to success all the time. Use it!
  3. This prompt is definitely not for everyone. You are to have an experience of not only arguing a particular idea but of giving valuable arguments proving your point. So, these could not be just musings on the topic. In other words, you are to describe the discussion of an experiment. By the way, you don’t need to succeed in it, but a good shot can make a proper essay as well.
  4. Of course, seems that it will be more interesting if you have a solution already. However, it all depends on how interesting the problem is and whether your ways of solving it are (or going to be) unique and engaging.
  5. People see different things in a different light. So, on the one hand, it gives you the right to see almost every experience in your life as an enlightening one. But it also gives your admission officers the right to consider this experience shallow, uninteresting, not meaningful, or ordinary. Be very attentive choosing the subject for this prompt!
  6. Unlike the first prompt, this one gives you complete freedom to your passion. In this case, it will show you as a well-rounded person, who knows what he/she wants from life. Being ready to learn from somebody besides (or including, why not?) actual teachers demonstrates that the sky is the limit for your personal growth.
  7. This one can show you as a really creative person, but only if you pick the topic right. If you have a ready paper, well lucky you! But make sure that it meets all the requirements of an application essay and go for it!

A Top-Notch Application for Scholarship

The essence of a scholarship essay is similar to that of a college application essay. However, there is one great difference. In the case of an application essay, you just want to demonstrate that you are good enough for a particular institution. When it comes to an essay that can bring you a scholarship, you are to show your best in everything: in what you are writing about (your achievements, talents, your way of thinking, etc.) and how you write it. You are to combine what studying in this institution means to you and what you can mean for this institution in the future. And here is how to do it!

The Major Application Essay Types

As far as an application essay is required in most institutions and the formats needed may vary, there are other platforms besides The Common Application to which you can turn. The prompts for writing essays for the biggest platforms are as follows:

For FCU

It is not an obligatory task to write an application essay for Florida state university, but it will increase your chances significantly if you do. The max word count for FCU is 650 words. The approximate topics are:

  • Tell about an important life experience that has either influenced your character or gave you an opportunity to show it.
  • Have you ever done a selfless good for other people, from which they have benefited a lot? Tell about such experience.
  • Tell about your reaction when something you thought was a truth universally acknowledged was challenged?  Has it influenced your beliefs?

We have specified the major prompts for you to write a good FSU Application Essay:

  1. You are definitely to describe the positive changes in your character because this is what you are expected to do. You are to reveal these changes in progress or to demonstrate how good you already are in solving problems.
  2. Besides stating ‘Look at me! I’m so selfless!’, you can also describe the feeling that you’ve got after your contribution to others.
  3. This is exactly the same that what they want from you in the 3d prompt for The Common Application.

For UC

The University of California requires you to write four times as much as The Common Application and other schools. That is you are to pick four optional topics out of eight. The topics and the prompts are:

  • Bring out a clear description of you being a leader that had an impact on surrounding people in a positive way.
  • Creativity is an important aspect for every student of any college. Show yourself as a person who is a part of artistic life. Tell about your artistic life and how you express yourself.
  • Tell about young talents and abilities. Describe how you talents helped you in life.
  • Write about all difficulties you’ve faced before going to this college and how all these hardships made you stronger.
  • What was the most challenging experience in your life? How did you break through it? Don’t hesitate! Put it out!
  • Dwell upon your favorite subject and what influence it had on you.
  • How did you change the world around you? What exactly did you do to make your neighborhood a better place?
  • Why are you so special? Why should the University of California admit you in the first place?
  • Here come the Prompts
  • In the prompts under numbers #1, #4, and #7 you have to tell about your environment. How did the world around changed you personally?
  • Numbers #2 and #6 are focused on who you are in real world, your beliefs and social position. What led you to become this kind of person.
  • In numbers #3, #4 and #8 tell about your life and what you have gained in it. What did you do to improve your skills and abilities? What do you feel proud of?

Application Essay: NHS Style.

National Honor Society is an institution where such characteristics as leadership, pride, and decency, is valued. It gives you an opportunity to apply to various well-established colleges. As soon as you get a nomination, you will have to write an essay. Mind several tips that will help you to stand out from the others. Tell the best about yourself. You should look like a model citizen. Persuade everyone, that you are aimed to serve and to be a leader in the future. Such features will prove that in future you will obtain a position in NHS.

Application Essay. Rutgers Style.

RU gives you five prompts to write an essay. Tell about you being a leader and all your impact on the surrounding people in solving their problems. For instance:

  • Each individual is creative in his/her own way. Tell about your creative side and what an innovative way your mind operates.
  • What is the best talent of yours? What is the best thing you are good at? Don’t be shy and tell about it!
  • Had problems with education, but overwhelmed them? Good! Write about this experience of yours!
  • Have you ever being rivaled by someone? You turned out to be a winner, so write about it and the way you felt while being on the top!
  • What was your favorite subject in school? Write about it and how it has influenced you.
  • How did you change the world around you?
  • What makes you so special to accept you at the University of California?

Mirroring some of the Common Application prompts

  1. is the one that in narrative form presents your main influences, taking into consideration the most important ones.
  2. is aimed to give a look at the world that made you a person you really are.
  3. Dwell upon things you really feel sorry about. What would you change about your past if you had a chance? Think of it in the light of your growing as a person.
  4. Feel free to write about everything you want!

Application Essay: UCF style

Though it is optional at the University of Central Florida, it is also recommended.  It should extend from 500 to 7.000 words, and there are three questions asked:

  • How did your origin influence you?
  • What was the reason for you to apply for this college?
  • Why do you think you deserve to be admitted?

UCF prompts:

  1. Write about surroundings that turned you into who you are. Your family, environment and social experience. Don’t forget to mention of who you are today.
  2. Tell about why do you think you deserve to be a part of UCF’s community. What can it obtain by admitting you? Try to put out the best of who you are.

Still Got Questions?

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