Yesterday I met with a student who is a rising senior. She was pumped to begin working on her supplements and had the prompts pulled up on a document all ready to begin. I admired her enthusiasm and applauded her dedication to utilize each day of the summer to stay ahead of the ball, but I had to burst her bubble and say, “slow down.” The prompts she proudly displayed on her screen were from last year’s application season. Most universities and colleges do not release supplements until August 1st while others release July 1. It is so important to check and be sure that you are looking at current information for the 2018-19 school year. While some supplemental questions will remain the same, there is no guarantee. For example, University of Michigan’s supplemental questions have been the same for a few years now, so that institution may be switching them up. Good practice is to pick up the phone and contact the admissions office to be sure.
While you wait for those applications to go live, there is still lots to be done. The Common Application questions are live. Use this time to get started on the essay.
Common Application Prompts 2018
- 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]
While some of the Common Application prompts have stayed the same from the 2017 application, others have been slightly revised and two have been added. Reach out to me if you are interested in some coaching to get started on an essay that captures the student’s voice and story!