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Hello, students and parents of the future class of 2024! The Common App essay prompts for 2019-20 have been released and—spoiler alert—they’re exactly the same as last year’s!In 2017 the Common App added two new prompts to the pile, one of which was a return to the much-beloved “topic of your choice.” (Cue the confetti!
That said, a response to this prompt can be incisive and deeply personal, as it was for a student who stood up to her parents’ old-fashioned outlook on feminism.We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems.Accordingly, Prompt #2 essays should be predominantly filled with a student’s response, outlook, and demeanor when presented with one of life’s many hurdles, rather than a detailed account of the hurdle itself.It has historically served as a fabulous catch-all for subjects that don’t fit within the confines of the other prompt options.A recent addition to the Common App’s prompt selection now offers even more freedom to applicants (more on that later), but students should still think of Prompt #1 as a topic of immense choice, reeled in by a few helpful guidelines.) So 2019-20 college applicants, like those who came before them in 2017--19, will have seven (that’s right, seven) essay prompts to choose from.This wide range of questions, meant to inspire candidates in their search for compelling personal stories, is ideal for exploring essay topics of all tones, styles, and subjects.For this reason, Prompt #3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions.We love Prompt #4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it.Remember, these essays are not contemplative musings on your toughest times or reflections on the hiccups that populate everyday life (though these things can certainly be touched upon); they are about overcoming obstacles and refusing to submit to life’s greatest challenges. This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories.It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory.