How Do You Write A Successful Common App Essay?

  1. Don’t Mistake a Rare Topic for an Effective Topic. …
  2. Pick the Best Essay Prompt for You. …
  3. Use Your Space Wisely. …
  4. Fill Your Story With Details. …
  5. Channel Your Authentic Voice. …
  6. Get Feedback. …
  7. Don’t Neglect Supplemental Essays.
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How do I make my Common App essay stand out?

  1. Try starting with a question.
  2. Begin with a bold statement.
  3. Use an interesting quote.
  4. Put the reader in medias res, that is, in the middle of things. …
  5. Challenge the reader by speaking directly to him/her.
  6. Tell the reader what you do NOT want to do in your writing.
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What makes a Common App essay great?

What Makes a Great Common App Essay? A great Common App essay is, first and foremost, deeply personal. You are relying on the admissions committee to choose you over someone else, which they are more likely to do if they feel a personal connection to you.

What should you avoid in Common App essay?

  • Résumé of your life and achievements. …
  • Sports injury, challenge, or success. …
  • Immigrant story. …
  • Tragedy – death, divorce, abuse. …
  • Working hard in a challenging class. …
  • Someone you admire (a person you know or historical figure) …
  • Volunteer trip.

What is a good length for the Common App essay?

You can find the Common App essay prompts and instructions by navigating to the “Common App” tab on your Common App account and clicking on “Writing.” You’ll get to choose one of seven prompts to respond to, and your essay must be between 250 and 650 words long.

How many Common App essays are required 2021?

2021-22 college applicants, like those who came before them, 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.


Does the Common App essay need a title?

A title is not required for the Common App essay, but you are, of course, more than welcome to include one if you’d like.

Can the Common App essay be more than 650 words?

There are no strict word limits. We suggest that for the first essay (where you choose one of the seven prompts), the extended essay stay around 650 words. While we won’t as a rule stop reading after 650 words, we cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention for as long as you’d hoped it would.

Should I indent my Common App essay?

Don’t Format Your Essay in the Text Boxes

It should be single-spaced, double-space between paragraphs (two hard returns), and with no indents. … The Common App counts words (650), not spaces. A long paragraph can make a reader (an admissions officer)fell overwhelmed before evening beginning to read the essay.

Should I talk about depression in my college essay?

Mental health is a huge part of life, and something that campus personnel should know about, but the essay is not necessarily the best place to disclose it. It can be done, but unless your story is how you overcame your depression, it’s going to send up red flags for admissions officers.

Should I put a title on my college essay?

Should I title my college essay? You don’t need one. In the vast majority of cases, students we work with don’t use titles. The handful of times they have, they’ve done so because the title allows for a subtle play on words or reframing of the essay as a whole.

What happens if my Common App essay is too long?

According to Killion, the Common App cannot technologically do anything to enforce the 500-word limit, which is essentially two double-spaced pages. “If a student uploaded a 500,000 word essay, there’s nothing we could do to stop that,” he wrote in an email.

What are three big mistakes commonly made on college application essays?

  1. Repeating the prompt in your essay. Some teachers may have told you to repeat the essay prompt in essays for middle or high school. …
  2. Coming across as phony or manufactured. …
  3. Not proofreading. …
  4. Using cliches. …
  5. Plagiarizing. …
  6. Rehashing your resume.

Is 400 words enough for a college essay?

Writing too much will likely result in your essay being cut off, and writing too little may cause readers to think that you aren’t truly interested in their school. If no range is given, remember to stick to 400-600 words. This will give you enough space to demonstrate your interest and help readers learn about you!

How many paragraphs should a Common App essay be?

Use a 5-paragraph structure

For your standard 1.5 page college application essay or personal statement, it’s important to use an effective organizational structure.

Should I fill out demographics on Common App?

Completing the Demographics Section of the Common Application Can Help Admissions. The demographics section is optional. … If a student is a part of this demographic, letting the colleges know this information can be important in the admissions process.

Can I change my Common App essay for different colleges?

Students sometimes ask us whether or not they can submit different versions of the Common Application essay to different schools. As we’ve said before, the Common App is changeable. So yes, you can absolutely change the essay, submit it to a school, change it, and submit it again.

What format should a college essay be in?

A college essay format and general rules are pretty standard. Typically, your admission paper should follow a basic 5-paragraph format. This means you will need to include one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Is it better to apply through Common App or directly?

A: The Common App is a powerful tool, so use it!

Even more helpful, you can fill out The Common Application once and send it to any of the 456 Common App schools. … Don’t be afraid that colleges will pay less attention to The Common App than their own application—they won’t.

Should you double space Common App essay?

Double Spacing. The Common Application and many online forms will automatically format your essay, so you have no say when it comes to spacing. Always follow directions if a school states a preference for single- or double-spaced essays.

Should the Common App essay be in MLA format?

The Common Application essay text box only has formatting for Bold, Underline and Italics. I would format your essay along MLA guidelines (using italics for things like book titles, foreign words, those types of copyediting rules.), and then make sure they translate or carry over after you upload or copy and paste.

What happens if your Common App essay is over 650 words?

The current word count is between 250 and 650 words. The online application won’t accept essays that are below 250 words or over 650 words. Your essay must stay within the word count limit.

Does the Common App cut you off at 650 words?

If you’re submitting it via the Common Application, then no; it will cut you off and you won’t be able to submit it if the essay is longer than 650 words. … But the majority of schools use the Common App and they will limit you.

How long is Common App essay 2021?

The word count on the essays is 250-650 words. The application will not accept an essay that is over or under this number. While you don’t have to get to 650, aim to be closer to 650 words than 250. Students who are working with International College Counselors will work directly with their counselors on the essay.

What does the purple dot mean on common app?

Common App recently introduced in-app notifications to our recommender system and these purple dots are our way to show that a student has an update.

Why does it say deadline has passed on common app?

If you see the ‘Deadline has passed’ message for a school (like displayed below) and you are in a different time zone, you can still successfully submit by 11:59 your local time. If you can successfully submit your application, the Common App has delivered it to the college to which you applied.

What should you not write in a college essay?

One of the most popular college essay topics to avoid is writing about someone you look up to or admire. It’s not that this topic automatically results in a bad college essay. It’s simply that so many people rely on this topic because it’s common, well-rehearsed, and easy.

Should I write about trauma in my college essay?

April 8, 2019. Traumatic or otherwise difficult experiences do NOT have to be off the table for your college application essays. They are legitimate subjects (depending on the essay prompt, of course; it has to make sense as a response to the particular question).

What should not be included in a college application?

  • Forgetting to research the college early on. …
  • Blending in instead of standing out. …
  • Aiming too low on test scores. …
  • Not putting enough effort into grades. …
  • Selecting the wrong high school courses. …
  • Lack of involvement in extracurriculars. …
  • Picking an unoriginal essay topic.

What does the green check mark mean on common app?

Green check marks signify that work has been submitted to that college, while yellow circles indicate that work is ready for submission or is still being worked on. The Writing Requirements icon identifies the requirement status of the writing questions throughout the application.

Is it OK to talk about anxiety in a college essay?

Recently, I’ve noticed a concerning uptick in the number of students asking whether it’s appropriate for them to write about mental health issues, most frequently ADD and/or anxiety, in their college applications. So the short answer: don’t do it. … Do not write your main essay about the issue.

Should I put babysitting on my common app?

It only goes on the activity list if it’s something you care about, that is a non-negotiable in your life. If you work 20 hours a week and you’re also getting good grades and maybe doing one other activity, admissions officers will have tremendous respect for how you’ve spent your time.

Can you repeat things in college essays?

You can’t always reuse an essay.

But it won’t work in every case. Some colleges will ask for different prompts, in which case you’ll just have to write another essay to submit. You want to make sure each essay you submit—even if you’re reusing it—is tailor-made for the college you’re applying to.

Does a college essay need a thesis?

You don’t need a thesis statement in your college essays. … Your essay should instead be a window into your world. Your writing style in college essays matters a great deal. Don’t start every other sentence with “however.”

What does 300 word limit mean?

The answer is close to two-thirds of a page single spaced, and around one and one-third of a page double spaced. … Depending on your settings this may vary, but typically with a 12 point font-size, Times New Roman or Arial font and regular page margins your results should be similar.

Is it bad to go over word count?

You are just fine as long as your essay is longer than the minimum word count. 500 words in approximately 2 pages, double-spaced. That’s approximately how much you should write.

How many pages is 500 words double spaced 12?

A 500 word count will create about 1 page single-spaced or 2 pages double-spaced when using normal margins (1″) and 12 pt. Arial or Times New Roman font.

Can I use my UC essay for common app?

If you’re also applying to the UCs, you might consider ordering your process this way: Write your Common App personal statement. Shorten you Common App PS for one UC essay, if applicable. Write remaining UC essays and fill out the UC Activities section (which is longer than the Common App Activities section)

Is a 500 word paragraph too long?

1. Paragraph Length Depends on Document Type. If you look online, you’ll find advice saying that paragraphs should be between 100 and 200 words long. And as a guideline on paragraph length, this is fine for most documents.

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