Writing Common Application Essays

Common Application Essays

Overview of the Common App

As students all over the world are gearing up for the 2019/2020 admissions applications, it is expedient that you understand the best methods or procedures to follow in drafting the all-necessary and often-daunting Common App. The Common App essay, sometimes also called personal statement, is basically the paramount method by which Admission committees of various institutions get to know their applicants. It can also be referred to as an essay written with the intent of describing things about yourself that are peculiar, enlightening and also fascinating.

Most times, your Common App essay will be made available to several colleges and institutions, therefore, it is often advised that you present details and information about yourself that is not just valid and correct but also relatable to the number of institutions and admission officers you intend to submit it. For example, your common essay should not be hinged on just STEM, if you are also considering applying to non-science and non-engineering institutions.

Concisely, you should be liberal and keen to write about your interests, experience, hobbies and possibly aspiration, whether it is food, travelling, movies, sports, politics or music.

There are usually prompts released yearly for the common App essay. These prompts act as a guide to applicants on what they can write about. It is expected that you choose a particular prompt that you are much more confident and comfortable to write on. The prompts could be on your interest, an experience, an aspiration, an idea, or a problem you solved.

How to write the Common App Essay

It is often challenging and applicants find it difficult and strenuous writing the Common App message, some do not know exactly what the institutions expect from them. This can be more daunting because the essay is expected to consist of 650 words. The aim of the article is to offer you a guide on how to effectively write a Common App essay constructively. We have formulated a sequence of writing which can enable you assist you in articulating what to write and do it uniquely. This method is divided into three (3) different sections which are;

1. Brainstorm

2. Organize

3. Write


The first step is to think of a unique idea. You can do this even before going through the prompts. Brainstorming is a very important task to undertake in trying to craft out exceptionally peculiar ideas. One of the ways to discover how to create a high-level idea would be to discover into a thing you are passionate about and concentrate on how you explore the interest or activity. For instance, assuming that “creative writing” is the high-level idea, you could easily focus on your interest of communicating diverse emotions and feelings, developing words to convey a specific message and also highlighting how the reality of people’s experiences can be understood through writing.

You can also come up with a different idea that necessarily does not involve an activity or your interest. The idea could be how you noticed a problem that has plagued the environment around you, how you outlined the causes of the problem, the factors you outlined to tackle the problem, how you applied the solution and the results achieved. These are merely two samples of numerous many ideas you could come up with.

There are four fundamental questions that all perfect Common App essays should answer. This questions when answered will help you develop high-level ideas peculiar to you.


- “Who you are?”

- “Why are you here?”

- “What is special about you?”

- “What you consider important?”


You need to answer the first question which concentrates on your personal attributes — telling who you are. The next question aims at your advancement through high school, the experiences you had as a high school student, it could also contain your progression in college, if you are applying for a masters’ degree. The third question is assumed to be more tricky and difficult to understand, but simply, it entails expressing why your personal attributes, ways of reasoning, areas of enthusiasm, and physical skills form a distinctive combination. The fourth question is just a summarizing point which can simply be answered in the concluding paragraph. You can easily write what matters to you, something that you consider so important. For instance, it can be “Travelling matters to me” or “writing books is important to me.”


Generally, there is no particular precise topic. Your Common App essay can be as solid and well-composed as much as you are conversant, enthusiastic and relaxed about your idea and it answers the four fundamental questions.


You are allowed to show creativity in the structure of your essay. You can use detailed narrations and conversations so long as you don’t stray from the point you are making. You are not strictly expected to maintain the typical five paragraph when writing your Common App essays. Ensure that you keep the context of your essay in an intrinsic manner and also you should be logical. Notwithstanding, your ideas should be concise and unambiguous as you flow from word to word, phrase to phrase, sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph. An exceptional in organising the way to write your essay is to outline your points and following them judiciously and you should focus on reasons and outcome.



You need not be burden with trying to showcase mastery in English. Your Common App essay must essentially exhibit outstanding writing skills in structure of both your sentences and grammar. It should be basically be well-constructed and perfect.


There are few factors to consider;

- Illustrate, don’t just tell

- Be more precise and detailed

- Use active voice rather than passive voice

- Shun the use clichés


Illustrate, don’t just tell” is very critical to writing an appealing essay, and most often students usually find it difficult with this point.


You should try to be more specific and detailed with words that you use in writing your Common App essay. You should be mindful how you construct your sentences with regards to the subject, object and the verb.


In conclusion, you should try to avoid clichés like quotes, slangsCommon Application Essays, and adages that do not improve the value of your essay.


1034 Words


Oct 15, 2019


3 Pages

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