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Common App releases 2016 prompts!

The Common Application website has published the prompts for the 2015-2016 essay.   I have pasted them below and included my commentary:

1. 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.

The student is the focus.  Try to limit this to just one story.  Do not write about a season as the quarterback of your high school, write about a specific game that gives insight into who the student is.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

The key here is how the student learned from the experience.  Try to avoid highlighting bad habits or putting down a peer or teacher.

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Avoid speaking about a lapse in judgement.  Students should present themselves in the best light possible.
4. 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.

This should be just about the student - even if it was a group project the student in which the student participated.  Exclude the name or any personal information about anyone else involved.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Be specific and heart-felt.

The essay is a student's first impression on the admissions team.  Remember, one never gets a second chance to make a first impression.

Be advised that any application created at this time will be cleaned out in July.  Students who have created a common application  account will need to re-enter information come this August.

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