The Updated 2017-18 Common Application: Revised Essay Prompts and Google Drive Integration

With the updated Common App, we have for the third year in a row an expanded offering of essay prompts for the personal statement section. With the addition of 2 new prompts, including the return of the “Topic of your choice” prompt previously removed 3 years ago, students have more flexibility to tell their story and showcase their abilities, choosing the structure or prompt that best enables them to express their narrative. Additionally, Google Drive functionality has been integrated into the Common App, allowing students to easily transfer their documents into the app, including resumes, personal statements, and supplemental materials.

Reprinted from IvyWise College Admissions Blog:

Revised Essay Prompts

Here are the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts:

  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.
  2. REVISED: 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?
  3. REVISED: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  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.
  5. REVISED: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. NEW: 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?
  7. 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.

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