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3 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry Which Common App Prompt to Pick

by Carol Barash, PhD, on Sep 1, 2017 1:16:20 PM

The Common Application is run by an unwieldy committee of admissions officers from all types of colleges. This year they took a major step backwards, expanding a simplified list of five personal statement (aka “college essays”) options to seven, including one which gives you the option to submit something you wrote for another purpose.

I know everyone hates these essays. What normal 18-year-old can balance the combination of personal candor and professionalism required in writing powerfully about yourself?

College essays create huge divisions between the 20% of students who attend well resourced schools or have well-resourced parents and get a guide through the process, and everyone else.

But there’s a simple way out! Pick Common App prompt #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.

And here’s why:

  • Students say they find it easiest.
  • Admissions officers say it’s the one that enables students to succeed most often.
  • Once you master the skills for this type of essay, you can use it to answer all your scholarship and supplement essays too.

Still confused? Story2 can help, with sample essays, our proven online toolkit and personalized feedback and coaching.

Contact Sammi Greene at or 973-609-9697, and she’ll connect you with the resources you need to succeed.

Through Story2 Carol Barash, PhD has empowered more than 100,000 people to write out loud in college admissions essays, job interviews, and on the job. She’s taught at Princeton, Michigan and Rutgers and built online communities for schools, businesses and community organizations around the world.

Topics:college admission