2016-17 Common Application Essay Prompts: Tips, Samples

o paraphrase Navin Johnson, “The new Common Application essay prompts are here!”

2016-17 Common Application Essay Prompts: A Guide

We at College Essay Advisors love these tried and true essay questions, which are exactly the same as the ones on last year’s list. These prompts are, as always, open to creative interpretation, allowing room for personal expression while also delineating some helpful guidelines for students to follow. While it is true that the Common Application essay prompts are quite flexible, it is still helpful to know just what admissions will be looking for when they read personal statements in each of these categories.

Stay tuned for an explanation of Common App Essay prompts 2-5, and check out  to help get your creative juices flowing.

The New Common Application Essay Prompts

In the end, any story that will showcase your value to admissions will inevitably be able to be backed into one of the Common App essay prompts; because the whole point of these prompts is to help you identify insightful, revealing stories about yourself. In fact, a good personal essay topic often fits within the confines of multiple Common App essay prompt options. You might even identify a new and unexpected spin on your subject while considering it through the lens of a prompt you never expected to use (and may not have even considered in the first place). Over the years, so many surprises have revealed themselves through the Backwards Brainstorm, perhaps most of all that it works every time.

The Common Application essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle are the same as the ones from last year.

While it is true that the Common Application essay prompts are quite flexible, it is still helpful to know just what admissions will be looking for when they read personal statements in each of these categories. What are these questions really asking you? How do the prompts intend to pull students down the path of self-reflection? How can they be used to showcase a student’s best assets and personality?

Commonapp Essay Prompts Writing the Common Application Essay and What to Avoid


Students who apply to colleges and universities via their Common App account have a major benefit compared to others who send applications to colleges individually. All they need to do is select a list of preferred colleges and fill in the form, write an application essay, and track the deadlines from their dashboard. What is also handy, the Common App provides you with important and timely essay prompts. This year, the prompts have remained the same as last year. For those who missed it, we are presenting the five 2016-2017 Common App essay prompts.Without further ado, here are the all-new Common Application essay prompts:

Common Application Essay Questions for 2013-2014The new 2015-2016 Common Application essay prompts have been . Here’s the scoop, which includes some data points about feedback from their essay prompt survey, straight from the Common App site:Whether it's teaching yourself to cook, deciding not to go into your family's business, struggling through your first year on the water polo team, trying to drop an egg from the top of the science building without having it break, or immigrating to this country when you were 16 — everybody has a story to tell. And the 2015 Common App essay prompts will let you tell yours.