Ms. Gokturk

Advanced Composition


College Essay Prompts: The Common Application


Colleges want to know more about you. The common application, for instance, utilizes the following questions. Note that the types of essay formats that can be used as responses (and that we will complete this term) are in parentheses.


This is taken verbatim from the common application:


Personal Statement


This personal statement helps us become acquainted with you in ways different from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. We are looking for an essay that will help us know you better as a student and a person. Please write an essay (250-500 words) on a topic of your choice or one of the options listed below.


  1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. [significant moment/personal narrative essay]
  2. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. [biography essay]
  3. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. [argument essay, cause and effect essay]
  4. Describe a character in fiction, an historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence. [expository essay, definition essay, biography essay]
  5. Topic of your choice. [process analysis?]