3 or 5, however, remember to clearly explain your perspective to the reader, even if it seems obvious to you. Recount an incident or time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. Colleges want to admit students who are intellectually engaged with the world. So, the big take-away ideas on the Common App Essay are these: Dont do the minimum because you are officially allowed to do the minimum. Keep in mind that for each of these questions, there are really two parts. If you already have a topic in mind for this one that doesn't really fit with any of the other prompts, go for it! However, you'll want to demonstrate some of the same qualities that colleges are looking for in all college essays: things like academic passion, maturity, resourcefulness, and persistence. Instead, applicants will need to enter the essay into a text box that counts words and prevents entering anything beyond 650 words. It's roughly the equivalent of a two-page, double-spaced essay.
Let your list of extracurricular activities, academic record, letters of recommendation, and supplemental essays and materials show your range of accomplishments. Another benefit of a specific topic is that it makes coming up with supporting details much easier. Why You Shouldn't Go Over the Essay Length Limit: If you are applying to a college that does allow you to go over the limit, or if you have a supplemental essay with a recommended word count that isn't enforced by the application software, you. Regardless of length, the best essays tell a compelling story, provide insight to your character and interests, and are written with crisp and engaging prose. But, these new questions are no joke; none of the essay prompts are easy, and all require a great deal of time, thought, and drafting before members of the Class of 2016 can confidently hit submit on their applications. Asiseeit / Getty Images. By identifying an experience or trait that is vital to your story, you're also showing what kind of person you see yourself as do you value your leadership abilities or your determination to overcome challenges? As you revise your own essay, keep asking yourself what ideas are truly essential. These prompts elicit some of the most personal responses, which can make for great essays but also feel too revealing to many students. Don't Worry About What You Think You're Supposed to Write There is no single right answer to these prompts, and if you try to find one you'll end up doing yourself a disservice.