Tag Archives: Common App UG Essays

Analysis of Common App UG Essays, 50-75 words, per essay

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.

Write in the form of a story in which you describe either of the aspects given in the prompt. Make sure that it stimulates the interest of the reader. Focus on something which is unique. It can be something like participation in sports or dance or a meaningful leadership experience. In describing so, talk about the learning associated with it. Remember that why is it meaningful to you is an essential part of the question.

2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Take an experience that does not show that you were an outright failure but highlights the learning that you derived from it. The results or learning is more important as it reflects on the applicant’s ability to learn and improve oneself by taking failure in a positive light. The whole essay should reflect your overall positive attitude.

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

This is a challenging topic. You need a very good and strong story to build on this. A strong story will directly throw light on the applicant’s ability to take bold steps and hence his/her leadership quality. However, the language should not be didactic. It can be a widespread defective practice or process. The presentation of the topic should be such that it throws light on the strength of character of the applicant and courageousness to go against a set convention.

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.

This topic too requires great deal of introspection and a strong story or example. To talk about a problem or research query one can chose something one is passionate about in one’s field. If you talk about ethical dilemma choose a situation in which you felt that you were ethically challenged and were trapped between a moral and immoral choice and latter it can be shown that you selected the path that was ethically right. Choose this and the previous topic if you have actually experienced something of this sort. A fake story will not create a deep impact.

5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

This can be an epiphany, leadership experience, an important event in life, failure or accomplishment. The more important component of the topic is how it changed you or your ideology and belief systems. A series of events, accomplishments or adversity can also be described that brought about the transformation. The impact of these things on you holds more importance in this question. The style of writing should be captivating, Refrain from simply narrating the events or achievements.