Common Application Essay Topics for 2014 -2015


The Common Application Group is a non profit committed to to providing reliable services that promote equity, access, and integrity in the college application process.

Every two years they release a set of essay prompts that can be accessed by prospective students to be submitted alongside a college application to give schools an idea of the quality of candidate they are considering.

This is a great opportunity for senior students to complete a common writing task that may well be useful for them in further education opportunities.

The word limit is capped at 650.  It is very difficult to write an excellent essay with such a short word limit so every word needs to count.

The common prompts for 2014 and 2015 are

These three tips may help you if you are stuck for inspiration.

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.   

  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

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

  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

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

  • Brainstorm some of your favorite memories. Why have these stuck with you? What do they mean to you and what do they say about who you are? Do you see a theme running through them?
  • When writing about these memories, describe them in as much detail as possible. What color was the shirt you were wearing? Was it raining outside? How did you feel? The more you remember the more it means to you.
  • Most importantly, be honest with yourself. Don’t write about what you think the college admissions board wants to hear. Write about something you really feel strongly about. Your passion and true self will shine through. That is what they want to see.