Common App Undergoes New Changes

CA4: the New Common Application, is an undergraduate college admission form that is used by a multitude number of colleges and universities in the United States in the student selection process. The application allows students to apply to these institutions simultaneously rather than having to stress about filling a different application out for each institution. The new version of the application, in its entirety, becomes available online August 1, 2013.

One of the most well known components of this form is the essay portion. As of 2013, the Common App has revised this portion, and to the dismay of many students, removed the ‘topic of your choice’ essay prompt. In the place of the older essay prompts, Common App has released five new ones for the 2013-2014 admission season:

  • 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.

Applicants are advised to choose the option that best helps them to answer the prompt and write a great, inspirational and well-structured essay. The Common App tends to be a stickler when it comes to essay length. In past years, the max word count for the essay used to be 500, but that has been increased to 650 words. That being said, the online version of the application will not accept an essay that is shorter than 250 words in length.

At Dolphin Academic Prep, we advise our students and parents to think ahead. We recommend students start the college application process early. Juniors, who will soon be seniors in high school, should take the time this summer to begin drafting their essays to get ahead of the curve and be better prepared. For those who need help with the college search process, filling out applications or guidance on composing a well-constructed essay, Dolphin Academic Prep is here to assist, so give us a call today.