The 2021-2022 Common App Essay prompts are available for students to begin reviewing. In today’s post, we will go over some tips for crafting the perfect personal statement.

First, let’s see the prompts!

  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.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Great, but how do you write a compelling, unique essay?

No matter which prompt you choose, be sure to follow these tips if you want to make sure that your essay hits the mark.

  • You should be the focus of your essay. Don’t rely on writing about your family history or anything that isn’t related to your direct experience. Whoever is reading your essay wants to come out of it knowing a lot more about you specifically. It doesn’t help them if you talk about something your parents or grandparents did, for example.
  • Tighten the scope of the essay. Pick one thing to talk about. You don’t have much room here, so it isn’t going to work if you try to talk about everything you’ve done. Going in depth on one specific topic is a much more successful strategy for writing this essay.
  • Make the story engaging by using vivid examples and provide supporting evidence.  This is where the cliche “show, don’t tell” comes in. Instead of saying that you are a hard worker, show the reader how you balanced a rigorous high school course load with your extracurricular activities all while waking up at four in the morning every day to go to sports practice. This is an extreme example, but it serves to show that a sentence like that is far more powerful than simply saying you’re a hard worker.
  • Give new, unique information here. Admissions staff have the rest of your application to learn about the classes you took. The essay is an opportunity to write about something they wouldn’t be able to know about you otherwise. Seize the chance to show them something special they won’t find elsewhere on your application – make sure you’re not just repeating already stated information.
  • Direct the attention of the admissions committee. Make sure you are conscious of what you are writing and what you want the admission committee to be focusing on. Think about the specific point you are trying to convey and make sure that every sentence (and every word!) is working to accomplish this.
  • It should be coming from your voice. Admissions officers can tell from a mile away if you didn’t write your own essay. Don’t have your parents or anybody else write your essay for you – this will end up hurting you drastically if the admissions committee even suspects that you didn’t write it yourself. Conscious editing done by our experienced team is a different matter.
  • Opening sentences are critical! Pull the reader in. Make sure to start your essays with an interesting hook. Try not to fall into cliches here (avoid using really overused quotes, for example). Think of a unique and novel way to start your essay that will make an admissions committee say “wow, I want to read more!”
  • Give yourself enough time to write. This is the last thing in the world you are going to want to rush. As we’ve said many times already, the personal statement is an amazing opportunity. Don’t waste it by trying to cram your writing into one night, because odds are your essay won’t end up being very good. By making a plan ahead of time, you can be sure that you will have plenty of time to think about, plan, and write your essay in a calm and relaxed manner.
  • Be authentic. Speak about who you actually are and speak from the heart. If you write with this in mind, your essay will be much more likely to make an impact on the reader.

At American College Counselors, we’ll help your student brainstorm essay topics and decide on a course of action that will maximize their chances of admission. Our essay crafting process is tailored to each individual student in order to ensure we create essays that stand out and reflect your student’s authentic voice.

Please contact us at [email protected] or via text/WhatsApp at (+1)954-593-6230 if you are interested in learning more about our services. We are happy to set up a free introductory call to discuss your student how we can help.