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How to Write Common App Essay with Examples

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With higher education becoming more relevant than at any time in history, many institutions have introduced simplified procedures to help candidates file their applications with ease. 

Common App is one such example. This facility enables students to send applications to more than 900 institutes through a single application portal. Amongst the various criteria that determine your eligibility to apply through Common App, your common app essay assumes the top position.  

In this detailed blog on Common App personal statement writing, you will learn: 

  • What is a common app essay and how to write it?
  • Common App Personal Essay Writing prompts
  • Some Common App personal statement examples to power up your thoughts 

What is Common App Essay?

Common App Essay is a key requirement for filing your application through the Common App system. Usually, 650 words are the common app personal statement word limit. You will be given seven different answering prompts to choose from and theme your essay. 

Why Common App Essay is Important?

  • According to some recent updates, about 30 to 50% of admission decisions through Common App portals are decided on the basis of the quality of Common App Essays. 
  • A common app essay enables the participating institutes to learn about the character and attitude of the applicant. 
  • Common App Essays are a great tool for selectors to assess students’ communication skills. 
  • It enables the institutes to distinguish each candidate based on their motivation, career aspirations, skills and strengths. 
  • By presenting the best version of yourself via your common app essay, you have a superior chance of getting considered for admission. 
Need Help In Writing Common App Essay? Contact Us

Do Common App Essay Prompts Really Matter?

Yes, they do. In fact, one of the greatest advantages of the Common App is that the students who decide to apply through this arrangement get seven essay writing prompts. So, they don’t have to do much of their own research additionally to understand what to include. These prompts are comprehensive and encourage students to address the most important aspect of their profile. Here are those prompts. You can find the original version of them on the Common App portal. 

  1. Majority of the students think that their higher study application would be complete only by sharing some important anecdotes about their identity, background, interest or a specific talent. Share your story if you agree with this. 
  2. Obstacles from life can become great lessons for future success. Share an experience when a setback or challenge influenced you so much. Explain what you took from it. 
  3. Think about a time when you were made to question a concept or belief system. What led you to this phase and how did that turn out? 
  4. Write about an experience where you were surprised by someone’s act of kindness or any other action. How did that particular experience influence you? 
  5. Reflect on a particular incident or experience or achievement that contributed to your personal growth and self-realization or even your attitude towards others? 
  6. Write about something that you get deeply engrossed in and makes you forget everything else? Why do you think it interests you so much? 
  7. Write or share an essay on any of your favourite topics

How do you Write a Good Common App essay?

Here is the step-by-step process of writing a winning common app personal statement. 

Step One: Write an introduction:

Write a catchy introduction that sets the scene for your story. The introduction shouldn’t exceed 100 words and clearly introduce your main point. 

Step two: Describe the essay prompt:

For your common app essay, you can choose any of the seven writing prompts we shared earlier. Describe the prompt in detail in about 100 words. This paragraph should flow naturally from the introduction. 

Step three: Introduce your growth/achievement aspects:

This should be a small paragraph which you use as a bridge between your story and the growth phase. The word limit for this section is about 50 to 60 words. 

Step four: Write about the first achievement/growth:

In this paragraph, you can focus on the first achievement/growth/realization that you want to focus on. Start with a topic sentence, explain the achievement, and provide ample examples or backgrounds to solidify this. 

Step five: Write about the next growth/achievement.

Begin it with a topic sentence as you did for the previous one. Both these paragraphs together can form about 300 words. 

Step fix: Write a conclusion:

Write your conclusion as a reflection and summation of what you said in the previous paragraphs. Show that you are committed to enhancing your learning with your higher study decision. Write the conclusion within 100 words so that your common app personal essay word limit doesn’t exceed. 

Pro Tip: Your common app essay must contain your story, its interpretation, and your narrative. It must strike a chord with the reader should it support your application. 

Need Help In Writing Common App Personal Statement? Contact Us

Common App Essay Examples

We strongly recommend you read a few common app essay examples before starting to work on your own. Sample reading sessions can trigger you to brainstorm and fetch some really interesting points. 

I was waiting outside the office of our principal. My palms were sweaty, and I could feel my stomach lurching. Well, I knew that the situation was different from my peers, and I wasn’t here to face trouble. I was eagerly seated there, waiting to narrate the incident during my history class. I had arrived one and a half hours earlier, and found that a substitute teacher was waiting for us. I would admit that apparently, I believed that the class was going to be comparatively lesser taxing. I wasn’t alone, and some of my peers also had the same way of thoughts. However, some were loud enough to express their thoughts in a vociferous manner. However, the substitute teacher could hear him speak, and we saw him slamming the fist on the desk before the class. The din in the class had apparently irrigated him. The unexpected outburst suddenly made the class quiet, subduing the students.

Absolute silence prevailed in the class, as the substitute teacher asked the students to copy down notes that he displayed in the projector. He kept yelling even if one of the students tried to whisper something. Yelling with rage, he slammed textbooks several times. This was uncommon, as we had never witnessed anything like this in our school in the past.

Time stood still, and I felt that we had been sitting in the classroom for a lifetime. Finally, the bell rang, and the substitute teacher walked out of the room. There was a hushed silence in the room for a while. Next, we found ourselves huddled together to discuss what to do about the rude behaviour of the teacher. The initial shock was over, and we decided to report the incident to the principal. This was to make sure that other kids of our school would not encounter such a sour learning experience. Although I felt odd to report a teacher for poor behaviour, turning the table, we didn’t have any other option.

In the next period, we had an elective class. Along with one of my friends, I decided to volunteer on this occasion. As we waited outside the principal’s room, I started replaying the series of actions that had taken place in the previous class. At one point of time, I had the idea that perhaps we had been exaggerating his actions. However, there was one thing in common. Every student acknowledged that the substitute teacher was too aggressive in his attitude. Ultimately, we conveyed the facts to the Principal, as she appeared to hear us.

To our astonishment, she wasn’t surprised at all. Even other teachers had taken a note of her aggressive behaviour in the common room during the break. However, we were the first students to report such behaviour from a teaching faculty to the principal. The supposition among other students might have been that someone or the other would have reported the teacher. Well, I was nervous, but I felt content later on, as my action would save other students from the erratic teaching faculty.

Download Common App Personal Statement Examples

How Does Admission Process Through Common App Work?

In order to apply through Common App, you should visit the official portal and sign up for your account there. It comes pretty handy for the applicants to see the available programs, universities, and requirements of each university. You can choose the programs/universities you wish to apply to and file your application. Once the application has been filed, you will receive a notification when any progress takes place.

Which are the Major Schools that Shortlist Applicants Through Common App?

It is estimated that as many as 900 colleges and universities, the majority of them in the US, accept students through Common App. This includes both Ivy League and non-Ivy League schools. A random list of the top institutes affiliated with Common App is given below. 

Albion College
University of Minnesota
Alvernia University
Arizona State University
Baker College
Trinity University
Barry University
Harvey Mudd College
Occidental College
Lawrence University
Lake Forest College
Furman University
Need Help In Writing Common App Personal Statement? Contact Us

Materials You Would Need for Filling Out Your Application on Common App

Filling out your application on Common App can be a long process because it requires you to enter a lot of details and pieces of information. It will be wise to have the following documents ready at hand before you start the application filling. 

  • Your high school transcript
  • Your college entrance exam (SAT/ACT or any other) details – exam dates and scores
  • Details about your work, responsibilities or any other activities you are required to talk about
  • A list of your relevant academic achievements
  • Details of your academic honours 
  • Details about your parents/legal guardian
  • Common App Personal Statement


Were you able to write your Common App essay using the tips and steps shared in this blog? Don’t take your personal statement for granted. Try to write the most impactful one by carefully incorporating each piece of information we shared in this blog. 

We would love to hear your thoughts regarding this blog. So, feel free to share any suggestions, feedback, questions or doubts in the comments section below. 

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I'm Anjit.V.S, freelance writer, academic documentation expert, and brand consultant. Having worked with thousands of students and global brands, I bring extensive and diversified experience to every project. Crafting compelling narratives and devising strategic branding solutions are my forte. With an unflinching commitment to excellence, I consistently deliver impeccable results. Whether it's shaping brand identities, drafting academic documents or brainstorming marketing strategies, you can confidently rely on me to bring innovation and expertise to the table. Let's collaborate and elevate your brand together!

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