True to its word, the Common App released its new essay questions for 2015-2016 on March 31. While the length will remain 250-650 words, the questions themselves have been revised. Posted to its blog here, the changes are based on survey research the Common App performed. Thanks to 5,667 responses, including feedback from 110 Member colleges, the Common App made revisions to two prompts and eliminated the following prompt:
Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
Member Colleges will now have the option to not require their applicants to complete the Common App main essay, though we suspect that few, if any, will opt out of the essay requirement. It seems more in keeping with the Common App's goal of giving more control to member colleges, which can choose their applicant requirements.
Here are the new questions with the changes in italics for those juniors who want to get a head start:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 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.
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.