The Common App is Live: Tips for the 2016-2017 Season

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The Common App went live around 8:00pm on July 31, giving rising seniors a head start on the August 1 projected launch time. And it's a good thing students have those extra hours, as once again, the Common App is likely to mislead students who expect the essay questions for any given college to appear on the Writing Requirements section of a college's supplement. While the Common App will often say that there are essay questions, other times it will indicate nothing, leading applicants to believe there are no essay questions associated with a school.

Stanford is a great example of this. The top-ranked university has 7 short-take essay questions and 3 medium-length essay questions, all of which actually appear on the Questions page (where typically the college lists standard questions about academic interests and your biographical data), so make sure to go through each page and answer every question on the supplement so as not to miss anything. Also note that some questions--often called stealth questions for good reason--only appear when you've selected a particular program or major.

And that's only the beginning. As usual, there are hundreds of program-specific, special applicant and scholarship essay questions that don't appear on the supplements at all and aren't even mentioned there. Take New York University and University of Southern California as examples. You just have to know they exist and find them on your own (hint: clear several hours unless you use College Essay Organizer!).

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University of Southern California Has 31 Essay Questions

The University of Southern California was updated more than a week ago ... and it was an absolute monster. There is one required essay and 10 short-take essay questions for all applicants. That's hard enough.

But if you happen to be applying to one of the many different programs or majors (USC has some pretty amazing departments), you will have even more essays to write. Keep in mind that these questions are not mentioned on the applications (you just have to know that they are required ... and then good luck tracking them all down, as they're buried deep in the school's website). See what you're up against:

Applicants to the School of Architecture (1 essay question)
Applicants to the Marshall School of Business, World Bachelor in Business (WBB) (2 essay questions)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts Division of Animation and Digital Arts (2 essay questions)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts Division of Critical Studies (2 essay questions)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts Division of Interactive Entertainment (1 essay question)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Studies Division of Interactive Entertainment (3 questions)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Studies Division of Film & Television Production (3 essay questions)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts Division of Film & Television Production (1 essay question)
Applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts Writing for Film & Television program (3 essay questions)
Applicants to the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism (1 essay question)
Applicants to the Viterbi School of Engineering (1 essay question)
Applicants to the Viterbi School of Engineering & Computer Science (1 essay question)
Applicants to the Roski School of Fine Arts (3 essay questions)
Applicants to Thornton School of Music (1 essay question)
Applicants to the Trojan Admission Prepharmacy Program (1 essay question)
Required only for applicants to the School of Dramatic Arts (1 essay question)

College Essay Organizer provides all of these questions in one place -- instantly. Don't waste your time stressing out trying to find all these questions when you can get them now with one click. Get started here.

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2012-2013 Essay Questions for Columbia, Pepperdine, Kenyon and More

More and more schools are releasing their Common App supplements, and College Essay Organizer is updating all of them. Columbia University just posted its questions, as did Pepperdine University and Kenyon College. One of our favorite Pepperdine questions from last year was taken out ("Please finish the following sentence: The Admission Committee members would laugh if they knew I..."), but the replacement was equally thought-provoking: "If you were to write a book about your life, what would be the title?"

Kenyon also had a creative new set of essay prompts, with our favorite being:

“From now on, I'll connect the dots my own way," says Calvin in the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson '80. What is "your way" of making sense of things? Are there dots you hope to connect?

We also updated some schools with lots of scholarship and program-specific questions including New York University (3 required questions, 1 optional question, and 18 program-specific questions), Uuniversity of Texas-Austin (1 required question, 1 optional question, and 12 program-specific questions), and University of Southern California (2 required questions and 28 program-specific questions).

 

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