- I tell my students to think of the essay as something that they would share with an admissions officer. What makes them unique? What makes them different? The essay does not have to be about a momentous occasion or a life-changing incident-it can be something small. My suggestion is to write and not think about word count. Write as much as you can and then cut down. You want to tell your unique story. Here are some questions to consider-you don't need to start with the essay questions. Think about your answer. It can usually be molded into one of the questions on the common app. Keep from listing activities, mentioning that you were the captain of the football team-all that information is in your application! The essay is all about what is NOT already in the application.
How do I spend my time? Why?
What do I like to do? Why?
What do I think about most of the time?
What are the things that truly matter to me?
When I think about who I am or what I care about, is there a particular day, moment, or event that was important in shaping who you have become?
What keeps me up at night?
What drives me, makes me tick?
What am I most proud of?
What are your favorite activities and hobbies? Why do you enjoy them? How do you feel when you are working on those hobbies? What do you think about?
Do you have any special talents or skills? These might be significant things—like playing piano or acting—or they might be more trivial things like juggling, doing a back-flip, etc. Describe.
What was your best day or experience? The worst?
Is there anything you’ve done that, knowing what you know now, you would like to have done differently?
What was the most memorable experience you have had with a member of your family? How about a memorable experience with a friend?