The Common Application, or Common App, is an online application system used by many colleges in the US. A key component of the application is the application essay, or writing prompt. The college essay can help college admissions offices learn about the an applicant’s background, interests, written communication skills, and educational potential.

The 2015 -2016 Essay Prompts for the Common App are currently available to read online. Below are some tips to help you prepare for writing your essay.

  • Review writing prompts and samples of successful essays beforehand
  • Practice writing essays and have educational advisers provide feedback on them
  • Write naturally and honestly
  • Avoid information or topics that do not convey a positive message about you
  • Write in a way that reflects positively upon your experience and potential as a student
  • Avoid writing that sounds artificial or boring
  • Make use of your knowledge of writing conventions and vocabulary
  • Avoid misuse or contrived use of writing conventions or vocabulary

Essentially, applicants will want to express themselves in a positive way that highlights their education, background, interests, and potential.


Socrato is a website for scoring and performance reports for standardized admissions test preparation. Socrato reports are available for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT, HSPT, and many more tests. You can learn more or try for free at Featured image credit: Caleb Roenigk