College Unfold

Navigating the Common App Essay: Prompts and Tips for the 2023-24 Admissions Cycle

Essay Prompts for the 2023-24 Admissions Cycle: What to ExpectThe college admissions process can be daunting for many high school students. Among the various components of the application, the Common App essay prompts often hold a special significance.

In this article, we will explore the essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle, the decision to keep the same prompts, and the positive reviews these prompts have received. Additionally, we will delve into the optional COVID-19 essay question and provide tips on how to effectively utilize this opportunity within the application.

1: Common App essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle

Decision to keep the same prompts

Amidst the ever-changing landscape of college admissions, the Common App essay prompts have remained constant for several years. It is no surprise that the same prompts have been retained for the 2023-24 admissions cycle.

Admissions officers and guidance counselors have found these prompts to be effective in gauging applicants’ creativity, critical thinking, and writing abilities. By keeping the prompts consistent, the Common App ensures a fair and equitable evaluation process for all applicants.

Positive reviews of the prompts

The Common App essay prompts have garnered rave reviews from various stakeholders involved in the college admissions process. Admissions officers appreciate the insights into applicants’ personal experiences and values offered by these prompts.

Guidance counselors find the prompts to be an excellent springboard for students to showcase their unique qualities. Parents and students, too, have lauded the prompts for their ability to elicit introspection and self-reflection.

These prompts encourage applicants to delve deeply into their backgrounds, passions, and aspirations, resulting in authentic and compelling essays. 2: COVID-19 essay

Optional COVID-19 question

Recognizing the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Common App introduced an optional question in the Additional Information section specifically relating to the pandemic. This question seeks to provide applicants with a space to share their experiences, challenges, and personal growth during this global crisis.

It is an opportunity for students to communicate how they have adapted, learned, and made a positive impact in the face of adversity.

Tips for utilizing the COVID-19 essay space

If you choose to answer the COVID-19 question in your Common App essay, here are some tips to help you effectively utilize this space:

1. Reflect on your experiences: Think about how the pandemic has affected your personal life, academics, extracurricular activities, mental health, or community involvement.

Identify key moments, challenges, or lessons that have shaped your character and resilience. 2.

Focus on personal growth: Highlight how you have grown as an individual during this challenging time. Discuss any new skills, strengths, or perspectives you have acquired.

Admissions officers are particularly interested in seeing resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to self-improvement. 3.

Demonstrate leadership and initiative: If you have taken an active role in your community or initiated projects to support others during the pandemic, showcase these efforts in your essay. Admissions officers value applicants who make a positive impact on their surroundings.

4. Be authentic: Write from the heart and be sincere in your response.

Admissions officers appreciate genuine stories and applicants who showcase their true personalities. Avoid clichs and generic statements; instead, share unique insights that only you can provide.


To conclude, the Common App essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle remain the same, ensuring fairness and consistency in the evaluation process. These prompts have received positive reviews from admissions officers, guidance counselors, parents, and students for their effectiveness in revealing personal narratives.

Additionally, the optional COVID-19 essay question provides an opportunity for applicants to reflect on their experiences during the pandemic and demonstrate personal growth, resilience, and initiative. By utilizing these tips, applicants can make the most of the COVID-19 essay space and present a compelling narrative to admissions officers.

Good luck with your college applications!

Exploring the Common App Essay Prompts for the 2023-24 Admissions CycleOne of the most crucial components of the college application process is the Common App essay. Each year, high school students across the globe prepare to tackle the prompts and craft a compelling narrative that showcases their uniqueness.

In this expansion, we will delve into additional topics surrounding the Common App essay, including the word limit, the minimum requirement, and an in-depth analysis of each prompt. 3: Common App essay word limit

Word limit remains at 650 words

The Common App essay has long maintained a maximum word limit of 650 words. This limit provides applicants with ample space to present their story, experiences, and perspectives without becoming overwhelmed by an extensive word count.

Admissions officers understand that effective storytelling often requires a certain degree of elaboration, which the 650-word constraint accommodates.

Minimum floor of 250 words

In addition to the maximum word limit, the Common App essay also has a minimum requirement of 250 words. While 250 words may seem brief, it is important for applicants to craft a concise and impactful narrative within this constraint.

The minimum word limit ensures that applicants provide enough substance to convey their ideas effectively, while also discouraging them from submitting overly short or incomplete essays. 4: All 2023-24 Common App essay prompts

Prompt 1 – Background, identity, interest, or talent

The first prompt of the Common App essay invites applicants to showcase a meaningful aspect of their background, identity, interest, or talent.

This prompt encourages students to reflect on an experience that has significantly shaped their worldview or influenced their personal development. It is an opportunity for applicants to share their unique perspective and highlight how their background or interests have made them who they are today.

Prompt 2 – Lessons from obstacles or challenges

Prompt 2 of the Common App essay prompts applicants to reflect on significant obstacles or challenges they have faced and the lessons they have learned from them. This prompt encourages students to discuss setbacks, failures, or difficult experiences they have encountered and emphasizes the importance of resilience and personal growth.

By showcasing their ability to overcome adversity and highlighting the valuable insights gained from it, applicants can impress admissions officers with their strength and maturity.

Prompt 3 – Questioning or challenging beliefs or ideas

The third prompt of the Common App essay invites students to explore moments when they have questioned or challenged their own beliefs or ideas. This prompt encourages applicants to demonstrate intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, and an openness to new perspectives.

By discussing instances where they have examined their own convictions and undergone a shift in mindset, applicants can showcase a willingness to engage in thoughtful introspection and personal growth.

Prompt 4 – Gratitude and its effects

Prompt 4 of the Common App essay centers around the theme of gratitude. It prompts students to express appreciation for someone, something, or an experience that has had a profound impact on their lives.

This prompt encourages applicants to reflect on the positive aspects of their lives and how gratitude can motivate and inspire them. By showcasing an understanding of the power of gratitude and its effects, students can illustrate their ability to find joy and appreciate the world around them.

Prompt 5 – Personal growth and understanding

Prompt 5 of the Common App essay focuses on personal growth and understanding. It encourages applicants to reflect on a period of significant personal development and the lessons learned during this transformative journey.

This prompt offers an opportunity for students to share how they have matured, gained new insights, or developed a greater self-awareness. By highlighting their capacity for introspection and personal growth, applicants can demonstrate their readiness for the challenges and opportunities that college life will present.

Prompt 6 – Engaging topics or concepts

The sixth prompt of the Common App essay allows applicants to explore a topic, idea, or concept that engages their intellectual curiosity. This prompt invites students to delve into their passions and explore a subject that has captivated their attention.

Whether it is a scientific theory, historical event, or philosophical concept, this prompt gives applicants the chance to showcase their intellectual depth and their ability to think critically and analytically.

Prompt 7 – Essay on any topic of choice

The final prompt of the Common App essay presents applicants with the freedom to choose any topic they desire. This open-ended prompt allows students to explore their creativity and write about a subject that truly resonates with them.

It encourages applicants to think outside the box and share a narrative that is deeply personal and unique. This prompt is an opportunity for students to showcase their storytelling abilities and their capacity to present their ideas coherently and effectively.


The Common App essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle provide applicants with a range of topics that invite introspection, personal growth, and creative expression. The word limit, ranging from 250 to 650 words, ensures that students have adequate space to convey their ideas effectively while maintaining concise and impactful narratives.

By carefully considering these prompts and employing storytelling techniques, applicants can craft compelling essays that leave a lasting impression on admissions officers. Good luck with your Common App essay journey!

Exploring Popular Common App Prompts and Supplemental EssaysThe Common App essay prompts provide applicants with a chance to reveal their personal stories, passions, and reflections.

As students embark on the college application process, certain prompts have gained popularity due to their versatility and the opportunity they provide for self-expression. In this expansion, we will delve into the details of the popular Common App prompts, including the open-ended “Topic of your choice” essay, the “Discuss an accomplishment” essay, and the “Challenge, setback, or failure” essay.

Additionally, we will discuss the importance of supplemental essays and provide resources and tips for college essay writing. 5: Popular Common App prompts

Prompt 7 – “Topic of your choice” essay

The “Topic of your choice” prompt, also known as Prompt 7, has garnered popularity among applicants due to its open-ended nature.

It allows students to explore a subject they are deeply passionate about or share a personal experience that has significantly impacted their lives. This prompt encourages creativity and allows applicants to showcase their unique perspectives, interests, and values.

However, it is important to ensure that the chosen topic is meaningful and relevant to the individual to effectively engage admissions officers. Prompt 5 – “Discuss an accomplishment” essay

Prompt 5, which focuses on discussing an accomplishment, has been a go-to option for many applicants.

This prompt allows students to highlight a specific achievement or milestone that showcases their talents, skills, or personal growth. It provides an opportunity to demonstrate perseverance, leadership, or creativity.

However, it is crucial to approach this prompt with humility and reflect on the lessons learned or the impact of the accomplishment, ensuring that the essay is not merely a brag sheet but a thoughtful reflection on personal growth. Prompt 2 – “Challenge, setback, or failure” essay

Prompt 2, which invites students to reflect on a challenge, setback, or failure, has become increasingly popular among applicants.

This prompt encourages introspection and vulnerability, allowing students to showcase resilience, problem-solving abilities, or a growth mindset. By sharing an experience and the lessons learned from it, applicants can demonstrate maturity, self-awareness, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

It is important to strike a balance between reflecting on the difficulties faced and highlighting personal growth and resilience in the face of adversity. 6: Supplemental essay prompts and advice

Links to supplemental essay prompts for 50+ colleges

In addition to the Common App essay, many colleges require supplemental essays that are specific to their institution.

These essays provide applicants with an opportunity to demonstrate their interest in and knowledge of the college they are applying to. It is essential for students to familiarize themselves with the supplemental essay prompts for each college they are applying to.

Online resources, such as college websites and platforms like College Essay Guy, offer comprehensive lists of supplemental essay prompts for 50+ colleges, making it easier for students to access and navigate these specific requirements.

Resources and tips for college essay writing

Writing captivating and memorable college essays can be challenging. However, numerous resources and tips are available to help students navigate the process effectively.

College writing centers, online workshops, and essay writing books offer invaluable guidance on crafting compelling narratives and refining writing skills. It is essential for students to start early, brainstorm ideas, and draft multiple versions of their essays.

Seeking feedback from trusted teachers, mentors, or college counselors is also beneficial in honing the essay’s clarity, coherence, and overall impact. Additionally, it is crucial to maintain an authentic voice and showcase personal experiences or reflections that genuinely resonate with the applicant.

Adhering to the essay prompt, focusing on specific details, and utilizing vivid language can contribute to a more engaging and memorable essay. Ultimately, the essay should offer a glimpse into the applicant’s character, values, and aspirations, allowing admissions officers to gain a deeper understanding of the individual beyond grades and test scores.


In the realm of Common App prompts, some options have gained popularity among applicants due to their flexibility and the chance they offer for self-expression. The “Topic of your choice” essay, the “Discuss an accomplishment” essay, and the “Challenge, setback, or failure” essay are frequently chosen by students to showcase their passions, achievements, and resilience.

Additionally, supplemental essays specific to each college provide a platform for students to demonstrate their interest and knowledge of the institution. By utilizing resources and following essay writing tips, applicants can craft compelling narratives that leave a lasting impression on admissions officers.

Remember, your essay is an opportunity to capture your unique voice and story, so take the time to reflect, draft, and revise until you present your best self. Good luck with your college essay writing journey!

In conclusion, the Common App essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle remain consistent, offering students a platform to convey their unique experiences, values, and personal growth.

Prompts such as the open-ended “Topic of your choice,” the accomplishment-focused essay, and the challenge-driven essay have gained popularity among applicants. Additionally, the inclusion of supplemental essays specific to each college emphasizes the importance of demonstrating interest and knowledge in the institution.

With valuable resources and tips available, students can craft captivating narratives that leave lasting impressions on admissions officers. The college essay is an opportunity to showcase one’s authentic voice and demonstrate self-reflection and resilience.

As students embark on this journey, it is crucial to approach each prompt with sincerity and careful consideration, highlighting significant aspects of personal growth and experiences. Let your essay be a reflection of who you are beyond grades and test scores, presenting a compelling narrative that resonates with admissions officers.

Good luck with your college application process.

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