Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tips for Common College Essay Questions

Common College Essay Questions

It’s helpful to be prepared for common college essay questions. Prospective students might find that colleges they are applying to use their own admission essay questions, or let the applicant choose a topic. If the college accepts the Common Application, and the student chooses that method of application, then the Common App questions come into play, one of which is writing on a topic of your choice.

The number of colleges using the CommonApp is growing every year. The application process is and will continue to become more standardized in the future. Some colleges might have a student select one essay topic from several choices. An applicant shouldn’t be surprised if they are asked to write an essay from the CommonApp. E

Here are some helpful tips on answering common college essay questions, or choosing your own topic.

College Essay Question

Diversity

Try:

  • Choose a topic that shows you are an individual.
  • Show diversity has enriched your life.
  • Pick a topic you have thought about thoroughly.

Avoid:

  • Avoid being over-zealous. Just be unique not eccentric.
  • Don’t be a rebel or nonconformist.

The Influential Person

Try:

  • What would that person say about you?
  • Make sure you can answer how the person influenced you.
  • Place the emphasis of the essay on the influence of the person.
  • Focus on the main influences the person had upon you. Avoid talking vaguely about several influences the person had on you.

Avoid:

  • Try not to pick a person who influenced you in a negative way. If you choose this option, make sure you share how you overcame the person’s influence.
  • Don’t be too mushy about the person.
  • Avoid making the person perfect.

The Important Current Event

Try:

  • Identify a significant event that had an effect on you.
  • Show proof you have been concerned about the issue for a long time.
  • Add a new angle to the issue.
  • Use a natural tone – your natural speaking voice. Do not sound too formal in the essay
  • Choose an issue you care about.

Avoid:

  • Don’t choose an over-used issue.
  • Don’t be afraid of an unpopular opinion as long as you can support your arguments.

Life Changing Experience

Try:

  • Address the question thoroughly. Have one main theme and stay on task.
  • Write about something that happened to you, rather than something you read about.

Avoid:

  • Stay away from using dialogue in the essay.
  • Don’t choose an “R” or “X” rated topic.
  • Avoid choosing an unethical experience.

Famous Influence: A Person That Has Influenced You in History, Or Creative Work of Art.

Try:

  • Focus on the person not the influence.
  • Analyze and illustrate with examples the full influence.
  • Include significant details how the person influenced you.

Avoid:

  • Don’t choose a character to please your audience.
  • Don’t choose an overused person.
  • Try not to write about a person whose fame was minimal or controversial.

The Open Ended Question: Choose your Own Topic

Try:

  • Use an honest natural tone.
  • Pick one main theme and stay on task – no tangents.
  • Write an essay that paints a picture with specific examples of your experiences.

Avoid:

  • Don’t write a negative essay – Be optimistic!
  • Refrain from referencing other sections of the application. The essay section is a separate section that stands alone.

When it comes to college essay questions, many colleges offer a standardized the college application process by using the CommonApp. The CommonApp questions include essays on diversity, an important current event, the influential experience, a famous influence, and an open ended question where by you choose the topic.

There are definite things to avoid when writing the college application essay. It is important to note that many colleges that don’t use the CommonApp but will adopt the essays from the CommonApp essay question for their application. Don’t be shocked if you are asked one of the CommonApp questions.
Good Luck!