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Nearly 700 U.S. colleges and universities use the Common App platform to accept applications for admission, and the 2018 application is now live — meaning you can apply now if you’re ready  As part of the process, students must write an essay, or personal statement, that can be shared with the schools they hope to attend. Applicants choose from several “prompts” to write an essay of up to 650 words that offers insights into character, community, identity and aspiration, according to the Common App website.

The essay prompts change from year to year, but the 7 options for the upcoming 2018-2019 application for the freshman class of 2023 are the same as last year’s.  Here they are:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.