Common Application Prompt 6: Be Warned!

The Common Application added two new prompts for 2017-18.

Now students can select from seven prompts (as opposed to five) to inspire their personal statement ‘Common App’ essay.

The seventh new Common Application prompt essentially allows you to publish about anything you need, and you also can learn more about it and the new prompts in New Common Application Prompts for 2017-18.

The other prompt, the new popular Application Prompt 6, essentially asks you to publish about one of your intellectual passions.

The Newest Popular Application Prompt 6

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

I like Common Application prompt 6 because it offers you to be able to highlight your heady side (the method that you think).

As it has a more concept-related theme and is new, I believe many students will be interested in it.

Nonetheless, i really believe there might be described as a prospective pitfall in writing an essay about one of your intellectual passions.

No matter exactly how much you love any ‘topic, idea or concept,’ it may still be challenging to come up with in way that is interesting and compelling.

It’s not impossible, but may be tricky.

First, there ‘s the trap of writing an essay that is similar to an academic essay rather of your own statement as the topic itself is ‘intellectual.’

It’s critical that whatever ‘topic, idea or concept’ you write about for Common Application prompt 6 allows you to produce most regarding the essay about YOU instead of a report-like essay just about whatever ‘topic, idea or concept’ you opt to write about.

As an example, if you’d like to publish about the ‘topic’ of weather change (because you feel passionately about that topic), try not to ever make your essay a bit just about what that is, why it’s really a concern and why it fascinates you.

Instead, seek out solution to make the topic more personal in your essay; to personalize your topic. The goal is to utilize your ‘topic, idea or concept’ to showcase your ‘intellectual interest.’

‘Intellectual curiosity’ is just a fancy way of saying exactly how you think and learn.

How to Personalize Common Application Essay Prompt 6

Two Hot recommendations for Common Application prompt 6: Include a story and a problem (usually these go together anyway).

Locate a personal story to illustrate the key point you need to produce about whatever ‘topic, idea or concept’ you write about.

( Don’t believe the Common Application folks are seeking real-life stories in these essays? They stated it directly on their website announcing the new essay prompts for 2017: The goal of these (essay prompt) revisions is to help all applicants, irrespective of background or access to counseling, see themselves and their stories inside the prompts.)

Find a real-life experience or moment to illustrate what inspired your interest or something regarding your curiosity about this topic. This way, the essay naturally shifts to being more about you than simply the topic.

One idea is to start out your essay recreating one of this moments once you ‘lost an eye on time’ or were ‘captivated’ by your ‘topic, idea or concept.’

Then you can certainly go onto explain why it ‘captivates’ you so much (ie, why you love it so much), and then share how you sought to find out more.

Here’s another Red Flagfor popular Application Essay prompt 6:

If you just answer every one of the questions in this prompt, you may have a potentially bland explanation of why the ‘topic, idea or concept’ excites you.

You may only ‘tell’ us about it and the method that you learned more about it. Good chance this won’t reveal plenty about you and how you imagine (reason, analyze, etc.) and everything you value your ‘intellectual curiosity.’

That is why it’s helpful to work in some sort of challenge/problem/obstacle related to your ‘topic, idea or concept’ so you develop a platform in your essay to share with you your intellectual curiosity beyond a general explanation.

Ideally, you wish to show your critical thinking, reasoning, analytical ability and insights in action in your own statement and your essay for Common Application prompt 6.

Just because whatever topic, idea or concept you thought we would write about is fascinating, both on its own and to you personally, will not fundamentally mean your essay is going to be equally compelling.

It’s up for your requirements to locate an easy method to feature your own personality since it relates towards the ‘topic, idea or concept’ to make your essay meaningful.

How to Inject Interest in Common Application Prompt 6to Create Interest

Another method to inject interest into an essay in what turns you on intellectually is to consider a ‘time’ which you faced any sort of obstacle (which really is a type of problem) learning more in regards to the ‘topic, concept or idea’ you are authoring.

Or any ‘time’ where your passion or pursuit of learning more caused you some sort of problem or challenge.

By launching problem or obstacle related to your passion or curiosity in a specific ‘topic, concept or idea,’ then you’re able to go onto explain exactly how you handled that issue and what you learned from it.

(When you share what happened with that problem or obstacle, you may naturally tell a little story. Bingo! You should have both an engaging personal story and an interesting problem to feature in your essay.)

I know this appears hard, but I guarantee that using some type of problem regarding your ‘topic, idea or concept’ will juice up your essay in a natural way, and help you work in more about yourself and how you think, feel and learn.

What that you do not want is an essay that goes…

When I discovered the style of quantum physics in highschool, I was hooked. It absolutely was so complex and interesting, and made me think in manners I never did before. I went home and read just as much as I could on the Internet and checked out books from the library to learn as much as I could….

Your fascination for quantum physics could be described as a good topic, but you would require to make it personal. The writing above was too general, and didn’t reveal anything about the writer’s personality or character.

Notice how there was nothing personal or certain. No story and no issue. Dullsville,

Quantum physics is fascinating, but why did it hook YOU? that is where you will need to inject something about your background or experience that shows the reader more about your interest.

After you include a story the relates to the ‘topic, idea or concept’ you are passionate about, and how you pursued learning more about any of it, don’t stop there.

Shift into what you learned from that pursuit to dig deeper into your intellectual curiosity.

Here are a few questions you could ask regarding your ‘topic, idea or concept’:

  • Did you learn what you never anticipated to learn about it, or YOURSELF?
  • Share both the good as well as the bad about everything you learned. ( Nothing is black and white.)
  • Did you learn any life lessons from delving into your ‘topic, concept or idea’ (something you learned about YOURSELF)?
  • Why does everything YOU learned about your ‘topic, idea or concept’ matter to you, to others also to the entire world?
  • Did learning about this topic, concept or idea lead you to other ideas or passions in your daily life?
  • While trying to understand more about your topic, concept or idea, what did you read about YOURSELF and how you think and learn?
  • Looking straight back at your exploration of this topic, concept or idea, what did you understand just what YOU value most in your lifetime?
  • Are you currently still learning about this topic, idea or concept? Is indeed, why is that good, too?

For college admission counselors, English teachers, parents and educational counselors who have worked with the Common Application prompts in the past:

This new Common Application prompt 6 reminds me of the old Common App prompt: ‘Describe a destination or environment where you stand perfectly content.’

It was ditched by The Common Application folks last year, purportedly as it failed to inspire strong personal statements.

Word on the street among admissions counselors and college application essay wonks like myself (and based on what I saw with my students) had been so it prompted dull and often sappy essays.

I believe this new Common Application prompt 6 gets the same prospective pitfalls.

As opposed to describing place, it asks about a ‘topic, idea or concept.’ As opposed to being ‘perfectly content’ there, it should cause you to ‘lose all track of time.’ Same a few ideas. Same pitfall.

People prefer to say, oh yay, a positive prompt like this Common Application prompt 6 because it generally does not directly ask the students to add some type of problem or ‘bad thing’.

But there’s a justification for soliciting dilemmas in essays. (Notice just about all the other prompts include some sort of problem, in the form of obstacles, stories, setback, challenge, failure, problem, question, etc.)

There’s good reason because of this: When students wrote about their blissful places, the essays were often terrible because they were boring.


It’s hard to write an essay in what you adore if nothing takes place. I love the library, or I love visiting my grandparents or I love hiking in the woods. Those are great things to love, however, if all you write about is simply how much you love them and exactly why, it’s likely that the essay isn’t all that compelling.

Just What makes essays interesting are stories. Something has to happen. And for something to take place, something has to go sideways a challenge.

If you knocked over a shelf of books onto the head librarian, or your grandparents home flooded within a hurricane or you came face-to-face with a mama bear on your own hike, in that case your essay could possibly be interesting.

Why? Because we instantly feel for you and desire to discover how you handled the situation and what happened. This is why real-life stories are so powerful as well as the most readily useful college admissions essays include them.

My guess is that Common Application prompt 6 will inspire a lot of dull essays for the same reason as the old ‘perfectly content’ one: It asks students to publish about something they love.

It’s going to be up to counselors, teachers and parents to greatly help students push themselves with this essay prompt to help make sure something happens, that it includes not merely reflection and thinking but an experience or moment.

It is a generalization, but i really believe the very students who will want to write about Common Application prompt 6 are the same ones that will need to be encouraged and coached to produce yes never to let it get too systematic or weighed down in esoteric or language that is technical theme.

These are often the same students (those who are enthusiastic about chemistry, gaming, engineering, technology, physics, computer science, etc.) who need that extra push to find methods to make their essay readable, personal and non-academic.

The magic bullet?

Find a juicy problem (a personal experience) that pertaining to whatever ‘topic, idea or concept’ you come up with!

As soon as you have a little story, you are on your method to an excellent essay.

Here’s a sample outline that is designed to help you get started while making sure to address the questions in the prompt. You can find many methods to approach your essay, so utilize this if it’s wise and feel free to go on it in any direction you want.

Here’s a Sample Outline for popular Application Essay Prompt 6

  1. Start with sharing moment, incident or experience that illustrates something about (or is related to, or an example of) the topic, idea or concept you are authoring. Take to to add some type of problem (an obstacle, challenge, blunder, setback, etc.) This is named an ‘anecdote.’ (1 to 2 paragraphs)
  2. Back story: Now provide some background or context for that moment, incident or experience and explain more about your topic, idea or concept. Include your main point: Why you adore it so much.
  3. Share more about your experience using this topic, idea or concept using other real-life examples that further support most of your point (Why you adore it plenty). If you included some sort of ‘problem’ related to your topic, notion of concept, explain the manner in which you handled it.
  4. Go onto share the steps you took to learn more about your topic, idea or concept. If you included a problem, this is where you can go fully into the step you took to cope with it and then share what you learned. Include the method that you thought about it, how you felt, who you worked with, etc.
  5. MOST ESSENTIAL: show (look back) on this experience related to your topic, idea or concept and describe what you learned not merely in regards to the topic, idea or concept but what you learned about yourself (the method that you learn, just what you value, etc.)
  6. Link back once again to the start of your essay and offer a status up-date on that problem or moment you described from the beginning of the essay. Then restate the main point that you learned about your topic,idea or concept and about YOURSELF. End with exactly how you expect you’ll apply everything you learned in your future dream and goals.

Please do not let all my warning scare you off this prompt if it speaks for your requirements.

More Brainstorming Tips for Common App Prompt 6

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