Popular Application Essay Topics | Apply | The Princeton Review

We encourage applicants to develop a mindset that they are creating a personal statement rather than an essay to the admissions committees. This should set a tone of sharing what you consider to be the most important interests you have, experiences that influence your interests or academic interests and goals for college. You do not want to write what amounts to a summary of your activities and accomplishments which you will list in other parts of the application. The best starting point to the personal statement is to decide what key personal features or characteristics you want a group of strangers to know about you. Then choose an event, a circumstance, or an activity that enables you to develop these features into a coherent story. Be relaxed, be honest, and be energetic in your writing.

Many students trip over common obstacles in their college application essays
Photo provided by Flickr

application essays are the most important “soft” factors, or non-quantitative elements, that colleges consider when making admission decisions, right behind “hard” factors, or quantitative components, like grades, curriculum, and test scores. Essays are often more important than recommendations, extracurricular activities, and other qualitative application elements. While it’s important to put considerable effort into all college application components, essays are often the finishing touch and should be treated with great care and consideration.

Great Common Application Essays - College Confidential

These college essays are from students who got accepted at Common Application
Photo provided by Flickr

College Essay Advisors Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, walks you through everything you need to know about the first prompt for the 2016-2017 Common Application. Learn what this prompt is really asking, and discover some key tricks and strategies for picking the perfect topic. Writing about your background, identity, interests, or talents doesn't have to be intimidating! For more tips and advice on the Common App essays:

- Check out our guide to all the 2016-2017 prompts:
- Watch our tutorial on writing a Common App Personal Statement:
- Get more info or talk to a personal advisor at
- Stay tuned for more information on the other prompts, coming soon!