Writing Prompts

Common App Personal Essay - Prompt 1 (2016-17): 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. Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Personal Essay - Prompt 2 (2016-17): The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Personal Essay - Prompt 3 (2016-17): Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Personal Essay - Prompt 4 (2016-17): 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. Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Personal Essay - Prompt 5 (2016-17): Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Supplemental Essay (2016-17) - Marist College: Why do you think Marist College is a good match for you? Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Supplemental Essay (2016-17) - Vassar College: How did you learn about Vassar and what aspect of our college do you find appealing? (350 words maximum) Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Supplemental Essay (2016-17) - University of Pennsylvania: How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (400-650 words) Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Transfer Essay (2016-17): Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (250-650 words) Sign In to Start Writing

Common App Transfer Essay (2016-17): Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (250-650 words) Sign In to Start Writing

University of California Essay - Freshman Prompt 1: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how has your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. Sign In to Start Writing

University of California Essay Example - Freshman Prompt 2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are? Sign In to Start Writing

University of California Essay Transfer Prompt: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field - such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities - and what you have gained from your involvement. Sign In to Start Writing

Of all the subjects you currently study, which one do you think is the most important for your future? Write an essay in which you convince a teacher that the subject you have chosen is, in fact, the most important. Sign In to Start Writing

Text-messaging has become a constant part of modern life. However, some experts believe that text-messaging has a negative impact on lives when people spend too much time text-messaging and not enough time having face-to-face interactions. Write an essay directed at an audience of your peers to explain whether you agree or disagree with this observation. Sign In to Start Writing

Some people decide not to finish high school or college in order to pursue a job or a career. Write an essay directed at a younger person in which you argue whether or not this is a good idea. Sign In to Start Writing

The topic of zoos for animals is very controversial. Some people believe that all zoos should be abolished because they imprison animals. Others argue that zoos are positive because they raise awareness about endangered animals and provide opportunities for people to appreciate creatures they otherwise wouldn't encounter. Write an essay in which you argue for or against zoos. Use specific details and evidence to support your viewpoint. Sign In to Start Writing

Extreme sports such as snowboard jumping, base-jumping and rock climbing are inherently dangerous. Do you think it should be illegal for people under the age of 18 to participate in these activities? Argue your viewpoint and use specific evidence to support your claims. Sign In to Start Writing

Do you think graffiti or street painters such as Bansky can be considered true artists? Why or why not? Use specific evidence to support your claims. Sign In to Start Writing

Should colleges and universities be completely free to attend? Take a strong viewpoint to argue your claims. Sign In to Start Writing

Video games can be very educational and have a valuable, positive impact on the lives of young people. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Share your position in a persuasive essay. Sign In to Start Writing

Do you believe that social media platforms such as Facebook will exist forever? State your views and share evidence for your opinion. Sign In to Start Writing

Urban gardens can be found growing on the tops of buildings, even in big cities. Do you think that all buildings should allow their rooftops to be transformed into gardens that grow food for city residents? Why or why not? Sign In to Start Writing

Explain a career goal you have and the steps you plan to take to achieve it. Be sure to include specific steps you must take. Sign In to Start Writing

Do you think the internet has dramatically changed the way students work? Explain the impact of the internet on the academic world for students. Sign In to Start Writing

We are constantly learning new things. Choose something specific you have learned about and how it will impact your life. Sign In to Start Writing

Everyone has a person, a place or a thing that is extremely important to him/her. Choose one and explain why it is important for you and your life. Sign In to Start Writing

If you discovered a time machine and could time travel to any year in the past, which year would you choose and why? Explain in detail why you chose what you did.Sign In to Start Writing

Everyone has responsibilities to tend to in life. What is one of your main responsibilities and why do you take it on? Explain your answer using specific details.Sign In to Start Writing

Every nation has problems. Choose a specific problem that faces your country and devise some possible solutions to that problem. Sign In to Start Writing

Philosophers and poets throughout the ages have written books about the meaning of life. What is your personal philosophy of life's true meaning? Explain your philosophy on life and how it affects your choices. Sign In to Start Writing

Many problems face the environment of Earth. From pollution of the oceans to excessive garbage, there are no shortage of environmental threats. Choose one particular environmental problem and explain some possible solutions to the problem you chose. Sign In to Start Writing

A famous idiom states that "every cloud has a silver lining." It is generally interpreted to mean that within every bad experience, there is a hidden gift. Explain what this statement means to you and describe some specific examples of how it can apply to life. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe an experience in which you overcame an obstacle to experience success. This may be something you achieved that at one point seemed impossible. Tell the story in a way that helps the reader understand why this experience had an impact on your life. Sign In to Start Writing

Think of a specific person who has had a positive impact on your life. Narrate the details of the way you met or learned about this person. Your narrative should also show readers why this person is important and memorable in your life by sharing specific details. Keep in mind this may be a person you admire or a public figure who has influenced you. Sign In to Start Writing

Tell the story of a time in your life during which you felt inspired to take action. This could be your experience of being inspired to learn a new skill or being inspired to speak up against prejudice or injustice. Your narrative should show the reader the reasons why you felt inspired as well as describe the actions you took. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe one specific goal you have for your future and the reasons why you aim to achieve it. Narrate your plans to take action towards your goal, and be specific in sharing the sequence of actions you intend to take. Sign In to Start Writing

Think of a place you have been that you consider to be very beautiful or inspiring. Describe your observations of this place in great detail, and narrate the experience of witnessing this place. Use sensory details to support your story and show the reader why this place had such an impact on your memory. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe, in detail, a time you were treated in an unfair way. Narrate the experience and be sure to include your reaction and the overall impact it had on your life. Sign In to Start Writing

Recall a time when you learned something new. Describe what you learned and the process you went through to learn it. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe an event you experienced in your life that you once thought was negative but turned out to have a "silver lining." Explain the event and the way, over time, you realized there was something good in it after all. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe an experience you've had in nature and whether or not it changed your outlook on life. Describe the experience in detail and be sure to include sensory details to help the reader imagine the experience. Sign In to Start Writing

Describe a time you experienced the power of friendship. Narrate the details of the experience and the impact it had on your life. Sign In to Start Writing

Imagine your town recently won one million dollars to make things better in your community. There are surely many things that can be improved, but you can only pick one thing to do.
Write an essay in which you describe what one thing your town should improve. Be sure give examples of how spending money on this one thing can improve your community. Sign In to Start Writing

Many people disagree seriously about video games. Some people believe that video games are dangerous, and teach kids to be violent or solve problems in bad ways. They believe that video games waste time for young people. Others believe that video games are great ways for children to learn different skills and do things that they really enjoy.
Write an essay in which you explain whether or not children should play video games. Be sure to defend your argument with examples of why video games are positive or negative. Sign In to Start Writing

Many states have different laws about how old children should be before they can apply to get their driver's license. Some people think that children should get their license as young as age fourteen. Other people think that children should wait until they are eighteen to get their license.
Write an essay in which you argue what age children should get their license, and describe the effects that this will have on education, transportation, and daily life. Sign In to Start Writing

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Do you want a pet that can fetch and hike and bark? Or do you want a pet that likes to chase string and purr? People disagree constantly on what makes the better pet: cats or dogs.
Write an essay in which you argue about which makes a better pet: cats or dogs. Be sure to support your opinion with examples. Sign In to Start Writing

Recently, many parents have decided to keep their children from playing football. Many experts have said that football is dangerous for children, because there is the potential to get seriously hurt. While some parents say that their children should not play football, other parents say it is perfectly alright for children to play the sport.
Write an essay in which you argue whether or not parents should let their children play football. Be sure to support your opinion with examples. Sign In to Start Writing

Lunchtime is many students' favorite time of the day. It is a time when children come together to talk, eat, and/or have a break from the work that they do all day long. There are many sights, sounds, and smells that can happen during lunchtime.
You are going to brainstorm about the things that happen during lunch for your character - from the moment the character walks to get lunch until the moment he or she leaves. Think about what the character sees, hears, and smells.
Finally, you are going to write a narrative, describing everything that happens during lunchtime for your character. Sign In to Start Writing

Many people have different dreams about the future. When they think of the future, they see hoverboards or 3D televisions or travel between different planets. Some people see all of those things! Without a doubt, the world will be a very different place twenty five years from now.
Brainstorm about what your day will look like twenty five years from now. Think about what you will do during one day, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep.
Then, write a narrative, describing everything that happens to you on a specific day twenty five years in the future. Sign In to Start Writing

Different events in history have different effects on the people who live through them. Depending on who the person is, events can deeply change the course of their lives.
On April 19, 1775, the Revolutionary War began with the "shot heard round the world" at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. These were the first battles of the Revolutionary War, when colonists fought against the British colonizers. With these battles, the Revolutionary War began, which would eventually lead to the start of the United States of America.
For your essay, you will choose to write from the point-of-view of one of two characters. The first character is a colonist, who is angry at the British. The second character is a person who supports the British king, and wants the colonies to stay a part of Britain.
Pick one of the characters and then write an essay describing how the events of the Battles of Lexington and Concord affected your character. Sign In to Start Writing

A hero is a person that you look up to. A hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts, or for special qualities that make him or her a good role model.
Every person has heroes. Who that hero may be depends on the person themselves.
For your essay, you will imagine getting to meet your hero in person. Describe what you will do with your hero. Be sure to tell the special features that make your hero so special. Sign In to Start Writing

Every person needs help at one point during his or her life. As human beings, we all help each other and receive help from others. Sometimes, the help that we receive can change the course of our lives.
Think about a time when you received help from another person that changed your life. Write an essay describing a moment in time that your life was changed by receiving help. Who was the person who helped? How did they help you? How did this change your life? Sign In to Start Writing

All animals have adaptations that help them to survive. These adaptations have occurred over years and years of evolution and let animals thrive in different environments. The tundra is a cold, harsh climate to live in. Describe an animal that is adapted to survive in the tundra. Be sure to give examples describing what makes the animal able to live in this environment. Sign In to Start Writing

An invention is something that can change the world. There have been millions of inventions throughout time that have changed the ways we live our lives. Describe an invention that has changed the way human beings live today. Be sure to give examples describing how this invention has changed the world. Sign In to Start Writing

As children grow older, they have to get jobs and enter the workforce. However, the workforce is always changing, and people may need to be able to work in many different kinds of jobs. Write an essay describing the skills that students should have to be able to get a job when they grow up. Sign In to Start Writing

Sometimes, a single event can change the entire course of history. One person or group of people can alter the way the entire world works. Write an essay describing one event that has changed the way the world works. Be sure to explain how the world would be different if this event did not happen.Sign In to Start Writing

Human beings all have five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Write an essay in which you explain the ways that sense affect daily life. Be sure to explain how your life would be affected if you did not have one of those sense.Sign In to Start Writing