College Essays

College Essays

2023-24 Supplemental Essay Guide

What do the supplemental essay prompts really mean, and how should you approach them? College Essay Advisor's experts are here to break them all down.

External LinkCEA Essay Guide

External LinkCEA Common App Essay Prompts

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  • Why did you choose us?
  • What are your career goals & how can we meet them?
  • How would you describe yourself as a human being?
  • Why do you think you would be a good fit at our school?
  • What person in your life has had the most impact on you?
  • If you can spend a day with someone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
  • What is the best advice you have ever received and why?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Create your own questions and answer it.
  • What captivates you?
  • What is a book you love?

The challenge essay tips

  • Challenge is not always a crisis
  • Challenges can be too personal
  • Do not overwrite
  • Do not skimp on resolution and reflection--most important
  • Avoid “My challenge is writing this essay”

Sell yourself

  • What do you bring to the college?
  • What do you value?
  • How do you perceive the world?
  • What’s your role in the world?
  • What’s the nature of your interactions with the world?

Write about something important to you or that makes you unique

  • An experience; life-changing event; book; a person; etc.

Additional Tips

  • Answer the question & answer honestly.
  • Watch the humor & content. Your humor may not match the readers.
  • Show to an English teacher you like.
  • Write it yourself, not with someone else’s ‘significant editing’.
  • Use the essay for multiple schools/scholarships. Be sure to make the necessary subtle changes.
  • Don’t repeat yourself. List of accomplishments & achievements will already be on the admission application.
  • Write only on weekends. You have enough on your plates academically.
  • Don’t exceed the word limit - 302 words for a 300 word essay is not okay.
  • Write about YOU, not the influence or the life-changing event.


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