Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills

2015-2016 Common Application Essay Prompts


2015-2016 Common Application Essay PromptsThe news is in!

The Common Application just announced The Common Application essay prompts for 2015-2016.

  • There are five questions to choose from.
  • The maximum essay length is 650 words.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing insights, question by question, to help students understand, think about, and write outstanding college application essays.  I have lots of ideas to pass along.  In the meantime —

Here are the 2015-2016 Common Application Essay Prompts:

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 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?

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

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 or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.


Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon lectures extensively on essay writing. Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.


Author: Sharon Epstein

College consultant, teaching students how to write memorable college application essays, grad school and prep school essays, and succeed at job and college interviews.

7 thoughts on “2015-2016 Common Application Essay Prompts

  1. Thanks, I was making copies at Staples when this come through


  2. Pingback: 2015 Common Application – Your Essay May Be Optional! | Applying To College

  3. Pingback: How to Write 2015 Common App Essay #1: Background, Identity, Interest or Talent | Applying To College

  4. Pingback: How to Write 2015 Common App Essay #2: Failure | Applying To College

  5. Pingback: How to Write 2015 Common App Essay #3: Reflect on a Time When You Challenged a Belief or Idea | Applying To College

  6. Pingback: How to Write 2015 Common App Essay #4: Problem You’ve Solved or Would Like to Solve | Applying To College

  7. Pingback: How to Write 2015 Common Application Essay #5: Transition from Childhood to Adulthood | Applying To College

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