How to Build an Impactful Common Application Essay?

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How to Build an Impactful Common Application Essay

One of the most important documents for your application process to a university is the common application essay. This essay is given a lot of weight by university officials because it allows them to understand your motivation, ambition, achievements and your personality. To understand how you can create a powerful and impactful common application essay, we bring you some simple and effective tricks to use as guidelines while navigating the tricky waters of college essay writing from our Leverage Edu Overseas Expert- Tushita Jolly. 

Also Read: How to Write a Motivation Letter?

What is a Common Application Essay?

The Common Application Essay (also known as the Common App) is a college admissions application that applicants can use to apply to over 900 member schools and universities in the United States, Canada, Japan and other European countries. The Common App is crucial because it is seen by the majority of universities you apply to. It’s also your longest essay, giving you more room to tell a story and express your personality, feelings, ambitions and perspective. Every year, more than 1 million students use the Common App online college application platform to apply to more than 900 Common App member universities across the world.

Why is a Common Application Essay Important?

University admission committees consider a number of things during the application process- grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities with the expectation that each slot in a university’s class may be filled by individuals with excellent qualifications in those areas. Admission committees can learn the most about a candidate through the common application essay. The common application essay is just one component of the portfolio of essays that you need to send to colleges.

While grades, test scores, and courseload provide a quantitative picture of you as a student, the common application essay provides institutions with a unique look into your personality and individuality. There are no restrictions on the number of words you can use. We recommend keeping the extended essay at 650 words for the first essay (where you choose one of the seven prompts).

Related Read: Everything About Character Certificate 

Prompts for Common App for 2022-2023

The following are the common application essay prompts for students applying abroad:

1. Some students believe their application would be incomplete if they did not have a significant background, identity, interest, or talent. If this describes you, please share your experience.
2.. The lessons we learn from our setbacks might be crucial to our long-term success. Recount a period when you were confronted with a problem, a setback, or a failure. What effect did it have on you, and what did you learn from it?
3. Think about a time when you challenged or questioned a belief or idea. What made you think that way? What was the end result?

4. Give an example of a problem you’ve solved or one you’d like to tackle. It may be an intellectual challenge, a research question, or an ethical dilemma – anything that is personally significant, regardless of magnitude. Explain why it’s important to you and what measures you’ve taken (or plan to take) to find a solution.
5. Discuss a personal achievement, incident, or insight that prompted personal growth and new knowledge of yourself or others.
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept that fascinates you to the point that you lose track of time. Why are you so captivated by it? When you want to learn more, who or what do you go to?
7. Share an essay on any subject you want. It can be one that you’ve already written, one that responds to a different challenge, or one that you’ve created yourself.

Also Read: List of Hobbies and Interest for Students and Professionals 

How is a Common App different from a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

Let’s look at how common application essays and statements of purpose are different from one another!

Statement Of Purpose (SOP)

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a paragraphed version of a CV. You should begin with an introduction that explains why you are interested in your chosen major, then proceed to a few paragraphs that detail your relevant academic courses, extracurricular activities, and work history, before concluding with a description of your future goals and how the school’s programme can assist you in achieving them. Each of these topics can have its own paragraph, or they can be mixed in some cases. An SOP is typically 5-7 paragraphs long and 500-800 words long. It’s very simple; you don’t need to be overly artistic or innovative in your writing style, but it’s a good idea to put some effort into making sure it sounds intriguing, has a decent introduction/conclusion, and is error-free and properly formatted.

Common Application Essay (Common App)

A common application essay, in contrast to an SOP, is more of a creative writing assignment and a chance to show off what makes you stand out. It should be a reflection of your distinct voice, experiences, and personality. It should catch the reader’s curiosity and present a compelling story. Given that every student writing a personal statement will want to make it as unique and special as possible, it’s crucial to stay away from going overboard or risk sounding too boastful. You’ll need to spend some time thinking about what makes you unique and how to effectively convey that in a written essay.

Related Read: Medium of Instruction Certificate 

How to Make Your Common Application Essay Stand Out?

Here are some professional tips to make your common application essay stand out-

  1. Think small: Too many students feel obligated to try to fit their entire life narrative into 650 words while writing the common application essay. Almost often, it’s preferable to start small. Find a narrative or an incident from your life that meant a lot to you and write a compelling common application essay on it.
  2. Write first, then edit later: We are often our own biggest critics when it comes to writing. Many students think and hope that the first time their fingers strike the keys, they will generate pure, unrestricted brilliance, but this is usually never the case with good essay writing. Allow your imagination to warm up and stream onto the page before editing yourself.
  3. Kill those clichés: A common application essay should not beat around the bush; clichés irritate experts to no end. It is important to not deviate from the point or talk about your journey. Keeping the essay personal is the best way to stand out.
  4. Brand yourself: A reader should be able to summarise your topic in a single line in order for your article to be truly effective. This self-branding is accomplished by picking a unique topic (or a unique spin on a common issue) and writing about it in enough depth to imprint an image of yourself in the reader’s mind.
  5. Detailed: When it comes to presenting their own tales, many students have a tendency to be generic. The total of the small details is frequently what makes an essay noteworthy. You are much more likely to leave an impression in your reader’s memory if you can paint a clear image for them by offering specifics.

Must Read: What is an Academic Transcript?

Universities That Do Not Require A Common Application Essay

The common application essay is only required by a small number of Common App colleges. However, some universities have their own writing supplement, which is listed on the Common App under that school’s name and labelled Writing Supplement. Here are a few well-known Common App colleges that don’t require a common application essay:

Tips for the Common Application Essay

Writing a Common Application Essay might require you to prepare much in advance before you start with the first draft. Here are some useful tips for the Common Application Essay that will help you write the perfect one-

  • Choose topics wisely– You must make an informed decision about the topic you choose to write for your Common Application Essay. While a rare topic sounds like treasure untapped, you must logically go for the topic that you relate to and have knowledge about. 
  • Word Limit– The word limit for a Common App Essay is 250-650 words. You must keep your word limit within that limit as anything too long will be boring and too short will sound incomplete. In short, use your space wisely. 
  • Honest and True– You should understand that an essay that is perfectly written doesn’t always win an admission. It is honesty and authenticity that sells more than any other idea.
  • Proofread– Proofreading and asking your folks to read it will give you the chance of improvement on the essay if any. It will also give you the time to avoid silly grammatical and writing mistakes.
  • Examples– You should read Common Application Essays examples and those of past applicants to understand what you must include and avoid in your essay. 

Build an Impactful Common Application Essay with Leverage Edu

When you have big dreams and the right guidance, the world is your oyster. Leverage Edu began with a mission to build a global space for opportunities where no boundaries of a country confine a student’s dream. At Leverage Edu, we understand the value of studying abroad which is why we provide a range of services to make this journey seamless and a great success. Here is how we can help you reach your study abroad dream-  

  • Professional assistance with Common Application Essay, SOP and LOR.
  • Psychometric tests to evaluate cognitive and reasoning skills.
  • AI-Course Finder to match you to the best course, college & country.
  • 2500+ Mentors help you throughout the application process.
  • Prepare for study abroad exams with experts to double your chances of selection with Leverage Live.
  • Value-added services such as visa assistance, student loan, forex, and student accommodation.

Must Read: What is Evidence of Financial Support?


How long can a Common Application essay be?

The maximum word limit of a Common Application essay is 650 words. 

How many essay prompts are given?

The Common Application gives approximately 7 essay prompts for the applicants to write an essay.

How many essays to write for Common App?

Only one essay plus supplements are required for Common App.

That is all about the common application essay! We hope the information provided will help you while writing your application. For any kind of assistance, feel free to reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu! Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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