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Common Application Essay Prompts 2010 Calendar

As of today, August 1st, the 2017-2018 Common Application is open! This means that if you are planning to apply to Olin College this year, you will now be able to start your application, add Olin as one of your prospective colleges, and check out Olin’s supplemental questions and essay prompts on the Common Application website.

You have plenty of time (5 whole months!) between now and our application deadline on January 1st to complete and submit your application to Olin. But just in case you’d like to start brainstorming and playing with some ideas for those essay questions, we thought we’d share the prompts with you now!

Essay Prompt #1 (250-500 words): Olin is a community striving to improve the world for everyone or anyone through engineering. What change do you hope to see or be a part of? Why is this change important to you?

Essay Prompt #2 (250-500 words): We would like you to choose one of the following prompts:

  • Tell us a story about a time when you made someone happy. What effect did the experience have on you?
  •  When, where or with whom are you your most authentic self? What makes you feel most like you?
  • Think about things that excite or engage you (for example, people, ideas, projects, books, causes, innovations). Keeping that in mind, tell us about how you would spend a “perfect day.” What makes that perfect day a day well spent?

In the coming months, we’ll be posting more blogs with application advice, including advice about how to approach writing your essays. In the meantime, if you have any questions about applying to Olin, please don’t hesitate to direct them to our office at 

With the start of a new year comes the announcement of the Common Application essay questions that the Class of 2019 (current juniors) will use as they apply to college this fall.

The Common App is used by 700 colleges across the nation. It’s really likely that your high school junior will use it to apply to some colleges. The application goes “live” every year on August 1st. If you are the parent of a rising senior, you may be surprised to realize how soon the application season will start!

Each year the Common App reviews the effectiveness of last year’s prompts with admissions officers, applicants, parents, and counselors. The essay questions for 2018/19 (the class of 2019) are the same as they were last year. You will find the list below.

If your student will complete a Common Application in the fall, you might not know that your student can get a jump start filling it out. Most of the information your student completes on the application will “roll over” at the August 1st date. Only a few things do not roll over.

Why is this jump start important? We see it every year. New seniors tackling a new year of school and activities (and just being seniors!) now have the whole college application process on top of that. Starting over the summer is such a popular idea that we created a College Application Workshop to help—especially with the essay question struggles (insert eye roll). LOL!

In the meantime, students can take a moment to read these. Perhaps they can start a notebook to document the thoughts about what essay prompt speaks to them. All early thinking is a great way to be prepared.

2018-2019 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 obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  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, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.