Oct 03

2022-2023 Common App Essay Tips

2022-2023 Common App Essay Tips

There is never a bad time to start planning your college application essay! The 2022-2023 Common App essay prompts are now available if you want to apply to any of the more than 900 schools (including 54 overseas colleges) that accept the Common Application. In this blog, we’ll give you some background information on the Common App personal statement, discuss why it’s significant, provide some advice on how to choose the prompt that’s best for you, and go in-depth on how to write each one.

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The Common App Essay: What Is It?

A 650-word essay that is a component of the Common Application is known as the Common App Essay (or Personal Statement). If you’re using the Common App to apply to colleges, you must finish this essay.

Before you begin writing your personal statement, take these things into account:

  • In order for the admissions committee to learn more about you outside of your academics, test scores, and extracurricular activities, your personal statement is the perfect way to do it.
  • Pick just one or two qualities that set you apart from your peers since it is impossible to fully express your individuality in a single essay.
  • You do not need to have extraordinary experiences or stories. Pick something important to you, and explain in your essay why it matters so much to you.


How private should my Common App essay be?

The Common App essay should highlight a facet of your life that isn’t covered in the rest of your application because it is meant to be personal. You will lose a great chance to share more about yourself with the admissions committee if you merely write a different CV.

Schools can learn more about you as a student, leader, and friend from this essay. You can express yourself through the prompts in ways other than through your grades and exam results. Your aim is to make the reader learn more about your values, views, and experiences beyond the classroom, even if you choose to write about an academic subject. Your application should be unique and intriguing because you are conveying a story with it.

Why is the personal statement for the Common App so crucial?

Your application comes to life through your personal statement!

  • Admissions officers are interested in your areas of interest and who you will be on their school. The essays are the most effective technique to learn about you.
  • Up to 30% of your admissions decision may be based on your essays, a sizeable chunk that you can influence. 


What subject matter should I cover in my Common App essay?

Finding a way to describe yourself in the Common App essay in less than 650 words is the toughest obstacle. You only need to submit one Common App essay for all of your applications. Utilize the months leading up to the application deadline to write a perfect, thoughtful essay on a single subject.

You can choose any topic you feel best represents you from a list of writing prompts provided by the Common App. The prompts serve as useful launching pads.

The 2022–23 Common Application Essay Prompts

Visit the Common App website to view all of the 2022–2023 Common App Prompts.

Prompt 1: Some students feel that their application would be completed without a particular background, identity, interest, or talent since it is so significant to them. If this describes you, kindly share your experience.

What is your response to Common App Personal Essay Prompt 1?

This question ought to spark an in-depth conversation about your family history and upbringing.

  • Where did you grow up and where is your family from?
  • Were you raised in a culture that had a significant impact on your life and was meaningful to you?
  • What did you stand for, and what part did you play in the community?
  • Have any individuals, works of art, or philosophical ideas influenced the way you are?

Although these ideas might result in general solutions, in the end, you want to be able to concentrate on a focus that is specifically pertinent to you.

Start by reflecting about yourself.

It can be helpful to identify how to explain why changes occurred and how they affected your long-term objectives if you have recently doubted or changed your identity. Consider the scenario where you had a realization or event that altered your outlook and sense of who you are. What caused it, what thoughts and feelings did it birth, and were these thoughts upsetting or enlightening? It all depends on how significant you thought this move was to you.

Make a list of adjectives to define you.

Make a list of various words or values you would use to describe yourself if you were stuck, and then decide which ones could serve as the foundation for an essay about your identity. You might want your application to emphasize “compassion,” “humility,” or “cooperation,” for instance.

Tell a personal tale

Choose a cultural element or a tale from your upbringing that highlights your sense of identity. When discussing cooperation, for instance, tell a tale of how your family worked as a unit to accomplish a goal.

To sum up

You have the opportunity to discuss your hobbies and skills in response to this essay prompt. If you can directly connect this prompt to your passions and what makes you who you are as a person, it’s a great choice. However, you will also have the opportunity to share some of your interests and skills in your extracurricular activities, so it might even be a good idea to avoid repeating the topic of your extracurricular activities. It is advisable to experiment with original and interesting material across your application.

Finally, be aware that you and other writers with comparable backgrounds might discuss the same overarching concepts. You must explain your distinct upbringing and how you vary from your contemporaries if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Prompt 2: The knowledge we gain from challenges we face can be crucial to future success. Tell about a time when you had to overcome a difficulty, failure, or setback. How did it make you feel, and what did you take away from it?

How should you respond to Common App personal essay prompt number two?

Write about the difficulties you have encountered in your life in this essay. Don’t describe how you almost missed your exam but managed to secure the final seat on the bus and made it in time. The admissions committee cannot infer from that anecdote who you are, what you value, or the type of student you will be in college.

Think about the following:

  • Perhaps you underwent a significant cultural shock when your family relocated to a different city or country.
  • Was it difficult to fit in with the group? Did you have trouble making friends?
  • Perhaps you and some family or friends went through a terrible tragedy?
  • Was it overcoming a crisis in one’s physical or mental health?

Your difficulties can and ought to be distinctive in and of themselves.

Don’t worry about failing.

If you initially encountered the difficulty and reacted or answered poorly, don’t be ashamed to admit it. Admitting your mistakes and growing from them demonstrates enormous maturity and development. Few people have the maturity to demonstrate their resilience by addressing their failures or by acknowledging that they still struggle with a challenge. Anyone can claim to be resilient and capable of overcoming anything.

Display your learning

Describe how you overcame the challenge. What caused you to change into a person who can overcome this obstacle? Not showing that you overcame a hurdle is the goal. Describe what you took away from it and how you applied it to your future. Will you respond differently, adopt a new perspective, or exhibit less fear of seeking assistance if faced with a situation similar to it again in the future?

To sum up

You are not required to select a problem that is solely your own. It can be one that has an impact on your family, friends, instructors, neighborhood, nation, or even the world. Talk about how you all worked together to solve the issue, how you helped one another, and how everyone came out of it stronger.

Prompt 3: Think back to a period when you questioned or opposed a principle. What made you think that? What happened as a result?

How should you respond to Common App Personal Essay Question 3?

This essay examines a period when you defied authority to defend what you thought was right. Perhaps you rebelled against something that was ingrained in you from a young age? Or spoke up against a troubling injustice you observed in society?

You are encouraged to court controversy by the prompt, which you can do in relation to religion, culture, or politics.

For example, suppose you made the decision to abandon your current religion and try something different.

  • Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that challenged your fundamental beliefs?
  • Did you converse with someone who practiced a different faith who altered your perspective on your own?

Admissions representatives want to know how you came to your conclusions about religion.

What would you do if you were in an unclear situation and had to come up with your own solutions? is what this prompt asks. Think about the following inquiries:

  • How did you handle the uncertainty?
  • Who did you ask for advice?
  • Are you still seeking solutions?

Additionally, it will demonstrate to admissions personnel that you possess the critical thinking skills and open-mindedness that universities are looking for nowadays.

To sum up

Don’t be hesitant to discuss topics that may be highly sensitive and divisive. Even if they don’t agree with the concepts presented in the essay, admissions authorities will nonetheless value well-written essays.


Prompt 4: Consider anything someone has done for you that has made you genuinely happy or grateful.  What impact or inspiration has this appreciation had on you?

How should you respond to Common App Personal Essay Question 4?

This prompt was added to the Common App for the 2021–2022 admissions season. Given the recent events, you likely had time to reflect on the importance of thankfulness and how tiny or not-so-small deeds of kindness gave you the chance to view the world from a different angle.

Consider a time when you were taken aback by someone else’s generosity or compassion.

  • Was it the act itself that made you grateful and glad, or was it the deed plus this element of surprise?
  • What did this act of compassion teach you about the value of your family, your friends, your community, or the goodness of strangers?
  • How has it changed your perspective, behavior, or long-term objectives?

To sum up

This topic asks you to relate a personal experience, and it asks you to create a tale that describes how the surprise led to a realization or change in your life. The goal is to discuss what you’ve discovered about others, yourself, your community, or humanity, not to demonstrate feelings of joy or gratitude.

The admissions committee is interested in your response and how you plan to apply what you have learned to improve the school community as a whole.


Prompt 5: Discuss a success, occurrence, or epiphany that led to a period of personal development and a fresh perspective on yourself or others.

How should you respond to Common App personal essay prompt number five?

This exercise invites you to reflect on the main lessons you learned from a particular experience. Look past the obvious lessons, and think about the insights and personal development that experience has led to.

Think of a time you struggled to achieve something or how you changed as a result of a particular circumstance, such as your family’s relocation. It might be a realization, like realizing that flying in airplanes isn’t as terrifying as it first appears to be. You have complete freedom to discuss anything with this open-ended prompt. While some of your accomplishments may be related to your extracurricular activities, try to avoid mentioning things that have already been covered in other sections of your application.

The story is important for this prompt. The more important thing is what you took away from the narrative and how you’re using it. Give yourself time to consider why particular events had such an influence on you and to explain any realizations you had. Never assert that you know the solution to a global issue or that you have all the solutions. Life is lived in the grey zones, not in black and white, thus those perspectives are unrealistic.

To sum up

Your narrative should be complex, and your ending shouldn’t be wrapped up neatly. Instead, state unequivocally that you still have more to discover and learn. Admissions committee members want to know how you intend to use your time at university to advance yourself. Even when discussing accomplishments, maintain a humble demeanor.


Prompt 6: Describe a subject, notion, or idea that you find so fascinating that you lose all sense of time. Why does it hold your attention? What or who do you go to for more information?

How should you respond to Common App Personal Essay Question 6?

What motivates, energizes, or otherwise ticks you off? Pick a topic that truly inspires you so that you may put your heart and soul into your response.

  • An ideological topic.
  • Academic subject
  • A passion for a specific figure, group, or religion.
  • A specific creative subject that interests you, such as a particular author, filmmaker, book, film, television show, etc.

Don’t use this as a chance to look smart by picking an academic subject you don’t find interesting or to flaunt your knowledge in a field of study. Not what academic subjects most interest you, but who you are is what the Common App essay is all about.

Be excited about the subject at hand.

Make sure you truly understand and are passionate about the subject if you choose to write about an academic subject. Give us an idea of what you did to deepen your grasp of quantum physics over your three years of study, including what you did at home, at school, and in your dreams. Describe how your work on the topic helped you achieve personal growth and other goals. Instead of making your enthusiasm the center of the conversation, use it as a vehicle.

To sum up

Again, the key is to personalize your conversation. The admissions committee will not be interested in your essay if it could be written about any person with the same interest in a subject. Write as much as you can about your distinct experiences, including their effects on you and your specific future aspirations, in specific scenarios.

Prompt 7: Share an essay on any subject you choose. You are free to use a piece you’ve already written, one that responds to another challenge, or one that you created yourself.

How should you respond to question 7 of the Common App personal essay?

This is your chance to write about anything you like! Even though the prompt doesn’t explicitly state it, admissions officers nonetheless want you to concentrate on a few particular events or concepts from your life that are related to your topic so that your essay isn’t too general and meaningless. Concentrate on your personal development and how your learnings will affect you going forward.

Make use of your personal voice.

Students from diverse backgrounds have effectively explored this challenge, but they all had one thing in common: they used their distinctive personal voices.

This prompt may suit you if you have a special tale that doesn’t fit into the previous six. This article is not about your level of knowledge. What matters is how much you’ve learned and how much you still need to learn. Admissions officers are interested in a candidate who is sincere and honest and is willing to take on new challenges because colleges are places where young adults develop and grow.

Final Thoughts

The only section of the application where your distinctive voice is heard is the personal statement. While grades and prizes increase your application’s quantitative weight, your essay and other personally relevant materials, such as teacher references, increase its qualitative weighting, which is crucial for admissions choices.


If you need help writing your Common App Essay, Tokyo Academics can help! Book your FREE consultation now.

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