For the 2021/2022 school year, the prompts pretty much remain the same with the exception of one. The past couple of years, The Common Application prompt has asked students to write about a problem that they solved. Apparently, this prompt was seldom used. I do like the new prompt as it allows students to reflect on happiness and gratitude. The new prompt is as follows: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? According to The Common Application, this prompt is inspired by scientific research on gratitude and kindness, specifically the benefits of writing about the positive influence of other people in our lives (and we know that this past year the kindness of others has been paramount in our lives). Knowing that COVID remains in our lives this year and for the unforeseeable future, The Common Application has determined that it will also retain the optional COVID-19 question within the Additional Information section.
The prompts for the 2021/2022 school year are:
- 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.
- 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?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? *
- Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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?
- 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.
* The new Prompt
Now is probably not the time to write this new prompt. The time to write might be after school is out when there is more think time. Right now, the focus should be on completing studies, focusing on upcoming external exams (AP, IB) and long term projects. However, there may be a fun way to assist with working on personal writing and essays, The Common Place Book.
The Common Place Book is a notebook filled with a variety of things: from what happens to you in everyday life, to issues about which you feel strongly. It can contain casual musings, observations, a place for a list of songs or their lyrics, jokes or anything that makes you laugh, poems or anything that strikes you. The possibilities are endless. There are no limits: you can doodle, make personal statements, draw pictures even if you are not an artist, in and out of class comments and thoughts. No one looks at this but yourself. The only winner is you.