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2019-2020 College Application Essay Questions


Start Working on College Essays

Now is the time for rising seniors to start working on college admissions essays!

While most applications won’t open for the 2019-2020 season until August 1, the essay prompts for this year are available. Students can (and should) write the required essays for the Common App, Coalition Application, or Apply Texas app now.

The only information some applicants may lack is access to updated supplemental questions. Some schools, like Wake Forest, have updated their supplement information on their admissions website, but many other universities won’t release these additional questions until August.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

You will see the questions asked on different application and by different schools seem to overlap. It is perfectly acceptable (even expected) that students will send the same essay to multiple schools. (Think about what having one application that can be sent to multiple colleges means!)

So conserve your efforts and work smarter, not harder. Find the topic(s) that you can use at all or almost all the schools on your list and write as few essays as possible.

College Application Essay Questions

Here are the college application essay prompts for 2019-2020:

Common App

The 2019 – 2020 Common App questions will remain the same. (The most popular question is #7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice.)

The Common App asks students to submit one long essay, no more than 650 words. Some Common App schools will require additional supplemental writing.

 

Select one topic:

  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. 

Coalition Application

Write on one of the following prompts. Recommended length 550 words, but students should check the requirements for each school.

  1. Tell a story from your life, describing and experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  2. Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  3. Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  4. What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  5. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Apply Texas Application

Texas A&M University

Required: Topic A:

Tell us your story.  What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

A&M states that the average length of most essays is a page and a half (think 500-600 words.) A&M’s admission website states, “Additional essay will not be reviewed.

Engineering Short Answer:Describe your academic and career goals in the broad field of engineering. What and/or who has influenced you either insider or outside the classroom that contributed to these goals?

University of Texas at Austin

Required: Topic A:

Tell us your story.  What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

“Please keep your essay between 500 – 700 words.”

Required: Three Short Answer Responses

In addition to Topic A, applicants must submit three short answer responses (answers are limited to 40 lines, approximately 250 – 300 words each.)

  1. Why are you interested in the major you indicates as your first-choice major?
  2. Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways. Please share how you have demonstrated leadership in either your school, job, community, and/or within your family responsibilities.
  3. Please share how you believe your experiences, perspectives, and/or talents have shaped your ability to contribute to and enrich the learning environment at UT Austin, both in and out of the classroom.

Optional Short Answer:Please share background on events or special circumstances that may have impacted your high school academic performance.

UT Additional Materials:  Certain majors will require additional material. Please check your specific major for details. The following majors require additional essays / short answers: art and art history, nursing, architecture, social work.

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