Last week I told you what the common app personal statement prompts were for 2014-15. For many of you, this meant you could now start working on your personal statement. But let me tell you a secret.
I start my students working on the common app personal statement in June before senior year. And I don’t give them the prompts. Not then. Not ever.
Why? I mean, how do you write an essay if you don’t even know what the essay prompt is?
The common app personal statement essay is used by colleges to see how well you write and to hopefully, learn a little bit more about who you are. As long as you satisfy that criteria, colleges really don’t care what you write about.
Don’t believe me? Look at prompt 1 of the personal statement.
“Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. “
Pretty broad as a topic isn’t it? Gives you a lot more options on what to write about than the prompt that asks you to write about a failure you had. Or any of the other specific prompts.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the specific prompts of the personal statement. But they restrict your creativity. They limit you in what you think you may want to write about.
Do yourself a favor and if you want to look at a prompt, look at prompt 1 with its opportunities for you to write what you want to write about.