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Students with excellent scores often face rejection from colleges because of a poor personal statement. Writing a winning common app essay is an essential part of your college applications. What is a common app essay? What does it entail? And how to write a great common app essay? We’re going to answer all your questions.

common app essay

Lakhs of high school students use the Common App (What is Common App) every year to apply for colleges in the USA. On the common app, you can apply to multiple colleges by entering your information just once–including your personal statement. This statement, also known as the common app essay, is used by colleges to know you beyond academics and is therefore, an important part of your application.


1.  What is the common app essay?
2.  What makes a great common app essay?

What is the common app essay?

The common app essay is the personal statement that you submit on the online portal when applying to colleges. It is a space that is used for telling your story and outlining your personality in a 250-650 words essay. You could choose from one of the seven essay prompts and describe yourself with your interests, experiences, passions and strengths as per the prompt. The common app essay is to be submitted to all the colleges that ask for it. Some colleges may also require you to submit supplemental essays.

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The common app essay is used to describe aspects of your identity that are not reflected in other parts of your application. The seven common app essay topics are different and you can simply pick a topic that strengthens your application.

What makes a great common app essay?

The importance of the common app essay in your application cannot be underestimated. To write an amazing essay, take note of the following-

What makes a great common app essay

Picking the best essay topic

The common app offers seven essay prompts and one of them is going to work better for you than the others. Picking a common app essay topic can be tricky and therefore it is advisable to choose the one you identify with the most. It is better to work backward–think about your different achievements and then pick a topic that will help you highlight them.

Mistaking a unique topic for an effective one

Many times, students mistake a unique topic for an outstanding topic–the one that many students would not pick. It is not necessary that cliched topics make a bad choice. Rather than the topic, it is the essay’s content and presentation that matters. You should pick a topic that makes you feel confident and brings out the best of your character attributes.

Using the space wisely

The length for a common app essay varies between 250-650 words. Students usually get caught between too many or too few words. The word range is the extreme limit and anything between 400-550 words is considered a ‘sweet spot’. Your common app essay space should be used to showcase your personality, passions and achievements without trying to do too much or too little at once.

Organising your essay

Your common app essay should not be written in a haphazard form with just sentences of your accomplishments. You should use the common app portal freedom to create a meaningful essay with dialogue and descriptions. Ensure that your common app essay has logic and context and a clear flow of ideas in between sentences and paragraphs.

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Branding yourself

To make your common app essay stand out from the rest, you have to make it personal–the essay should tell your story. An admissions officer should be able to distinguish you based on your essay. The best way to do this is by branding yourself. For an effective common app essay, creatively present yourself so that it leaves a mark on the admissions committee. Your essay should leave the room talking.

Focusing on details

Students often end up writing a generic essay and fail to address the insights of their accomplishments and personal growth. Your common app essay is a sum of “little” things that describe you the “most”. The details in your essay will help you stand out. For example– ‘I love to exercise’ is a generic statement whereas, ‘I wake up every day at 5 am for a 10km run and yoga’ is a detailed statement that tells the reader about your discipline and commitment towards exercising.

Your common app essay is an extremely important part of your college application. Therefore, it is imperative that you submit a memorable essay. We at Jamboree do just that-help you write an amazing essay. Book a free fifteen-minute session with our counsellor and get started with your college application.

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