2024-2025 Common App Essay Prompts

More than 1,000 schools worldwide accept the Common Application (Common App). This advanced college application platform streamlines the admissions process and allows you to apply to multiple colleges in one place. As part of your application, you write a short essay using one of the prompts provided. 

The essay prompts are the same as the 2023-2024 application season. The folks behind the Common App wanted to keep them consistent this year and discovered that more than 95% of students, teachers, counselors, advisors, and member colleges were satisfied with the prompts. They also wanted to learn more about who’s choosing each prompt and see if there are differences among student populations.

Here are the Common App essay prompts for the 2024-25 application season.

  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. 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?
  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.

As you start thinking about which prompt speaks best to you, keep the following in mind:

  • Some of these topics are broad. Consider showcasing your creativity or sharing a memorable story. Your essay should make an impression without overloading details and highlight your personality and writing skills.
  • Some colleges will publish essay examples on their websites. Use them as inspiration and reference. These examples will also help you better understand what each college celebrates and looks for in the essays. PRO TIP: DON’T PLAGIARIZE.
  • Ask a trusted teacher, parent, or friend to proofread your content. Look out for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and tone.

The essay portion of your application is for you to highlight your personality and tell admissions teams something they didn’t learn in the rest of your application. It’s ok to get personal and tell them why you believe you’re the perfect fit for their school. You’ve got this!