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Do essays + supplements for the CommonApp & Stanford/Harvard/MIT change each year?

HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
edited October 2012 in College Admissions
I am currently a high school junior. I will be starting my essays and supplements in June and finish them by the end of September - I will have no time to cram my essay writing between the time frame spanning from August (CommonApp release) to November (SCEA (Harvard, Stanford) or EA (MIT) (still deciding where to apply early...)) as I will have a rigorous academic workload in addition to extensive extracurricular activities, including but not limited to varsity tennis, robotics, and a job.

That being said, I would like to inquire anyone who may hold substantial knowledge on this matter to duly proffer an answer to my question in the thread title: Do essays + supplements for the CommonApp & Stanford/Harvard/MIT change each year? Or do they remain the same? Thank you very much. Gex.
Post edited by HSMCCP on

Replies to: Do essays + supplements for the CommonApp & Stanford/Harvard/MIT change each year?

  • camomof3camomof3 Registered User Posts: 846 Member
    The Common App goes live in early August (the new cycle opens) so this fits well within your target writing range. You'd have plenty of time to start then and finish by late September. You can search specific school forums here at CC to see the essay prompts from year to year to compare if you think you would actually need to start earlier than August to write your essays.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    Can someone please actually answer my question? I'm not changing my mind about the duration of time I will take for these essays simply because of the standards I demand of them: absolute perfection. So please do stick to discussing the variability of HSM's and Common App's essays + supplements from year to year.
  • born2dance94born2dance94 Registered User Posts: 1,646 Senior Member
    Don't worry; you will find time. There are thousands of kids with "rigorous academic workload in addition to extensive extracurricular activities" that all find time to write essays with "absolute perfection." It may seem like it won't work out, but people have been doing it for years. If you can't manage to fit applications into a rigorous academic courseload and extracurriculars, perhaps you shouldn't be applying to those schools. First of all because they value people who can do well in school, participate in extensive extracurriculars, and still complete nicely done applications. But also because, once there, they will expect you to be able to fit in their rigorous academics with extensive extracurriculars. Maybe you should be looking at some other schools, in that case.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    ^lol brb @ self-righteous jerk right here
    I'm taking AP Physics B/AP English Lit/AP US Gov/AP Spanish Lit/Organic Chemistry/Multivariable Calculus/Linear Algebra (4 APs + 3 college classes, one of which is a deadly known weeder class). I'm planning on retaking the SAT as well, and my extensive extracurriculars is more extensive than you would imagine, including but not limited to two jobs, robotics (a competition which falls during the time frame I mentioned), tennis season (varsity), scientific research, volunteering, clubs (officer), piano, etc ...don't judge me and certainly don't discourage someone who is striving to manage her time wisely instead of wait until the last minute, which my busy schedule during the aforementioned time window will certainly promote. It's very unlikely I will put myself through such similar anguish when I am in college, where I will definitely cut down on activities, so your point regarding about my competency at these top universities is irrefutably a moot one. Also, unless you can provide explicit evidence that states that these colleges prohibit beginning essays before applications are released, then your final point of what they look for in applicants is arbitrary and just as moot. I can do whatever I please, and certainly allotting more time to write essays is within my natural right to do so.

    On the contrary, I think it is in turn your competency regarding writing that should be questioned. Writing is an art, and an art takes time to refine. That plus I am, admittedly, neurotic about college admissions in general. Additionally, perhaps you should also question your blatant obliviousness to introspection or perhaps more generally the issues in your life that either of which may have led you to say such endearingly underhanded comments. Kthxbai.

    Someone please just answer my question.
  • born2dance94born2dance94 Registered User Posts: 1,646 Senior Member
    Well if the rest of us managed to do it you should be able to. That's all I will say. No need to get rude.

    Go take a look at some of the accepted student threads for Harvard, Stanford, and MIT (the schools you mentioned). You'll see how much those students all do. Yet they all managed to get it done.

    It isn't self-righteousnous. Just the truth.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    I believe it is you who initiated the rudeness and combativeness in my thread. You decided to question my ability to excel at top schools simply because of the fact that I don't want to stress myself over essays and wish to resolve that issue by starting them early. I want to be able to have several drafts at hand before the school year starts; when it does start, I want to be able to have teachers look over them and give me corrections. I don't want to deal with the burden of an evermore tightening schedule. Is that so wrong?

    It is hilarious and amusing how you are idealizing yourself with so much pride. Do you want me to bow down to you and praise your glorious ability to complete numerous tasks within such a minimal time frame? You *are* being self-righteous - your holier-than-thou attitude is blatantly revealed in that matter and also through the implication that everyone should embody you as an individual regarding this situation. Hello, get over yourself. There's nothing wrong with starting essays in June. I'll do whatever I damn please, and that includes setting whatever pace I desire when it comes to writing my college essays.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    By the way, you should actually play a varsity sport before telling me what true rigor means. All your activities do not induce simultaneous physical and mental exhaustion. I reside in California and tennis is an outdoor sport. Conditioning and playing hard in the hot summer sun (summer ends in late September here by the way) induces bodily and mental exhaustion (also bad tans), which is hard to recover from when you return home - especially after games. You do not understand, from your lack of such an experience, the difficulty in switching gears from tennis to schoolwork and the other various activities (much which are similar in number and subject matter to your activities) that I engage in.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    LOL @ you editing out all that info in your post

    brb someone realizes he was a total dbag
  • MWcollege12MWcollege12 Registered User Posts: 183 Junior Member
    I'm not going to answer your question, as I have no experience with applying to the schools you mentioned.
    I just feel the need to tell you to chill out.
    No offense, but you're coming off as really snooty and self-righteous yourself.
    Just take the other posters' advice, look at each college's forums to see if there is repetition in the essay prompts, and be done with it.
  • born2dance94born2dance94 Registered User Posts: 1,646 Senior Member
    I was trying to be truthful with you. If you honestly cannot find any time at all to write essays during your senior year, then perhaps a tippy-top college is not for you. Because there you could be writing 5-10 page papers with only a week's or two week's notice. And you are expected to participate extensively in at least one extracurricular (not that everyone does, but that is what they intend when they admit kids).

    btw, I took down my activities because I don't want all of that detailed info about what I do up here on the internet in one place. But I had actually forgotten to add dance for 14 years. Intense dance, not only at a studio but also for a school team. So there's the varsity level physical extracurricular activity you asked for.
  • SamuraiLandsharkSamuraiLandshark Registered User Posts: 3,425 Senior Member
    The essay topics for the Common Application do not change from year to year. These have been the same topics - the six stated in the Common Application main portion.

    The supplements may change. I don't know what last year's supplements were for those schools, but you could always copy and paste them into a word document and start coming up with ideas now. Some of the supplements are kind of interesting. You can definitely work on them now and save them, and see what happens on August 1st.
  • HSMCCPHSMCCP - Posts: 304 Junior Member
    @MWCollege12: I already have exhausted such a means.....the farthest these forums go back are to Class of 2014 (HS Class of 2010). Two years is hardly substantial enough to answer my question; a 4 to 5-year span would be more satisfying to determine a trend.

    @SamuraiLandshark: Thank you for being the first to actually answer my question. (Was that so hard?) Indeed, I have copied down the prompts for the Common App and HSM essays and supplements for this year but, however, was not able to do so last year although I had made a Common App account to check what they were. I vaguely recall that Stanford had two supplement prompts that were the same to those of this year but felt some sort of difference and lack of sureness in this belief, as with the supplements last year and this year for Harvard; and, for MIT, which requires a personal account, I was not so lucky to know of someone who was applying there in 2011 in order to ask them of the prompts and thus be able to compare them to this year's. Such ambiguities in my recollections drove me to this inquisition that I have laid out in the CC College Admissions forum. Anyway, that I shall do; perhaps lady luck will be on my side and the essay prompts will not change. Thank you very much for your assistance!
  • clandarkfireclandarkfire Registered User Posts: 322 Member
    I also tried to get this question answered last year - to no avail. I can, however, tell you that the Common App's personal statement prompts do not change from year to year, and that Harvard's and Stanford's prompts haven't changed in several years. I'm not sure about MIT.
    I recommend that you simply give these schools' admissions offices a call and ask whether they plan on changing their promts this year - only they will be able to give you a definite answer.
  • DoenerDoener Registered User Posts: 280 Junior Member
    A quick google search can answer your questions. Prompts don't usually change. But one never knows. Now take it easy.
  • YoHoYoHoYoHoYoHo Registered User Posts: 2,000 Senior Member
    Common app questions do not change; plus you can write on any topic as one of the choices, so no restrictions. Harvard has an optional essay on any topic, that won't likely change. email the adcoms from stanford and mit and ask if they plan on changing the supp questions. stanford has a big supplemental
This discussion has been closed.