My DD22 is looking to get a jump start on her college applications, and we were wondering when colleges release their specific essay prompts. She’s got the framework together for her Common App essay and would love to be able to make some more progress. Do colleges typically release the prompts over the summer? Thank you.
Not sure about all colleges but I definitely saw people who had applied in the July-Aug timeframe to some schools.
Thank you. My DD is looking to apply to a couple of schools on August 1 (priority housing!), and she’s a planner. I hope that prompts are out in May (when we get out of school). I know that schools have to finish up this application cycle first, but I wasn’t sure how quickly schools transitioned to the next cycle.
The Common App does not open until 8/1 and many colleges will not have their info loaded until mid-August. The prompts themselves are usually announced on the college website midsummer. But many colleges do not change prompts from year to year.
For the schools my D wanted to apply to this year, it was generally July-Aug, as @Dis3456 said.
But from our experience, while the prompts may change - usually not a whole lot - your “core message” does not. With a few exceptions, she will write about things that make her tick, her forming experiences, real or fictional people who inspire her. So she can start preparing a few very solid drafts even now - the final touch-ups won’t be too time-consuming.
Over the last few year, the essay prompts were confirmed to be the same as the previous year in late January (they haven’t changed since 2013, iirc). I’ve been checking every couple of days and haven’t seen anything yet.
While the 2021-2022 app doesn’t “open” until August, any account created now can be rolled over to next year. My D already has her demographic data and grades/coursework entered.
My experience is that school-specific questions and prompts rarely change. She’s added the schools of interest and already has compiled/counted the number of essays/questions/words. (I’m hoping 33 and 12,000 words for 12 schools gets her to trim the list a little.)
She hasn’t started answering them yet. Depending on Summer Camp acceptances, she may or may not start before the official August release. As notes above, many have common themes, so general structure/massaging can be started early, IMO.
This is very helpful. I have also been checking the Common App site every few days for the last couple of weeks, but I have not seen them announce that the prompts will remain the same. In a sense, it doesn’t matter if the prompts change because my daughter knows what her personal narrative is going to be. It’s a story that could fall under several of the prompts.
We actually created a Common App account for my daughter a few weeks ago. She has been slowly filling out the demographic and class information. Right now, the college application process is new and novel so she’s enjoying this. I am sure filling out that information will feel a lot more laborious when she is also working on essays and is up against deadlines. I am thankful she feels inclined to get a jump start!
It’s nice to know that the college-specific prompts don’t normally change from year to year. While we are still working on refining her school list, she has 5 definite schools. She added those schools to her list to get an idea of how many essays/questions she would need to answer. It’s also nice for me as a parent to know which schools we can add on without any additional work for her (Univ. of Alabama for instance). Thank you.
What a great idea - I didn’t realize that the account can roll over and be started now.
How would we check to see if certain schools have additional prompts besides the main essay?
Once your child sets up a Common App account, it is easy to find. You search for the school (we added each school as an interested school), and then one of the options is for additional information (I think that was what it was called). I can have my daughter look up exactly how to navigate to the school specific prompts, but it is really intuitive!
Common App prompts have been announced for next year. There is one change.