How many words does the common app essay have to be 2015

Essay Prompts for 2014-2015 Common Application

February 13, 2014

Essay Prompts for 2014 -2015 Common Application

Just announced this February 2014: the 2014-2015 essay prompts will remain unchanged from the previous year.

The 2014-2015 Common Application, launch date August 1, 2014, will include five “personal statement” essay prompts. The prompts were designed to enable applicants to tell their unique stories as part of a holistic selection process.

Carmen Lopez, Executive Director of a non-profit catering to college success of Native American and Native Hawaiian students, believes this is especially true for these types of students and any student "We have found the Common App's new essay prompts to be highly effective. Students are presenting themselves as multi-dimensional, writing with an authentic voice, and writing meaningfully as both students and Native students."


In a recent survey, nearly 70% of Common Application member colleges and 90% of school counselors indicated that the prompts are effective in helping students represent themselves to colleges.

Students are instructed to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic that “helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice” and enables “readers of your application to know you apart from courses, grades, and test scores” using the prompt “to inspire and structure your response”.

The Common Application will be maintaining the word limit of 650 words for the “personal statement” essay. 650 words is the limit, not the goal. The application will not accept a response shorter than 250 words or greater than 650 words.

The following prompts on the 2014 -1015 Common Application:

  1. 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.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
How many words does the common app essay have to be 2015

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