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  • Micheal Daniel Micheal Daniel
  • 15 min read

2023- 2024 Common App Essay Prompts with Examples

The Common Application, commonly known as the Common App, has long been the go-to platform for aspiring college students to streamline the college application process. Each year, it presents a set of essay prompts designed to help applicants share their unique stories, experiences, and perspectives with admissions committees. The 2023-2024 Common App Essay Prompts are no exception, offering applicants a chance to craft compelling narratives that distinguish them from their peers. In this essay, we will explore these prompts, providing examples and insights to guide you in crafting an impactful essay that captures the essence of who you are and what you can bring to a college community.


Common App essay prompts

What are common app essay prompts

The Common App essay prompts are a set of topics or questions provided by the Common Application, a widely used college application platform. These prompts serve as options for students to choose from when writing their personal essays as part of their college applications. The purpose of these prompts is to give applicants a starting point for crafting a compelling and unique narrative about themselves.

Students can select one of the prompts that resonates with them the most and use it as a basis to share their personal experiences, perspectives, and aspirations with college admissions committees. These essays are a critical component of the college application process, allowing students to showcase their individuality and qualities beyond their academic achievements and test scores. It’s essential for applicants to carefully consider the prompts and choose one that allows them to tell a meaningful story that reflects their character and potential contributions to the college community.

Prompt 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, please share your story.

Below is first Common App essay prompts that will look at

Title: “Embracing My Roots: How My Background Shaped My Journey”


A. Explanation of the prompt

B. Personal relevance of the prompt

The college application process can be daunting, as we try to distill our entire lives into a few essays and pieces of paper. But when I came across this particular Common App prompt, it felt like a beacon of authenticity amidst the chaos. “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.” This prompt speaks directly to me because it invites me to share the very essence of who I am, my roots, and how they have deeply influenced my journey.

Background, Identity, Interest, or Talent

A. Identification of the specific aspect you want to focus on

B. Explanation of why it’s meaningful to you

In my case, the aspect I want to delve into is my cultural background. I am a first-generation immigrant, and my family hails from a small village in India. This background is not merely a part of me; it is woven into the fabric of my identity. It is meaningful because it is a source of strength, resilience, and a rich tapestry of traditions that I carry with me every day.

Personal Story

A. Narrative of your experience or connection to the chosen aspect

B. How it has shaped you as a person C. Any challenges or lessons learned

My personal story is one of bridging two worlds. I vividly remember the day I first stepped onto American soil, wide-eyed and eager to embrace new opportunities. Yet, simultaneously, I felt a profound connection to my Indian heritage. My grandparents’ tales of struggle and triumph, my mother’s unwavering dedication to our customs – all of this has shaped me as a person.

Challenges have been an inherent part of this journey. From battling cultural stereotypes to finding my place in a diverse society, I’ve faced hurdles that tested my resolve. However, these challenges have bestowed upon me the gift of adaptability and the ability to appreciate the beauty in differences.

Impact on Your Application

A. Explain why this aspect is crucial for your application

B. How it complements other parts of your application

My cultural background is not just a checkbox on my application; it’s the lens through which I view the world. It has fueled my academic pursuits, igniting a passion for cross-cultural studies. In my extracurricular activities, I’ve organized cultural events that celebrate diversity, bringing my community closer. My background, I believe, enriches the academic environment and perspective I can bring to your university.


A. Reflect on the significance of sharing this story

B. Tie back to the overall theme or message

In sharing my story, I hope to convey that our backgrounds, identities, and experiences are not mere appendages to our applications; they are our stories, our strengths, and our unique contributions. My journey has taught me that embracing our roots doesn’t mean being confined by them; instead, it’s a springboard for personal growth and a deeper understanding of the world around us. As I embark on the next chapter of my life, I am excited to continue weaving the threads of my background into the tapestry of my future, wherever it may take me.


Prompt 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?

We will look at Common App essay prompts

Title: “Rising from the Ashes: How Failure Forged My Path to Success”


A. Explanation of the prompt

B. Importance of learning from challenges

In life, we all face moments of adversity, stumbling blocks that threaten to deter us from our goals. It is in these very moments, when the road ahead seems uncertain and challenging, that we have the opportunity to grow and find our true strength. The Common App prompt, “The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success,” perfectly encapsulates the profound significance of these trials in our lives.

The Challenging Situation

A. Describe the specific challenge, setback, or failure

B. How it affected you emotionally and mentally

One particular challenge that I will never forget was my attempt to start a business during my sophomore year of high school. With dreams of entrepreneurship, I invested countless hours and my entire savings into launching a small tech startup. Unfortunately, it was a spectacular failure. The company went bankrupt within a year, and I found myself in a crippling financial and emotional crisis.

 Overcoming and Learning

A. Explain how you responded to the challenge

B. What specific lessons you learned from the experience

C. How this experience shaped your perspective

In the aftermath of this failure, I faced a pivotal choice: to succumb to despair or rise from the ashes. I chose the latter. started by taking a job to repay my debts and began learning about resilience. I realized that failure is not a measure of one’s worth but an essential stepping stone to success. Also i honed my problem-solving skills and learned to adapt in an ever-changing marketplace.

Impact on Your Personal Growth

A. Discuss how this challenge has influenced your personal development

B. Any changes in your outlook, values, or behaviors

This challenge profoundly shaped my personal growth. It taught me humility, resilience, and perseverance in the face of adversity. It shifted my outlook on success, emphasizing that it is not solely defined by financial achievements but by the lessons we glean from setbacks. My values evolved from focusing on immediate gains to emphasizing long-term learning and development.


A. Reflect on the lasting impact of this experience

B. Connect it to your future goals and aspirations

The lessons learned from this failure have stayed with me and continue to guide my journey. Today, I approach new challenges with greater courage, understanding that they are opportunities for growth. I aspire to use my experiences to inspire others facing setbacks and to continue pursuing entrepreneurship with renewed determination. This experience has not only prepared me for future success but has also instilled in me the unwavering belief that I can overcome any obstacle life throws my way.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Title: “Unraveling Dogma: My Journey of Challenging Beliefs”


A. Explanation of the prompt

B. The significance of questioning beliefs

Throughout history, great strides in human understanding have been made when individuals dared to question the status quo. This Common App prompt, “Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea,” underscores the importance of critical thinking and the transformative power of intellectual exploration.

The Belief or Idea

A. Identify the belief or idea you challenged

B. What led you to question it?

The belief that I chose to challenge was my perspective on the role of technology in our lives. I had always embraced the rapid advancements in technology, seeing them as an unqualified boon. However, as I delved deeper into my studies in sociology and observed the consequences of our tech-driven world, I began to question this unquestioning enthusiasm.

The Thought Process

A. Describe how you explored and examined the belief

B. What insights or realizations you had

My exploration involved extensive research and conversations with experts and peers. I delved into the social, psychological, and ethical implications of our technology-dependent society. I realized that while technology has indeed brought numerous benefits, it also carries risks such as privacy invasion, social isolation, and the erosion of human connection.

Outcome and Impact

A. Explain what happened as a result of your questioning

B. Any changes in your perspective or the perspective of others

My questioning led to a significant shift in my perspective. I became more critical of technological developments, advocating for responsible and ethical use. I also started initiating discussions within my community and university about the ethical dimensions of technology. These conversations not only broadened my understanding but also prompted others to rethink their perspectives.


A. Reflect on the importance of critical thinking and open-mindedness

B. Discuss how this experience has influenced your worldview

This experience has taught me the importance of critical thinking and open-mindedness. It is essential to question our beliefs and ideas continually, as doing so can lead to personal growth and societal progress. My journey of challenging the belief in unchecked technological progress has left an indelible mark on my worldview. It has made me more conscious of the power and responsibility that come with our innovations. Moving forward, I am committed to fostering ethical and responsible technological advancement and encouraging others to question the unquestioned in pursuit of a better world.

Prompt 4: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

Title: “Empowering the Youth: Solving the Digital Divide”


A. Explanation of the prompt

B. The concept of problem-solving

Problem-solving is a universal skill that transcends boundaries, impacting individuals and communities alike. The Common App prompt, “Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve,” resonates with me deeply because it encapsulates the essence of addressing real-world challenges. One problem that has profoundly affected me is the digital divide.

The Problem

A. Define and describe the problem

B. Why is it personally significant to you?

The digital divide refers to the unequal access to technology and the internet, disproportionately affecting disadvantaged communities. This problem is personally significant to me because I witnessed its impact firsthand while volunteering at a local community center. Many underprivileged children lacked access to computers and the internet, hindering their education and future prospects.

Your Approach

A. Explain the steps you took to address the problem

B. Any challenges you faced in the process

To address this issue, I initiated a campaign to bridge the digital divide in my community. I started by researching and seeking partnerships with local businesses and government agencies. We secured donations of computers, laptops, and internet access for the community center. However, the process was not without challenges, including bureaucratic hurdles and funding limitations.

Proposed Solutions

A. Discuss potential solutions or future steps to tackle the problem B. The impact these solutions could have

The campaign to bridge the digital divide is ongoing, and there are several potential solutions. Firstly, expanding the program to more community centers and schools can ensure a broader impact. Secondly, advocating for government policies to subsidize internet access for low-income families can help address the root cause of the divide. The impact of these solutions could be transformative, providing equal opportunities for education and career advancement to disadvantaged youth.


A. Reflect on the importance of problem-solving

B. How this experience has shaped your problem-solving skills and mindset

Problem-solving is not just a skill; it’s a mindset that empowers individuals to effect positive change. Through my efforts to bridge the digital divide, I have learned the power of determination, collaboration, and resourcefulness. This experience has shaped my problem-solving skills and solidified my commitment to addressing societal challenges. I believe that by tackling problems like the digital divide, we can create a more equitable world where every individual has the chance to thrive and succeed.

Prompt 5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Title: “Finding My Voice: A Journey of Personal Growth and Empathy”


A. Explanation of the prompt

B. The significance of personal growth

Personal growth is a transformative journey that helps us understand ourselves and others on a deeper level. The Common App prompt, “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth,” resonates with me because it reminds us that we are constantly evolving and learning.

The Accomplishment, Event, or Realization

A. Describe the specific experience

B. How it triggered personal growth and self-awareness

One pivotal experience that ignited a period of profound personal growth for me was my involvement in a public speaking competition. As someone who was naturally reserved and anxious about speaking in front of others, this was a daunting challenge. It triggered personal growth by pushing me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to confront my fears and insecurities.

The Process of Growth

A. Explain the changes or developments in your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors

B. Lessons learned from this experience

Overcoming my fear of public speaking was a transformative journey. I gradually developed more confidence in my abilities and honed my communication skills. This experience taught me the importance of perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges. I learned that growth often occurs outside of one’s comfort zone.

Impact on Relationships

A. Discuss how this growth affected your interactions with others

B. Any changes in your relationships

The personal growth I experienced through public speaking had a profound impact on my relationships. I became a more effective communicator, which allowed me to connect more deeply with others. Also i developed a greater sense of empathy for those who face their own challenges. I began to actively support and encourage my peers in their endeavors, fostering a more positive and supportive social environment.


A. Reflect on the lasting impact of this period of personal growth

B. How it has influenced your outlook on life and future aspirations

The journey of personal growth sparked by my involvement in public speaking has left a lasting impact on my life. It has given me the confidence to pursue opportunities that once seemed intimidating. It has also taught me the value of empathy and understanding in building meaningful relationships. As I move forward, I am excited to continue embracing challenges, learning, and growing, knowing that personal growth is an ongoing process that enriches our lives and enables us to connect with others on a deeper level.

Read on How to Write the Common App Essay


In the competitive landscape of college admissions, the Common App essay serves as a powerful tool for applicants to make a lasting impression. The 2023-2024 Common App Essay Prompts provide a diverse range of opportunities for you to share your story, values, and aspirations.

By drawing inspiration from the examples and insights presented here, you can embark on the journey of crafting an essay that not only meets the requirements but also reflects your unique personality and experiences. Remember that your essay is more than just words on a page; it’s your chance to connect with admissions committees, demonstrating why you are a valuable addition to their institution. So, seize this opportunity, be authentic, and let your voice shine through as you embark on your college application adventure.



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