Whatever the case may be, the good news is that the prompts are confirmed nice and early in the admissions cycle. We here at CEA believe that a worthy subject for a personal essay can be backed into just about any prompt for the Coalition App (just as with the Common App). Think about some of the most memorable moments in your life—the stories that come up over and over again, the moments that make you feel most proud.
Still, we thought it would be valuable to break down each one, highlighting what these questions are really asking and how to use them as inspiration for an effective and memorable college essay that really hits home with admissions. It’s never too early to begin mining for those stories that will show admissions what you’re made of. Maybe your talkative approach to a science fair, and the warm reaction it elicited from the judges and even your competitors, made you realize the value of being unabashedly gregarious.
For many students, this catch-all prompt is a gift.
Obviously, any essay you write will meet the requirement of this prompt, so if you have already begun brainstorming with the Common App topics in mind, fear not; this Coalition prompt has you covered.
As with service essays, if you are going to address a potentially common subject like bullying or body image, make sure to approach it from a truly unique and highly personal perspective.
In the end, the essay should not be about teenage experience in general, but rather about an aspect of teenage-hood you’ve chosen to highlight because of the way it affects or represents YOU.
One last thing to note in choosing this prompt is that, while it is broad in its overall inquiry, it does specifically ask you to describe an experience, so if the idea you have in your head is character-related but not tied to a specific event or occurrence, you might want to save it for a different prompt.
(Don’t worry—more great options are coming.) The most important things to keep in mind when responding to this prompt are originality and sincerity.
Highlighting these personal anecdotes will prevent your essay from going down a generic path and lead you toward a more sincere conclusion.
Yes, giving back to people in need is rewarding, but what surprised you about the act of contributing? Discussing the under-recognized elements of these experiences, the ones that perhaps only you have thought about, will show admissions the true value of your actions and how your caring might show itself on campus.