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The Common Application As Explained With Emojis

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The 2015-16 Common Application goes live in just a few short weeks, so here's a handy guide to the essay prompts translated and explained with tiny people, animals, and food items.

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, then please share your story."
Thea Hogarth

"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, then please share your story."

Appropriate responses to Prompt #1 include

Things that shaped you into who you are today.
Thea Hogarth

Things that shaped you into who you are today.

Times when your perspective shifted.
Thea Hogarth

Times when your perspective shifted.

Anecdotes that reveal who you are at your core.
Thea Hogarth

Anecdotes that reveal who you are at your core.

Prompt #2

"The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?"
Thea Hogarth

"The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?"

Appropriate responses to Prompt #2 include

Failures that are actually successes! ;)
Thea Hogarth

Failures that are actually successes! ;)

Stories that reflect well on your character and judgement in the end.
Thea Hogarth

Stories that reflect well on your character and judgement in the end.

Prompt #3

"Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?"
Thea Hogarth

"Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?"

Appropriate responses to Prompt #3 include

Incredibly specific anecdotes.
Thea Hogarth

Incredibly specific anecdotes.

Times when you felt like the odd man out (but you kept going anyway).
Thea Hogarth

Times when you felt like the odd man out (but you kept going anyway).

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."
Thea Hogarth

"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."

Appropriate responses to Prompt #4 include

Your own unique approach to traditional roadblocks
Thea Hogarth

Your own unique approach to traditional roadblocks

Your solutions for smaller, personal challenges.
Thea Hogarth

Your solutions for smaller, personal challenges.

Prompt #5

"Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family."
Thea Hogarth

"Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family."

Appropriate responses to Prompt #5 include

Big landmark events and achievements.
Thea Hogarth

Big landmark events and achievements.

Small moments of personal pride.
Thea Hogarth

Small moments of personal pride.

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