In “Hacking the Common App Essay Prompts, Pt. I,” Josh Stephens gives some of the most helpful advice I’ve seen in a while. Rather than look for inspiration in the prompts themselves, start by asking yourself, “What else about me should the reader know?” A good essay is like a first date: you need to be true to yourself, throw in a bit of humor, and make the reader want to get to know you even better. Of the many common app essays I’ve revised this season, the best ones have been in response to the first prompt about a story that is central to their identity. Share what matters to you.
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