In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt continues her discussion of the new common app essay prompts.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 


AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. Today, we’re going to be discussing the 2021-2022 Common Application essay prompts. So the next part of this prompt is, “how has this gratitude affected or motivated you”? So, for my own situation, it’s getting to spend more time with my son. It’s affected me because I’ve been even more excited to have quality time with him. When we were dropping him off once a day and then picking him up at the end of the day, we’re all tired at the end of the day. I would say our quality time has been enhanced by the pandemic. We spend more time playing together, we spend more time learning together and before that I would rely simply on the schools to do most of the teaching. So it’s been a really nice thing for our relationship with our son and for that student, while I speak to his experience because I haven’t asked him this specific question, I can imagine a scenario in which he might answer something like this: Gratitude has motivated me to seek out alternate perspectives, to connect with people abroad in different ways that I thought of before. I hope to take these experiences and to grow them as I go to college. So I hope you don’t mind me sharing my personal example and an example from one of my students. I think that these examples can help you think about the difficulties that you faced and how you have made the best of this challenging situation. So that’s my shout out for prompt four. I’m definitely going to miss the old prompt four because I thought that was also a wonderful prompt, but I like to encourage you to think about the lemonade you’ve made during this challenging time. Even if you don’t use it for the college application essay, I think that this is a great exercise. Now, if you don’t feel the pandemic you much in terms of your own growth and development, don’t answer this prompt just because they’re encouraging you to answer it. Pick something else that fits you better. Prompt number five: “Discuss an accomplishment and or realization that sparked personal growth and an understanding of yourself or others”. So this is a prompt for someone who has gone through, let’s say, a milestone event like a bar or bat mitzvah or maybe they’ve progressed from being a person with learning differences to somebody who’s progressed through more traditional schooling. Maybe it was something that they realized about their community that inspire them to act. For example, where I live and in many places of the country, there’s huge a divide between people who live in urban areas and those who live in suburban areas. So if I had a change as a young person to visit urban Philadelphia and firsthand see those challenges, that could affect my motivations and the ways that I want spend to spend my time helping folks like this and just getting a understanding of how privileged I am and why that is. Prompt number six: “Describe a topic, idea or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more”? So I always say this is a prompt for somebody who really likes to geek out or nerd out at certain subjects. I’ve worked with a of people who are film buffs or theater buffs for or art buffs and all of these folks have something very niche and nuanced about their interest or hobby that really gets them going. So my suggestion is if you are falling into one of categories, also, it could be something like a concept or Darwinism or Marxism or Niche! Pick your philosopher or political figure or historical study. I would say this is really great prompt for people who just get into the rabbit hole of knowledge seeking on something. And this is also–this prompt is also great not only to describe your interest but also to help the admissions officers understand how you like to consume information and how you analyze that information. So this is a great prompt for the more cognitively-inclined folks who would prefer to be a little bit less emotional or personal in their statement. Not that it’s not personal to talk about how you learn, but it’s a little bit less, um, I would say touchy feely than some of the other prompts, right? So if you feel like you’re an academic person and you want to go all out talking about an idea or concept, this is a prompt for you. The last prompt is my least favorite prompt and it’s “share an essay on a topic of your choice”. The reason I don’t like this prompt is because I think it’s too open-ended and when an admissions officer is reading this prompt, it may or may not resonate with them. With all of the prompted responses, there’s kind of a structure and a certain element that you’re looking for in these essays that I’ve described earlier. With the “share a topic of your choice” essay, you could either get lazy and submit an old English You could write a diary entry. The variation is way too wide. It doesn’t give you enough guidance. So I advise you to steer away from this prompt unless you’re using an alternate version of your coalition app essay for this prompt and none of the coalition app prompts fit exactly with the common app prompt. So there you go. Those are my thoughts on the 2021-2022 essay prompts. Reach out if you have questions.


VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.