What Are Essay Prompts?

Essay prompts are statements that concentrate on an issue or topic that is followed by a question. The objective of prompts is to inspire a response in the form of an essay. The essay tests your writing skills, analytical skills, and reasoning. The prompts are often used in literature classes or English composition, as well as during entrance exams to college, like ACT and the SAT.

How to Write an Essay Using the Prompts?

How would you feel if when applying to college nobody would look at your grades, experience, or test results? Imagine for a moment that a representative of the selection committee finds only your essay when opening a package of documents. He or she must make a decision solely on the basis of what is written in your essay, a decision that will affect your future life.

Remember that an essay is the only aspect of your package of documents, over which you have complete control. In your hands, you have the image that the receiving committee will see. They want to see a real leader with advantages and disadvantages and not an imaginary average image.

Essay prompts help you find the right words you want to say in your essay. They assist you to reveal all the aspects of the statement without missing the important points.

Common Prompts for an Essay

Applicants have the more chances to be accepted to college if they can clearly answer the 3 key questions in their essay:

  • Why do you I want to go to a graduate school and why did I choose this graduate school?
  • Why do I want to a graduate school now?
  • What will I get in a graduate school and what will I contribute to my classmates?

Keep these questions in your head when composing an essay plan and when writing an essay. When you re-read the essay that has already been written, check that you have indeed included answers to all 3 questions.

But to help yourself in preparing and writing an essay, it is important to familiarize yourself with essay prompts. Answering some questions will help you create a base for your essay.

Answer the questions directly, honestly, and openly. Write key words and phrases. When you are preparing a plan, there is no need to construct sentences yet. Only at the stage of writing, you need to think about how and in what form to present your ideas and information.

Here are a few examples of prompts that you can try and answer:

  • What are the three main reasons you’re applying to this college?
  • What is unique and distinctive about you/your experience/your life? You can tell about any significant event in your life, any people you met, or your accomplishments.
  • What are your personal characteristics? The key thing here is to provide examples when talking about your characteristics. When making a plan for your essay, you can list all your characteristics, but at the same time think of the situations, which show that you possess these specific qualities.
  • Why do you want to be a student of this university? Your task is to get as much information about the school you are applying to as possible. Of course, most students apply to several universities at the same time, but you need to prepare unique explanations to this question for each of your applications. Conduct a research and think about why you want to apply to this college.
  • Why do you want to apply for a degree in this particular field?
  • When did you become interested in this topic? Why do you think you are well suited for this field of study?
  • What are your career goals? What do you want to do when you graduate college? You are applying for a graduate program so admissions committee expects to see a reasonable person in you. Thus, you must demonstrate the level of maturity and your commitment to study a particular direction.
  • Why did you choose this career path? What are your true reasons for doing the program? Do you have a professional path in mind? Or do you want to accomplish a project but lack the necessary expertise? Be specific and honest. Do not just say that you need to be successful in your career.

When you answer these questions, you will have a complete material for writing the essay.

Criteria for Assessing the Essay by Admission Committee

  • How well did the author of the essay answered the question?
  • If the essay does not have a specific topic, how the text is constructed, whether really important information is selected.
  • Does the author write well?
  • Are there many mistakes in the text? How is the composition composed?
  • Is the author able to think critically?
  • Does the author know how to think abstractly? Does he cope with difficult topics?
  • What is the composition style? Is not the author too familiar?
  • Does the text contain unnecessary details or personal information that is not important for admission to the college? (the author writes, for example, about mental illness, childhood issues, family troubles, etc.).
  • Does the author make mistakes due to inattention (for example, you indicate the wrong university by mistake)?
  • Can the author clearly express the thoughts?
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Role for the Author

Introductory essays are important for the applicants themselves. They give you the opportunity to stand out from the rest of the applicants and demonstrate the skills of analytical thinking, writing, and communication. In the essay, you can tell about yourself and your aspirations, share experiences and explain why you want to enter this particular college.

Depending how well you write the essay depends whether you will be able to enter the college or not. Nevertheless, many applicants postpone work on writing until the last moment. You should not do this. To write a good essay, you need time. You must think about the topic, make a plan, pick up arguments, write a draft, check it, give someone to read your draft, and finally write your final version.

Remember the criteria admission commissions evaluate essays and write an essay that guarantees you a place in college.

Essential Essay Requirements

  • Compliance with size. The specified size should not be exceeded. First, if you enter an essay in a special field, then the text above the specified size can be simply cut off, which will make it incomplete. Secondly, the commission can decide that you are not able to adhere to general rules. The golden rule for writing is to strictly adhere to a given size, not allowing it to exceed +/- 10% of the specified number of words.
  • Font. A number of schools make demands to the font. If there are no requirements, then use the most common fonts. Size – not less than 10, but not more than 14.
  • Line spacing. Note whether there is information from the school on this requirement.
  • Style. It is necessary to avoid slang, cuts, jargon, colloquial vocabulary, and swear words. It is also undesirable to use professional vocabulary, as it may not be familiar to the representative of the admissions committee.
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  • Examples. The essay should be based on a real example, a situation. Abstraction and long philosophical reasoning is not permissible.

5 Other Essay Prompts

  • The essay should contain an answer to the question asked. There is nothing worse than an empty essay. Thus, check yourself by asking someone to read your essay and then answer what the original question was.
  • Visit the campus and tell about your impressions and what attracted you. Share what you learned on the campus. Your goal is to demonstrate that you have an excellent idea of what your life will be while studying at this particular college and you are confident that this will make you successful.
  • Think about what can highlight your uniqueness. Perhaps some unusual hobby or work experience? In fact, you can always think of at least 5 things that distinguish you from the crowd.
  • Do not write in your essay about other people. Even if in your essay you answer the question, with whom of the successful/influential people you would like to have dinner, always keep a focus on yourself.
  • Do not praise the school – the admission committee knows that the place they work at is good. Do not repeat yourself. Do not belittle other people or organizations. Do not complain about obstacles on your way and do not blame others. Do not send standardized letters – it’s immediately obvious. The last golden rule is not to lie. Stay yourself. You need to see in your work yourself, your advantages and achievements, your path, and your ambitions.
  • Correspondence of the Answer to the Proposed Question

It does not matter which question you are writing the answer to, you always have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I answer the proposed question?
  • Did I clearly express my point of view?
  • Is everything written presented in a clear and understandable language?
  • Were there any mistakes at the time of writing?

When you have finished the essay, check again that you demonstrated your motivation, interest in this particular college, showed at least two or three qualities that distinguish you from the total number of applicants, and provided at least one clear and valid argument why the school should choose you.

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