COMMON APP ESSAY Prompts 2022-23  College Admissions and College Applications



Greetings Student and Families
Our Seniors — class of 2023 – you’re likely engaged in college research and we expect that campuses will begin to welcome visitors this fall for overnight visits– something that was the norm pre-pandemic. That said, between now and early summer we should be honing in on a short-list – the balance of reach, match and safety campuses. Don’t apply anywhere you wouldn’t be thrilled to attend. A “safety” isn’t a consolation prize– it’s a college that fits you academically, socially and financially.
With college applications ahead, do ensure you have the appropriate coursework related to the college major during your senior year. You simply cannot submit a college application to major in a STEM field without having ever taken an AP science class- you’ll be unprepared for the rigorous lab work ahead and you’ll be a less competitive applicant. Likewise- if you read my note on recommended AP courses- I highly recommend AP Macro or AP Micro and AP Statistics to prepare for a business degree. All of my AP course recommendations can be found in my AP Newsletter link above.
with College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD
As our seniors  are likely packed and ready to head off to campus – and our juniors  know that college application season approaches. Our 8th to 10th grade students know that carefully selecting courses, including choices of AP vs AICE vs IB or which electives to consider, as well as selecting extracurricular and Collegiate Summer Program Experiences will greatly enhance discovery of academic and personal interests– ultimately bringing joy to learning and defining an educational and career path.
Universities aren’t competing to increase their market share of the available 18 to 24 year old students.
Universities are competing to attract the brightest and most interesting students.
Are you one of them?
The “fit” between a student and a university is based upon three pillars:
The university you attend should provide an outstanding academic experience in your intended major/minor fields of study, along with appropriate internship and career placement opportunities. This is paramount to selecting where to attend.
There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.
Your evaluation of academics should move beyond published lists of college rankings. The most important steps include learning how to navigate through the “Academics” and the “Research” tabs to fully explore the curriculum maps, degree requirements and the research projects faculty are conducting. As a former university professor with 30+ years of experience on curriculum planning committees, I’m able to help your family assess “academic fit” and effectively explore your academic options to balance each student’s current and emerging interests and strengths.
Undecided? Consider that “flexible” and universities LOVE to hear about students with multi-disciplinary interests. All of your applications will in fact provide you with an opportunity to explain your choice of major(s) as being formed through classroom and other experiences. More about this below.
The social fit is important as each student is looking to find a “home-away-from-home” for their next four years. Is the campus inviting, inclusive and are there opportunities for ongoing social and emotional growth?
This is exactly why students visit university campuses before enrolling. Your Educational and College Admissions Assessment will help you hone in on the criteria that are important to you. Let me help you understand how to have an informative and meaningful campus visit – and yes, that may even be a virtual visit which is bolstered by connecting with students and campus representatives in your major, your potential clubs and other ways to feel the “vibe” beyond a webcam. Nearly all colleges are welcoming visitors — some may eventually bring back the fall overnight campus visit for seniors.
Every family faces unique financial circumstances and we factor those into the choices of where to apply and enroll. A. If you’re ineligible for financial aid, merit aid remains an important option to explore.
THERE ARE MANY CAMPUSES PROVIDING an EXCELLENT EDUCATION offering deep discounts on tuition given your “admissions profile”.
I truly want to reassure you that there are universities that don’t actually charge the “sticker price”. As you contemplate your balanced list, consider including some safety colleges– those include solid educational opportunities where your portfolio places you in the top 1% of the college’s typical student profile.

COMMON APP ESSAY Prompts 2022-23  College Admissions and College Applications

Finding Your Niche?
For those of you who are regular readers of my newsletters and blogs, you understand that College Admissions is holistic.  Recently I wrote about the relevance of demonstrating “character” and your “uniqueness” in the admissions process. What really matters for all of us, students and parents alike, is knowing that we lead lives filled with joy and purpose. Admissions reps are also moved by the topic of “kindness” – this has been trending in college admissions for a few years – and in response, the Common App 2021-22 had a new essay about “kindness” and “gratitude” – the first new prompt in a decade. The prompts for the Common App 2022-23 are unchanged –(stay tuned – my June 1 newsletter will discuss college essays).
The core essay prompts for the Common Application — especially numbers 1, 4 and 6 address this very point!
My goal in the partnership I share with each family is to guide each young adult to becoming self-directed, inspired and ultimately to recognize their strengths and passions in ways that will enable each young adult to contribute to their communities.
A student’s GPA and transcript are a significant determinant of admissions and academic success. Yet with five to seven qualified applicants for every available space in the freshman class, admission committees seek to create a freshman class that is diverse in intended majors, geographic origin and personal interests.
Students who are successful not only in admissions but as actual undergraduate students, are those who have well defined interests, nurtured as early as middle school and further developed throughout high school.
Having an academic niche or a personal passion outside the classroom builds motivation, focus and academic success.
Parents, guidance counselors and your college advisor can help your student identify or deepen an academic and /or personal interest.
What sparks your student?
The most selective universities again realized phenonenal increases in application numbers.
See charts at end of note with 2025 and 2024 acceptance rates
I’m so proud of all students – our recent acceptances include:
Princeton, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, USC, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Bowdoin, Wellesley, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Brown, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF, and many more!
Whether you’re a senior planning to make a choice, or a 10th-11th grade student starting your college research- or just starting high school, please review my online reviews and reach out to Schedule an Educational and College Admissions Planning Assessment
It is never too early to begin taking steps to ensure your student has a long-term strategic educational plan fostering a love of learning, building solid time management skills and establishing a directed path towards the undergraduate experience. I personally guide students to discover their individual academic strengths and develop an intrinsically motivated passion for learning, ensuring a seamless transition to the undergraduate experience.😊

It’s Time for Reflections:


As the end of the school year is within sight, AP/IB/AICE exam prep should be a priority. I also invite all students to reflect upon goals set in August. Which of your goals were easily attainable? Why? What have you learned about yourself and how you approach learning and your time that works well and what will you change for the next academic year?
Parents, how have you changed as your student continues to develop their strengths further preparing each young adult for a smooth transition to the undergraduate experience? How can you assist your student to continue to be self-motivated and directed?
At your end-of-year conference, we’ll review your accomplishments both within and outside the classroom as well as identify opportunities for growth to realize personalized educational goals.



First and foremost- be yourself because everyone else is taken! That’s not cliché-it is truly the most important piece of advice I can provide.
Discover an area that you are truly passionate about and dive in!
Applicants must clearly demonstrate “informed interest”!
Your application must leave no shadow of a doubt that you are prepared to succeed in your demanding academic major.
 Demonstrating you understand the challenges ahead is essential.
“Informed interest” can be demonstrated through:
  • In addition to completion of AP/IB/AICE coursework, engage in sustained formal or informal extracurricular activities and independent projects (we have plenty of ideas for an independent project)
  • Research: participation in local, regional and national competitions working with our competition educator. An AP class often includes a project or paper that can be the springboard for a larger project and a competitive venue.
  • Thoughtful college specific supplemental essays showcasing maturity and self-directed exploration of a potential narrow area of interest (i.e. stochastic processes in Financial Modeling, Genomics, Artificial Intelligence applications to bio-diversity modelling, pharmaceutical development or language processing and interpretation.)
STEM students, let me introduce you to some opportunities to learn to code or take hold of some of the DIY projects in Popular Science magazine (2-3 of these every month). Build a drone?.Food Scientists: Lots of weird new things to learn. Engineers-no shortage of ideas! Aspiring physician– ? Ideally, work on a project with potential entry into science fair this fall .
Business students-are you aware of the latest developments and controversies in your field? Most of us are imagining why there aren’t available real-time COVID-19 tests or why our front line health care professionals still don’t always have access to PPE– these are both BUSINESS LOGISTICS ISSUES!
 Consider volunteering for an organization /family/small business to implement a social media campaign. Learn how to organize data for analysis. All of this can be done from home.
I think all students in any major should learn more about the amazing initiative started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet:
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are encouraging the wealthiest individuals in the world to give back to society through donations that can make a difference in our society and on our planet.
Learn about how billionaires earned their wealth and how they are changing the world. Who do you admire most? Why?  Where will you leave your mark on society?
Humanities: Writers, Pre-law, psychologists, diplomats! There are many interesting essay contests throughout the school year. Use the summer to do your research in anticipation of participating in an essay competition in a field of interest. Reading current events and being aware of how public policy makers and industry work hand-in-hand can be eye-opening.
Artists, Actors and Musicians-Continue to create original work expanding your craft, building your portfolio and ultimately finding your unique passion. Is your social media current including videos of your performances?
Bottom line- start to explore areas you haven’t yet considered or enrich an existing interest. I have an extensive list of possibilities and hope all students to do something productive and enjoyable this summer.
READ READ READ-books are only one part of reading. I encourage all 8th, 9th and 10th grade student develop a list of 2-3 internet periodicals, newsletters or industry bulletins that develop and increase your awareness of a potential area of interest.
For example, business students can read the NYTimes Business section or Wall Street Journal. STEM students should be reading one science magazine on a regular basis. Need suggestions? Pre-med students are you aware of the cutting edge research in your area of interest? Have you considered ethical discussions underway?
10th and 11th   NEXT STEPS: FINDING YOUR NICHE, Course Adjustments!
This is the time to develop or confirm your area of interest of study. All juniors should have already spent extensive time comparing and evaluating curriculum at colleges on your short list.
Especially for Sophomores:
This summer is the perfect time to engage in preparation for ACT/SAT tests to be taken in the fall of your junior year. Please discuss with me the variety of test preparation options and what might suit your learning style and family budget.
All students should jump start their anticipated most difficult classes for next year.
For most students, that would be an AP Math or AP Science class. Spend disciplined time 2-3x a week to become familiar with concepts you’ll be learning the first semester. Buy the SATII/AP books and read them.
EdX offers “on-ramp” courses. Let me help your student create a manageable summer schedule and help monitor their progress.
I can guarantee you that there’s no magic formula for being accepted into a selective university, and any college advisor two tells you otherwise is being less than authentic with you. I can guarantee you that building an Educational & College Admissions Plan as early as eighth grade will greatly increase the likelihood of a student who is intrinsically motivated and prepared for academic success.  Students with goals and dreams are better students and live their high school years with greater ease than those who haven’t set some objectives.
Success begins with a student-led Strategic Educational & College Admissions Plan with actionable items!
If you’re a Junior ’23 you should be actively engaged in research on the variety of college majors. I’d welcome the opportunity to guide you to defining your balanced short-list of colleges by June – and hopefully you’ll be joining me at my June Writers Block Workshop.
If you come prepared daily and finish assigned tasks- you will finish your Common App core essay before summer!