2015-2016 Common App Essay Prompts

2015-2016 Essay Prompts

We are pleased to share the 2015-2016 Essay Prompts with you. New language appears in italics:

  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.
  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?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  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.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Practice ACT

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 10.17.29 AMScreen shot 2015-01-19 at 10.16.57 AMACT Practice Test

Date: Saturday February 7, 2015   Time: 9:30-12:30

Location: Fairfield Woods Library 1147 Fairfield Woods Rd. Fairfield CT.

Registration Fee: $38

Space is limited/Registration closes 2/2/14

Why take the test?

  • Gives first hand experience on the exam
  • Practice is the first step to successful prep
  • Report includes score along with answer sheet
  • Pinpoints the topics and concepts that need attention
  • Helps create a road map for excelling on the actual exam

 To pay by credit card: Click Here to Enroll Now! 

          To pay by check: email admin@yourkeytocollege.com

SAT/ ACT where can they get you?

where_scoresSAT/ ACT where can they get you?

These test results represent the average score for admitted students for fall 2012—50% score below and 50% score above these numbers. We’ve also listed the percentage of applicants admitted in 2009 and 2012 to give you a sense of the trend of each school’s selectivity.

The most important year of high school in the admissions process…

I often hear parents and students say that the most important year in high school is the junior year. The truth of the matter is the most important year in high school is the year that you are currently in. It does not matter if you are a freshmen or a senior you want to be sure you are performing your best. In my more than 20 years in education I have met with hundreds of college admission representatives and never once did they ever request of an applicant just their junior year grades. High Schools are required to send a transcript which includes grades from freshmen year through junior year along with a list of courses the student is enrolled in for their senior year. The GPA that is sent on to schools is calculated using 6 semesters of grades. So every year counts equally.

I meet with my freshmen students within the first two weeks of school starting and tell them the college process begins now. All your grades counts so always try your best. From the time a student starts high school they begin to build an academic and co-curricular resume that all schools will review closely. If you start off high school on a rough note a student will need to make up for it in the sophomore year and then the junior year better then sophomore year and so on. Admissions representatives look for patterns over time and so if a student has one poor semester the other five should make up for it to give a better understand of the student’s true potential. First semester senior grades are also sent on to schools so they can have a look at how the student is performing just prior to starting college. A final transcript is then sent to the one school the student is planning on attending. Senior year is just as important and not the time to lose focus.

Take advantage of each year, do not wait till next semester or next year to do better. Start to challenge yourself early on in your high school career as reps look at the rigor of your schedule as compared to others in your grade. Become involved in some kind of activity as a freshman and stick with it and eventually aspire to take on a leadership role within that activity. The activity does not have to be sports or community service related, it could be something entirely different that you are passionate about. Every application has an area where you can talk about something that may not have been covered in the application. This is an opportunity for you to discuss that semester with poor grades and clarify it, or to talk about your unique interest and why you had pursued it in high school. Your application is a culmination of all four years of high school so take advantage of each one.

The lucky number is…

A new school year is just around the corner and for seniors and the question remains “How many schools should I be applying to?” Truth be told there is no clear right or wrong answer as it is truly up to the student, but if you have been doing your homework on schools all along and you have a good idea of a potential major and what you like and do not like on a campus the choices should settle in around 7-9 schools. The Common Application just released numbers of last years class and the average number of schools that a student applied to using The Common Application is 4.2 and even if you take away ED students and transfers the number is 4.6 as a national average (the average for students in New England is 5.6 if you are curious).

The information from The Common Application can be found here: https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/Docs/DownloadForms/2013/AppLimitResolutionFinal.pdf


Now clearly not all schools are on The Common Application, but a good number are, so taking that into consideration the number does tend to settle between 7-9 schools for students in our area. So how should the list look in terms of chances of being accepted? I am not one to start to divide a list into Reach, Probable, and Safety schools because I believe in doing your homework first and finding schools that pass the three “F” test: Fit, Feel, and Finance.


It not just about putting on a dog and pony show to get in; it is about having the ability to stay in past the first semester. So finding the school that you can succeed at based on your academic strengths and challenges to me is more important then getting into that “Reach” school with slightly higher academic standards and struggling to keep your head above water for the next 4-6 years of college without parents standing over you reminding you to do your homework. Just as important to the academic fit is how you feel on the campus, because unlike high school you cannot go home when classes are over. This is a life style decision that you need to be prepared to commit to 24-7. This brings me to the final “F” the finances. With this uncertain economic time comes the realization that the investment hopefully will payoff sooner rather then later so be careful not to accumulate debt unnecessarily, especially with schools now reporting graduation rates for 5-6 years instead of the historical four years parents were use to.

The reason I like to have 7-9 schools on a well complied list is so when the acceptance letters come in a family will be able to make a decision with several options to consider, all the while having the ability to compare the financial aid packages that come along with them.

So in the end the list should reflect schools that you will be successful at while enjoying the time there, and not having to worry too much about paying for it all.  One more thing to keep in mind for every application there is a fee so the price just to apply can be just as shocking as the price of tuition. Best of luck!!!