The 2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts: How to write #4

Tips on writing Common Application Essay Prompt #4

Continuing with my analysis of this year’s Common Application Essay Prompts, here’s a breakdown of #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. 

Show Off with Common Application Essay #4

This prompt is tailor made to show off your intellectual curiosity and how you have, or would, satisfy it. Suitable topics could be how the brain “thinks” (intellectual challenge) (, what is “dark matter?” (research query) ( or, I’m captain of the golf team and found out my best friend is cheating on his scores. Do I protect him or turn him in? (ethical dilemma) 


The key to writing an effective essay based on Essay Prompt #4 comes from the topic’s “significance to you.” Answer this prompt only if the issue at hand represents a burning interest, one that you’ve been drawn to for a long time. You’ll know it if it’s there; if not, choose a different prompt.

For students with a passion for scientific research, and who have the credentials to back it up, for example, summer internships, (, this essay offers an opportunity to explain the origin of your passion, what you’ve done about it, and your goals for the future. You don’t need to have fully solved the problem, no one is expecting that you’ve come up with the ultimate lithium car battery ( But describing your process and commitment can go a long way to helping an Admissions Committee understand the type of person you are. As always, however, keep the essay on you, not the research alone.

In short… Blog college app essay

Common Application Essay #4 works well for students with a passion for research, exploring philosophical issues, or those who have been struggling with an ethical dilemma. Be sure the issue at hand has real meaning for you.

For more personal help with the Common Application or any other application essay, please contact Craig Heller at 818-445-4697 or [email protected].

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