Undergraduate Blog / Admission

The Common Application 4.0

COmmon App

A week from today, the Common Application will launch a new version for the upcoming 2013-14 college admission cycle. The Common Application currently serves nearly 500 college/universities, including Babson, so the question becomes … How will you be affected by the next generation Common Application Online (CA4)?

In essence, you won’t be – this is the only version of the Common Application you know! That being said, there are important features from the “old” Common Application which are changing and you should be aware of these improvements as you begin your college application process. Most notably, essay topics have changed for CA4! In previous years, there were 6 topics, including #6: “Topic of Your Choice.” The writing opportunities available for 2013-14 will include five new essay prompts, subject to change annually based on member feedback. Here’s a first look at your options:

  1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  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 place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Although more specific in phrasing than the “old” topics, these five prompts still allow your literary creativity to take you in a number of different directions for your essay. Be sure to review these prompts before finalizing your essay and don’t forget to answer all parts of the question! Additionally, each writing section will have an enforced 650 word limit, while the essay will not allow a response shorter than 250 words. Moral of the story? Keep an eye on your word count and remain as thorough, yet concise as possible.

Remember, this is all new for us too! We’ve had the same essay topics for a quite awhile and cannot wait to hear your stories! As always, our staff is available as a resource to you, should you have any questions. It all begins August 1st – best of luck!