3 Approaches to Common College Application Questions

Applying to college can be a daunting process, especially if you’re not sure how everything works. The good news is that many colleges use similar college application questions to learn more about their applicants. To better understand what you’ll be expected to share, here are a few of those questions and how to approach them in your applications.

Question #1: Describe Yourself

The “describe yourself” question is one of the most common college application questions you’ll come across. With this question, the college you’re applying to wants to learn more about you and how you present yourself to the world. Many times, the question may be posed in a way similar to this: “Write a personal statement and include it with your application materials.”

You’ve probably noticed that this type of question is pretty open-ended. You’re probably wondering what should you focus on in your answer, and that’s a good question to ask. Many students are tempted to include as much information as possible, but approaching the question like that can lead to an essay that only touches on parts of who you are without showing much depth. If you have to answer a question like this for your application, it’s best to stick to one or two subjects that demonstrate who you are as a person.

Question #2: Why You Want to Attend Our College

When a college application asks this type of question, what it’s really after are details of your career and educational aspirations. How will your time at the school help you achieve your career goals? Is graduate study something you’re considering?

Depending on what your goals are, you should do some research before approaching this question. Consider what the school has to offer that will help you move forward in your career. Be as specific as possible.

Question #3: Discuss an Issue

Colleges are looking for the brightest students. When you are asked to discuss an issue, the school is really looking for a thoughtful, creative answer. You should try to think outside the box on this one.

On the positive side, this type of question gives you the subject of your essay. That’s half the work. The other half is coming up with a point of view and backing up your answer with facts and intelligent analysis. Be careful not to take the creativity too far, though. Your application readers want to read something that considers an issue from a unique angle, but they also want to read an essay that is coherent.

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