essay 1590s, "short non-fiction literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from . essai "trial, attempt, essay," from . exagium "a weighing, weight," from L. exigere "test," from ex- "out" + agere apparently meaning here "to weigh." The suggestion is of unpolished writing. The more literal verb meaning "to put to proof, test the mettle of" is from late 15c.; this sense has mostly gone with the divergent spelling assay (.). Related: Essayed; essaying. Essayist is from .
2017-2018 Common Application Essay Prompts
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. [No change]
2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking ? What was the outcome ? [Revised]
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. [No change]
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]