7 months ago
Admissions Advice

What exactly qualifies as a "topic, idea, or experience" (Common App prompt 6)

The common app and a few other applications ask you to describe a topic, idea, or experience you find so engaging you lose all track of time and ask you to describe what you do to learn more about it. I've been brainstorming, and I have a good idea, but I don't know if it addresses the prompt directly enough.

I want to write about my lifelong love of reading. I can talk about how I learned to read really young, and how I read a lot of really long Dr Suess and frequented the public library because my elementary school wouldn't let kindergarteners check out chapter books. I can write about how my love of reading helped me connect with a close group of friends when I went to a brand new middle school. I can write about how I read a book out loud to my sister for an hour or more every night during the pandemic, and how I still read daily, from nonfiction books on history and sociology, to cheesy rom-coms and any and everything in between.

I think it would make a good essay, highlighting my curiosity and showing how my love of reading has followed me and defined me throughout my life, but I don't really know if reading counts as a topic or idea. I'm sure they want me to write about an academic topic, but I feel like writing about my love of reading would make a better essay. What do you all think??


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Accepted Answer
7 months ago

Writing about your lifelong love of reading can absolutely be a suitable response to the Common App prompt about a "topic, idea, or experience you find so engaging you lose all track of time." Your passion for reading is a significant aspect of your life and personal development, and it can be a compelling essay topic. Here's why:

The prompt is all about showcasing your genuine passion and engagement with something. Your love of reading clearly fits this criterion, as it's something you've been dedicated to throughout your life.

Your essay can highlight the various experiences and phases related to your love of reading, from early childhood to connecting with friends and even providing comfort during the pandemic. This diversity can make your essay more interesting and dynamic.

You can reflect on how your love of reading has influenced your personal growth, your perspective on the world, and your intellectual curiosity. This can show admissions officers how you've evolved as a person.

While some applicants may choose more academic or traditional topics, writing about your love of reading sets you apart and allows you to share a unique aspect of your personality and interests.

If you write about your love of reading effectively, it can also demonstrate your writing skills, which is an important aspect of your application.

Remember, the goal of these essay prompts is to allow you to showcase who you are, what you're passionate about, and how you think. While some applicants may choose more academic topics, that doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Your love of reading is a valid and potentially powerful topic for your essay, and it can help admissions officers get to know you better.

However, it's crucial to ensure that your essay is well-structured, engaging, and provides insights into your character and values. Show how your love of reading has shaped you and why it's so important to you. If you do this effectively, your essay can make a strong impression on admissions committees.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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