3 years ago
Admissions Advice

For “Prompt 6” of the Common App., should I denote my research aspirations within the personal statement?

I have already outlined a common app essay from prompt 5 and submitted it after several proofreads and peer edits, but in the case of elite schools, I feel the need to “upgrade” my essay status from great to excellent. I’ve learned from many sources that you probably shouldn’t have a personal statement that’s reflective of your aspirations and academic intentions, but for someone who pursues researching, could this be an exception? Like from the extraordinary example provided on this site: https://blog.collegevine.com/common-app-essay-examples/#prompt6

Can I do something in a similar manner (not the same style of course) that indicates the area of research I hope to pursue and few steps I’ve taken and will be taking to achieve it? Thanks!!


Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

3 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

One of the main reasons I have often recommended that the students whom I advise avoid writing about their central academic interests in their Common App essays is that the students often have ample space to discuss these topics in their supplemental essays. If you write about your intended major in your common app essay, what will you have left to write about when a school asks "Why do you want to pursue your primary major?" as one of their supplemental essay prompts? The other main reason is that an essay on a student's academic interests can sometimes come off as overly clinical. The student risks writing an essay that is overly factual and thus not personal enough to make a suitably large impact on their admissions officer(s). Remember: admissions officers read similar essays all day all through admissions season! At elite schools, you'll need your officer(s) to advocate for you in front of a larger admissions committee. To build the necessary relationship with your officer(s), your essays, and your Common App essay in particular, will need to be deeply personal.

This doesn't mean, however, that you absolutely can't discuss your academic interests in your common app essay. So long as your essays for a school aren't redundant (make sure you address different topics in each essay!), and they explore and reveal deep things about who you are as a student and as a person, I think it is okay to talk about your research and/or your primary academic pursuits in your Common App essay. That said, it may be more effective to pursue a different topic in your Common App and to leave discussions of your intended major and your research for your supplemental responses.

3 years ago

I’d recommend watching this video.


Also the peer essay review is a great tool to get feedback on that style and topic of writing

3 years ago

It would be nice if u write a little of ur activities on z research if it relates to ur essay. But on ur common app personal statement write about ur personality and feelings and dreams and just talk abt u with little of ur research, hence u can write ur research on activities and it's repetitive

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works