Change is in the air. For those of you high schoolers who will be filling out your Common Application this fall, get ready to encounter the new essay prompts. There's good news and bad news, in my view. The good news is that the new prompts (I'll list them shortly) will likely give you a better opportunity to "market" both yourself and your writing talents. That's not to say that the old prompts could not have been advantageous for a decent writer.
However, the one prompt that disappeared is the old reliable "Any topic." That one allowed for some nice flexibility in case you wrote something particularly outstanding (in your view) for a non-Common App school. Or, as an aside, you may have written something along the way that is especially revealing about yourself for some non-college-related reason. Some high schoolers just write because they like to write and may have done some intriguing personal essay work. Think Andy Rooney or Dave Barry. (No, not Dave Berry, yours truly. I can't believe that people still confuse me with that hilarious, now-retired columnist from the Miami Herald.)