Writing Prompts

Writing ability, as demonstrated in The Common Application essay and University of Cincinnati personal statement, is considered during application review. First-year students applying to Cincinnati's Main Campus must complete some writing components.

The Common Application Essay

Students must choose one of the following topics to complete an essay of no more than 650 words:

  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.
  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?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 
  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.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  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?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 

Cincinnati Personal Statement

Students must also submit a personal statement in response to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

  • Obtaining a college degree requires persistence and the ability to stay focused on the end result. Share with us a long-term goal that you had, the steps/process you took to obtain that goal, and how you overcame any obstacles that you encountered. This goal could be academic, personal, or extracurricular in nature.

Program-Specific Requirements

CCM — Many College-Conservatory of Music programs require additional items. Consult the CCM Application Handbook for more information.

Nursing — Students applying to the nursing program must provide a short essay for the following additional essay prompt: Discuss what person, incident, or experience in your life influenced you most to pursue a career in nursing.