Common Application College Essay Prompts

Common Application

Common Application

Allison Schottenstein has worked as an editor with Scholar Compass in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 2010. In this position, Allison Schottenstein assists prospective college students as they prepare essays and other materials necessary to gaining acceptance at the nation’s top universities.

Coming up with an effective topic for a college essay can be difficult. Approximately 520 colleges in the United States accept the Common Application, or Common App, which allows students to apply to numerous schools with a single application. Under the Common Application, students must limit their responses to one of five writing prompts to 650 words.

Most Common Application prompts are very broad. The first prompt encourages applicants to simply share their story. This may sound too vague for some students, while others will immediately begin sharing a background event or family history that has influenced their current circumstances. Other prompts that allow students a fair degree of freedom include discussing a moment of failure or a moment in which the individual challenged an established concept or belief.

Some Common Application essays require more introspection than others. For example, the fourth prompt asks writers to describe an environment in which they feel at ease. Finally, students can describe any event or period of change that served as a “coming of age” transition.


The Yiddish Book Center

The Yiddish Book Center Image:

The Yiddish Book Center


Allison Schottenstein is currently pursuing a PhD in history at the University of Texas at Austin and has a particular interest in American and European Jewish history. In addition, Allison Schottenstein loves collecting dreidels and other Jewish antiquities, such as venerable old books in Hebrew and Yiddish.

The Yiddish Book Center, located in Amherst, Massachusetts, on the campus of Hampshire College, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and preserving books in Yiddish. It was founded by Aaron Lansky in 1980, then a graduate student of Yiddish literature, who discovered that there were myriad irreplaceable Yiddish books that were in danger of being abandoned or scrapped because nobody wanted them. The elderly owners who brought the books from the Old Country treasured them as part of their legacy of Jewish life and culture in Eastern Europe, but Yiddish at the time was considered “dead,” and their American-born children couldn’t read Yiddish and weren’t interested in taking them.

So Aaron Lansky established a nationwide organization of zamlers (volunteer book collectors) to save the world’s Yiddish books. Rescued books were initially stored in the Lansky family’s home and then in various warehouses across western Massachusetts. The books were ultimately moved to their current location in 1997. By many estimates, there were 70,000 Yiddish books in the world when Aaron Lansky began collecting. Since then, the Yiddish Book Center has taken in more than 1 million books from multiple sources.

Proper Tea House Etiquette

An editor for the college planning service firm Scholar Compass, Allison Schottenstein will earn her PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. Outside of her professional life, Allison Schottenstein collects miniature tea sets and enjoys visiting tea houses during her international travels. When visiting at a tea house, the following etiquette tips should be observed by patrons who wish to adhere to traditional customs.

Visitors should begin by maintaining proper dress, with typical modern tea houses hosting guests dressed in a casual, clean fashion. Women frequently use tea gatherings as an opportunity to wear dresses that end mid-calf, while men typically wear collared shirts and trousers or pressed jeans.

Once guests are seated, all parties should place napkins in their laps. Before the tea is poured, it is important to remember that sugar should be placed in a teacup first, followed by any lemon slices desired. After the tea is poured, patrons may add milk to accommodate their personal tastes. It is important to remember that when stirring tea, touching the spoon to the side of the cup should be avoided, as it is considered poor manners.

Teacups should be held by their handles using no more than the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. It is considered improper to loop fingers through the cup’s handle, or to hold the cup by its sides. Tea drinkers should also place cups on their saucers when not being held.

Things to Remember When Writing a College Application Essay

Allison Schottenstein, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Brandeis University, is studying for her PhD in history at the University of Texas at Austin. Beyond her responsibilities as a student, Allison Schottenstein serves as an editor for Scholar Compass, where she helps first-time college students edit their college essays.

College application essays bring up feelings of worry and anxiety for many high school seniors, but there are several ways you can get your essay to stand out among the thousands of others. Following are just a few things to keep in mind when writing a college application essay:

Be yourself. Every individual thinks and interprets things differently, and writing your college essay is a great time to take advantage of this. Rather than placing too much focus on what you think the admissions office wants to hear, write in a way that is unique and honest to you.

Follow instructions. Colleges typically put a lot of thought into the instructions that they lay out for application essays, so it’s important that you follow them. These instructions may appear repetitive after applying to several different colleges, but they are there for a reason. Make sure all your creativity stays within the parameters that have been set.

Be clear and concise. Even though most colleges do not place maximum word limits on their application essays, making an essay too long can delay the review process of your application. Additionally, long and convoluted essays can be difficult to read and may result in readers losing interest in the essay as a whole.

American Historical Association to Hold Its 130th Annual Meeting

An accomplished student, Allison Schottenstein currently attends the University of Texas at Austin as a doctoral candidate in the school’s history department. Over the course of her academic career, Allison Schottenstein has been a member of the American Historical Association (AHA).

In pursuit of its mission to promote historical thinking and study, the AHA produces scholarly publications, oversees educational and professional development programs, distributes grants, and hosts its popular Annual Meeting. Registration will soon open for the AHA’s 130th Annual Meeting, which will take place January 7-10, 2016, at several hotels in downtown Atlanta.

Over 4,000 history professionals and scholars are expected to attend the four-day event to network with their peers, share research, and gain new knowledge and insights through a range of educational sessions. In addition, the meeting will feature an exhibit hall, a job center, and a career fair, where attendees can learn about the skills and training needed to build a career in the history field.

American Historical Association Hosts 130th Annual Meeting in 2016

Currently attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue her doctorate in history, Allison Schottenstein also works as a book reviewer for Pop Matters where she has published eight book reviews. Additionally, she serves as an editor at Scholar Compass based in Cincinnati, Ohio, assisting students with college papers and helping high school students with their college essays. Allison Schottenstein belongs to several historical organizations, one of which is the American Historical Association (AHA).

Founded in 1884, the AHA establishes professional standards for historical training and research. Its members promote professional standards and work to preserve historical documents that tell America’s story.

Each year, the AHA hosts a meeting for its members to converge and share information. The 2016 event, scheduled for January 7 through 10 in Atlanta, Georgia, is the organization’s 130th. Entitled Global Migrations: Empires, Nations, and Neighbors, the meeting will feature exhibits and poster presentations. At the 2015 meeting, attendees listened to speakers discuss the latest in historical scholarship and practice. There were almost 300 sessions held at this annual meeting, which occurred in New York.

The Organization of American Historians Holds 2015 Annual Meeting

Jewish studies scholar Allison Schottenstein attends the University of Texas, where she is a doctoral candidate in the school’s history program. In addition to her pursuits at the university, Allison Schottenstein participates in several academic groups, including the Organization of American Historians (OAH), a professional association whose membership consists of over 7,800 history scholars from around the world.

The OAH recently held its 108th Annual Meeting from April 16-19, 2015, at the America’s Center and the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The four-day event investigated the theme of “Taboos” through a range of panel presentations on topics including race relations, sexuality, gender, religion, and drug culture.

In addition to the theme-based sessions, the conference featured professional development workshops, poster presentations, state-of-the-field sessions, and activities re-examining the American Civil War on its 150th anniversary. Attendees were also able to network with their peers during luncheons, receptions, and tours of historical and cultural sites throughout St. Louis. Additional details about the 2015 OAH Annual Meeting, as well as future conference dates and locations can be found at