The Big List of Common App Supplemental Essay Prompts (2019/2020)

Colleges & universities are sharing their supplemental essay prompts early for the 2019 - 2020 school year.  Learn everything you need to know about the college application process with  College Essay Guy.

If you’re applying to college and planning to apply to a few selective colleges, you’ll likely be tackling a bunch of required essays in addition to that big 650 word Common App personal statement.

We call those bad boys “supplemental essays.”

While most of these essays are required, it’s a good idea to plan to submit those “optional” essays when given the chance, too.

So to make your college essay life a lot easier, here is the best way to find out what prompts you’re ACTUALLY tackling, as well as a big (but not exhaustive) list of schools that have updated and published their supplemental essay prompts for the 2019/2020 admissions cycle.

Step 1:
Log in to the Common App or create an account if you don't have one yet, and fill it out to the best of your ability. Be sure to select your intended major from the drop down list, select whether or not you’re applying for any relevant scholarships, and even check the “I’m an international student” box (if that is true), since your answers to those questions often populate new essay requirements.

Step 2: Add every school you’ll be applying to into your Common App account. All prompts for all schools should be uploaded by August 15th.

Step 3: Gather all of your supplemental essay topics. You can find these under the "writing" section for each college you've added. To stay organized, copy and paste all of the topics you'll be required to answer into a big spreadsheet so that you can see everything in one place and brainstorm topics.

  • Important Note: Be sure you are very detailed about gathering all of the topics! Some of them are a bit buried and show up in different places. See below for examples of what I mean:

For some schools, there is a dedicated “Writing Supplement” section.


For other colleges, the supplemental essay prompts are inside the “Questions” section of the school’s Common App supplement.


Main point: Be sure to dig around so you don’t miss any questions.

Step 4: You’re done! Time to write.

A few other great Websites to find college supplemental essays (All in one place)

Below are a few awesome websites that compile all of these essays for you:

Important note: Be sure to always double check prompts on third party sites with the school’s website or within the Common Application.

Here are two of my favorite.

All College Essays (~$10) - For the price of a Chipotle run, you’ll have all of your essays gathered for you with Dr. Rebecca Joseph’s handy tool.

Prompt’s Essay Finder Tool (Free) - Click “Get Started” and create a free account, click the ‘Essays” section on the left, and add all of your colleges and it’ll pull together a list of college essays for you.

Finally, we’ll will be compiling a big list of links for many of the colleges that have updated and released their supplemental essay prompts for the 2019 - 2020 school year. See below for more.

Note: Every school’s prompts will be finalized August 15th, so bookmark this page and check back often, or keep checking your Common App account.

Have a comment or know a school that has updated their prompts? Leave a comment with a link to the school’s website below!


If you don’t see your school listed below, check out the school’s admissions page directly or log into your Common App, or let us know if your school has published their prompts on their website!

Know a school that has updated their prompts? Leave a comment below, and a link to the school’s website (if you have one!)

For more help with your supplemental essays, check out the rest of the blog here.

For all the help you could ever want, all in one place, with videos, workbooks, and guides, check out my course.