Instead of attempting to impress the Admissions Officer by making up unusual or shocking things, think about how you spend your free time and ask yourself why you spend it that way.
Also think about your upbringing, identity, and experiences and ask yourself, “What has impacted me in a meaningful way?
One way to construct a high-level idea would be to delve into a passion and focus on how you interact with the concept or activity.
For example, using “creative writing” as a high-level idea, one could stress their love of world-building, conveying complex emotions, and depicting character interactions, emphasizing how writing stems from real-life experiences.
Since your Common App essay will be seen by numerous colleges, you will want to paint a portrait of yourself that is accessible to a breadth of institutions and admissions officers (for example, if you are only applying to engineering programs at some schools, don’t focus your Common App on STEM at the expense of your other applications — save that for your supplemental essays).
Because the Common App essay is 650 words long and has few formal directions, organizing a response might seem daunting.
Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however.
From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally.
While SAT scores, your past course load, and your grades provide a quantitative picture of you as a student, the Common App essay offers adcoms a refreshing glimpse into your identity and personality.
For this reason, try to treat the essay as an opportunity to tell colleges why you are unique and what matters to you.