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College Creative Writing Prompts

Updated on January 9, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


College creative writing prompts are similar to job interview questions and scholarship essays. They are intended to force you to reveal information about yourself that is not included in forms, checklists or easily quantified. While the ideal answer in your case depends on the image you want to convey to the college, knowing what they are likely to ask allows you to prepare essays in advance and practice answers in case asked in an in-person interview.

Below is a list of commonly asked college creative writing prompts, whether used in admission essays or directly asked in student interviews.

College essays are intended to reveal the aspects of a student's personality that test scores won't show, as well as test someone's writing skills.
College essays are intended to reveal the aspects of a student's personality that test scores won't show, as well as test someone's writing skills. | Source

College Creative Writing Prompts

  • Why should we admit you over all of the other applicants?
  • What would you do if we did not admit you?
  • What contributions would you make to this school if admitted?
  • Describe what drives you.
  • What contributions can you make to society after attending this school that you could not make after graduating from other schools?
  • Why do you want to attend our school and not other schools?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Describe an experience that marked the transition from child to adult for you.
  • Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
  • How do you think you will look back on your college experience in ten years?
  • How will you look back on it in twenty years?
  • Describe a time that you challenged a belief or idea. What belief did you challenge? Why did you react and how?
  • What makes you a better fit with our school than the ten applicants you are competing against?
  • Why did you pick our school?
  • How will your presence enrich the lives of students and instructors here?
  • How will this school help you achieve your long term objectives?
  • What would you consider the ideal student at our university to be like?
  • How will attending our school help you succeed in life?
  • Describe a time that you failed. You may describe what you learned from this experience or how you recovered.
  • What do you consider the defining moment of your life?
  • Describe a time you took a risk. What risk did you take, and why did you take that risk?
  • What experience changed your outlook in life and how?
  • If you could change one moment in your life, what would it be and why?
  • What differentiates you or makes you unique?
  • What have you accomplished in the past two years that had nothing to do with academics?
  • What would you consider your personal motto or personal statement?
  • If you could be any animal in history, what animal would you be and why?
  • What do you consider the most important social or political movement in history?
  • What advice would you give to your eighth grade self?
  • What is the best advice you've ever received, and how have you applied it to your life?
  • What would a page in your autobiography say?
  • What is the most embarrassing moment in your life, and how has it affected you?
  • What political or social issue today matters the most to you and why?
  • Who is your role model and why?
  • What historical person has had the greatest impact on your life? What was that impact?

Give Your Input

If you were asked a different question on a college essay, tell us about it in the comments.


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