There's been a definite shift in college apps essay questions, with some schools - hello, University of Chicago, Wake Forest and Cal Tech! - getting very creative with their essay prompts and others (including Tufts and Pitzer) turning to video essays.
Now the Common Application has joined the party with the first major essay shift to come along in years. Instead of asking students to reflect, for example, on a major event or ethical dilemma and its personal impact, one of the new questions asks applicants to "Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?" Um, they want to know about your happy place? There are other changes afoot too. You'll find the lowdown here.