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How to Tackle the Costco Common App Essay Prompt for College Applications

One of the most daunting tasks for high school seniors is writing their college application essays. The Common App Essay, in particular, can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to the Costco prompt. How do you distinguish yourself from the rest? How do you make your essay stand out? Here’s a guide to ease your anxieties and set your ideas rolling.

Background: Understanding the Costco Common App Essay Prompt

The Costco prompt, specifically, is a relatively new Common App Essay prompt. It reads, “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.”

This prompt offers students the opportunity to delve into their personal experiences, knowledge or stories and share them in a unique, creative way.

Generating Ideas for the Essay: Drawing Inspiration from Personal Experiences

Drawing inspiration from personal experiences is a great way to start brainstorming for your essay. You don’t have to have been to Costco or even have a Costco membership to write a compelling essay. Your story may be about your mother’s shopping habits or your father’s love for a specific brand of coffee only found at a local store. It can be an experience in any store or location. Something that makes you ‘you.’ Once you have a list of experiences down, pick the one that speaks to you the most – the one that you can elaborate on with vivid descriptions, examples, and reflections.

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Tips to Crafting a Compelling Essay

You want your essay to be memorable and stand out among a sea of other college applications. Here are some tips to ensure your essay is a captivating read.

Use Language Effectively

No matter what your topic is, make sure your writing is clear, descriptive, and engaging. Use active voice instead of passive voice to make your writing more immediate and vivid.

Include Vivid Descriptions

Painting a picture with words is a great way to help your reader experience your story. Try to include specific details and sensory information that will bring your story to life

Have a Clear Thesis Statement

Tell the reader what your essay is about and what its purpose is. This is where you can stand out from the rest of the applicants. Your thesis, a sentence or two long, should be clear, concise, and engaging; it should grab the reader’s attention and hold it throughout the piece.

Dos and Don’ts of Writing the Essay


  • Be genuine:The essay is supposed to be about you, so let your voice, personality shine through.

  • Be reflective:Share your experiences and what they have taught you in life.

  • Be creative:Don’t be afraid to take some risks with your essay, to push the boundaries of what is expected.

  • Be memorable:Your essay should be one that the reader will remember long after they have put it down.


  • Don’t trivialize:Avoid writing about an experience that doesn’t accurately illustrate who you are as a person.

  • Don’t be too controversial:Don’t write about anything that could be deemed offensive.

  • Don’t rehash your resume:Avoid listing your activities and accomplishments.

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Revising and Editing the Essay

Edit as many times as possible; refine your ideas and keep them succinct. It’s always better to have a couple of different people read your essay and give feedback about how to improve it.


The Costco Common App Essay prompt is a unique opportunity for college-bound seniors to share their stories, knowledge, and personal experiences. With these tips, you are now better equipped to approach the prompt with confidence and create a captivating piece that will grab the reader’s attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I focus on the Costco aspect of the prompt?

A: While you can certainly incorporate specific details of your Costco experience, your essay doesn’t have to be about the store itself. Focus on your personal experience and how it has affected you.

Q: Can I have someone else write my essay for me?

A: No, the essay should be entirely the student’s work.

Q: Is there a specific word count for the essay?

A: The word count for the Common App essay is up to 650 words.

Q: What makes a good essay stand out?

A: A good essay is one that is honest, thought-provoking, and provides insight into the person behind the application.

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