If your son had Googled “Common Application Essay Prompts,” he would have found this link from the Common App folks right at the top of his search results: https://appsupport.commonapp.org/link/portal/33011/33013/Article/1694/2014-15-Common-Application-Essay-Prompts
From there, he would have seen the list of the five prompts, which are:
–Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
–Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
— Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
–Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
–Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
I am the mother of a high school junior boy, too. I realize that I must pick my battles and that sometimes life can be a lot smoother when I take the lead on tasks that should be his to do. But I also realize that I’m probably doing my son a disservice in the long-run. So I suggest that, instead of handing your son these prompts, tell him to find them himself. You’ve got my list to give him in case he screws up, but I can almost guarantee that he won’t.
Good luck with the admissions maze ahead. I share your pain!