This just in from the Common Application:
While we are not ready to release the final prompts just yet, we can say this: the essay instructions will not be changing. And within those instructions is this question and advice for students: "What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response."
Regardless of the final prompts, that leading question should be at the heart of any essay a student writes. To those of you eager to begin, we invite you to spend some time considering what you want to tell colleges about yourself — which is quite different than predicting what colleges want to hear. Whatever you decide, there will be an essay prompt to guide and support your story.