Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community.
This meant transferring the family. And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. But preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned. Sam had become withdrawn and lonely. While I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. We stayed up half the night talking.
He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain. We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Sam was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. This experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me.
What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion.
And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success i. Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well. Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome.
As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes. In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question. A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification.
The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be.
One of our consultants penned her experience of growing up with a unique name, and feeling pressured to be different from others. She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. Finally, she challenged this idea of being different for the sake of being different to discover her real interests.
She must be from somewhere exotic. She must be musical and artsy. When I was little, these sentiments felt more like commands than assumptions.
I thought I had to be the most unique child of all time, which was a daunting task, but I tried. I was the only kid in the second grade to color the sun red. During snack time, we could choose between apple juice and grape juice. I liked apple juice more, but if everyone else was choosing apple, then I had to choose grape. This was how I lived my life, and it was exhausting.
After 8th grade, I moved to Georgia. What values did you grow up holding dear? Are they the same ones today? Tell the story of the first time you learned about these values—say, a morning at Sunday School or a conversation with a grandparent. Is there a prevalent belief in your family or community with which you disagree? How did you come to disagree? Tell the story of a time you are proud of how you handled conflict in relation to this disagreement. When were you wrong about something?
Tell the story of how you figured out you were wrong. Who helped you get there? Prompt 4. What class assignments have gotten you thinking hardest? Tell the story of one of them.
What books or articles have you read that caused you to identify something wrong in the world? Who handed it to you? Who did you discuss it with afterward? How often have you reread that meaningful book or article? Is there a problem that comes up over the dinner table with your family regularly? How do you think about solving it as a family, or individually?
Tell the story of one of those dinners. What makes you angry or furious about the world? Tell the story of a time you saw something—visually—that provoked that anger or frustration. Describe images and your reactions. Prompt 5. They say a piece of short fiction is about a moment after which nothing will be the same again. Have you lived through one of those moments? What was it? Tell the story of the day that happened. Prompt 6.
What do you get up to? Set the scene: what rooms are you in in your house, or are you in your house at all? Where do you go? What do you bring with you? What activities have you self-started—that is, what have you done without ever being told to? Tell the story of the first day you started doing that thing.
What do your friends come to you seeking help with? Tell the story of a time when you think you did a great job of helping another person. Now, to make sure you stay humble, tell the story of when that person helped you. Freewriting is one of the fun parts, so the more you can do it, the better. There are a number of ways to approach freewriting, and all of them are meant to keep you limber, loose, and free.
Work in these for the summer. No need to get precious—no fancy Moleskins here, and no laptops or tablets unless you are physically unable to write by hand. Writing which is different from a tapping-on-a-keyboard-kind-of-story. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. If you are a member of the Class of , your time to start drafting is now!
You should aim to wrap up your Common App essay no later than early August, which will give you plenty of time to draft and perfect your essays for Common Application supplements, the Universal College App , and other institutional applications. Remember, if you want or need help with any part of your essay brainstorming and drafting, we are here to help you. We help students from around the world, and we are standing by ready to help you compose essays that will help you get into your dream colleges and universities.
Schedule a video chat with us to discuss your essay strategy or have one of our experts review and edit your current draft s today.
About Craig Meister Craig is the publisher of Admissions. Blog and founder of CollegeMeister. Would you make the same decision again?
What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? Raising the limit on the number of words allowed is also perceived by students to be helpful and allows them to express themselves more easily and completely.
For the application cycle, the length limit for the essay is words. Have you faced a disability, a mental or physical health issue, or other significant challenge while in high school?
An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation. Why does The Common App Essay—and other college essays—matter?
She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. I did whatever I thought would make me happy. The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Many applicants attempt to do too much with their essays and then struggle to edit them down to words.