After all, a college application should highlight your strengths and accomplishments, not draw attention to your failures and setbacks.
But before you shy away from this essay option, consider these points: Growing and maturing is all about encountering obstacles and learning from our failures. No college anywhere, ever, has admitted a student who hasn't failed at times. It's easy to boast about our accomplishments. It takes a greater level of confidence and maturity to acknowledge and examine the times when we struggled.
A student who can learn from failure is a student who will be successful in college. Every single one of the thousands of applications a college receives will highlight successes, awards, honors, and accomplishments. Very few will show the type of confidence and introspection required to explore setbacks and failures. If you can't tell, I'm a fan of this prompt. I would much rather read about an applicant's learning experience from failure than a catalog of triumphs.
That said, know yourself. Prompt 2 is one of the more challenging options. If you aren't good at introspection and self-analysis, and if you aren't comfortable with exposing a wart or two, then this may not be the best option for you. Break Down the Question If you do choose this prompt, read the question carefully. Let's break it down into four parts: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. This text was added to the prompt in and revised again in We can conclude from this addition that the colleges and universities that use the Common Application really want you to show how your encounter with an obstacle fits into the big picture of your personal growth and later accomplishments more on this in the fourth bullet point below.
Recount an incident or time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. This is the exposition of your essay -- the description of the challenge or failure that you are going to analyze. Keep in mind that the action requested here -- "recount" -- is the easy part of your essay. Recounting doesn't require a lot of high-level thinking. This is the plot summary. You'll need clear, engaging language, but you want to make sure you do the "recounting" as efficiently as possible.
Having practiced piano since the age of four, I was still unable to enjoy the art of performance. I realized that fear, brutal and relentless, inhibited my mind and buried all rational thought. But, I have built back the magic and beauty in my music and to even greater heights. For hours a day, the piano would have no peace as I laboriously carved each note and every melodic statement into my heart. Constantly reminding myself of my mastery and authority, I unhinged the parasitic fear leeching on my confidence.
And seeking all opportunities to perform, the stage became a home as I slowly took control of my fear. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? The Core of the Essay Prompt The point of this essay prompt is to show admissions how you handle yourself when you are knocked down. How do you get back on your feet? How do you persevere through difficult times?
Admissions officers want to know and understand how you confront road bumps in your life. Why is this important? Because college is not going to be smooth sailing and you are expected to handle challenging situations on your own. Unlike in high school, you are responsible for your own actions, curriculum, and career.
While there is the support and resources available, you have to learn how to ask for help. So, how do you talk about these obstacles? How are those different and what are some examples? Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. The Common App likely made the changes to focus less on failure, because it sounds a little harsh and likely difficult for high school students to identify.
This new prompt that was announced for the last application season allows you to think more broadly about the difficulties they faced, and reach a wider range of essay topics. So, what considers a challenge, a setback or a failure? Those words can mean different things for different people, and all of them are right. Placing second in a national competition can be a failure to you and it can be an achievement to someone else.
A setback can be an career-ending injury, and it can also be a not getting the funding you were promised for a project. That said, there are some absolute caveats to the rule.
Remember, you want to demonstrate growth. Whatever topic you choose should also be very specific. One of our writers was hyper-active when she was a kid. Her family frequented a casual Japanese restaurant growing up, which her mom discovered also hosted Japanese tea ceremony classes.A year of lab practice taught me how little. Wisdom is college pressure essay summary you get from experience. Sure, Richard isn't the world's best baseball player, but I knew about ingredients, so my training continued with independent research on toxins. Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today.
Finally, we were free. Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay.
It takes a greater level of confidence and maturity to acknowledge and examine the times when we struggled. What happened? I was frustrated by this uncertainty, yet motivated to find ways of sharing what I was learning with others. There's nothing like a taste of failure to make sure you never experience it again. My father has gradually transformed from a frigid man to the loving father I always yearned for.
For hours a day, the piano would have no peace as I laboriously carved each note and every melodic statement into my heart. I returned to China a year later to lead my team through their first Chinese-hosted international competition. I went back to China that summer to bring robotics to my friends. I have used my hands and mind to tear down all barriers that separate people, no matter gender or nationality, from the inspiration and exploration of STEM. Here, you can craft an innovative essay that tackles a difficult topic for example, whether to raise or lower taxes or presents information with a unique format such as a conversation with an historical figure.
Trying to fill the void for a familiar community, I got involved with the Association of Latin American students, where I am now an Executive Officer. As I delve into the narrative with a sip of sweet tea, I feel at home. I know this because I failed and it turned me around in a way that modest or even spectacular success could not have. What type of obstacle will lead to the best essay? The teacher weighted improvement over other concerns. I was embarrassed to tell people that my hobby was collecting cosmetics and that I wanted to become a cosmetic chemist.
He loved her in an unhealthy way, and was both physically and verbally abusive. Why should they? I refused to remove the post, but decided to stay silent. Why This Essay Works This essay is a good example of how to turn an ostensible weakness into a strength. I rode the subway from Cambridge University to the British Museum.