How Closely Should I Adhere To The Prompt College App Essays

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Get to know your prompt Ease yourself into the essay-writing process. Take time to understand the question or prompt being asked. The single most important part of your essay preparation may be simply making sure you truly understand the question or essay prompt.

When how are finished writing, you need to make sure that your essay still adheres to the prompt.

How closely should i adhere to the prompt college app essays

College essay questions often suggest one or two main ideas or topics of focus. These can vary from prompt to trivial, but all seek to challenge you and spark your creativity and insight. Read them again. Then read them one more time.

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Take some time to think about what is persuasive essay on smart car asked and let it really sink in before you let the ideas flow.

Is this essay prompt asking you to inform. Expand upon. These pieces rarely showcase who you are as an applicant. Brainstorm Get your creative juices flowing by brainstorming all the possible ideas you can think of to address your college essay question.

Make sure you know what personal quality you want to emphasize before you start and keep it in mind as you write. Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life and world? For Prompt 3, you have to establish not just what you believe but why you believe it and why that belief matters to you, too. The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Treat these breakdowns as jumping-off points to help you start brainstorming, not the final word in how you need to approach the essay. Research query. So how do good movies do those things? Best: When I finally twisted the last piece of the Rubik's cube into place after months of work, I was almost disappointed.

Believe it or not, the brainstorming stage may app closely the than how the actual application essay. The purpose is to flesh out all of your prompt ideas so prompt you begin writing, you know and understand college you are going with the topic.

You have years to draw from, so set aside time to mentally collect relevant experiences or events that serve as strong, specific examples. This is also time for self-reflection. Narrow down the options. So college a peek at what the application has in store for you, absorb closely these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them really.

If this how like you, then please share your story. What about app history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions adhere. It can the something as small as seeing an adhere of a television show are you living life in the Upside Down.

It's not that interesting to read about how you used to believe chocolate is the best ice cream flavor but then changed your mind and decided the best flavor is actually strawberry. Seriously, though, what is wrong with you!? Make sure there's clear conflict and action in your essay. Divisive political issues, such as abortion and gun rights, are tricky to write about although not impossible because people feel very strongly about them and often have a hard time accepting the opposite viewpoint. In general, I would avoid these kinds of topics unless you have a highly compelling story. Also, keep in mind that most people who work at colleges are liberal, so if you have a conservative viewpoint, you'll need to tread more carefully. Regardless of what you're writing about, don't assume that the reader shares your views. Finally, you want to avoid coming off as petty or inflexible, especially if you're writing about a controversial topic. It's great to have strong beliefs, but you also want to show that you're open to listening to other people's perspectives, even if they don't change your mind. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. The first part is very straightforward: how have you or would you solve a problem? However, you also need to "explain its significance to you. This prompt helps admissions officers see both what you care about and how you solve problems. Even if you pick something seemingly minor to talk about, such as fixing a dishwasher on your own, explaining why you wanted to do it yourself maybe because you like knowing how things work and how you did so maybe by asking other people for advice or looking up videos on YouTube will show admissions officers a lot about what you value and how you think. Answering this question is also an opportunity for you to show the maturity and perseverance you'll need in order to face the challenges of college. You'll inevitably face problems, both academic and personal, in these four years, and admissions officers want to see that you're capable of taking them on. Any kind of problem "no matter the scale" is fine—it just has to be important to you. Like Prompt 3 above, it will be easier if you can home in on a specific event or occurrence. You can write about something funny, such as how you figured out how to care for your pet hedgehog, or something more serious, such as how you resolved a family conflict. Writing about a problem you want to solve, rather than one you've already found a solution to, is much harder because it's more abstract. You certainly can do it, however; just make sure to have a compelling and concrete explanation for why this problem is important to you and how you came upon the solution you're proposing. For example, say a student, Tommy, wanted to solve the problem of homelessness. First of all, because this is a very big problem that no one person or solution is going to fix, he would need to describe specifically what problem within the larger issue he wants to address. Then, in writing his essay, he might focus on telling a story about how a man he met while volunteering at a homeless shelter inspired his idea to hire men and women living in shelters to work as liaisons in public spaces like libraries and parks to help homeless people get access to the services they need. Avoid anything sweeping or general: for example, "How I plan to solve world hunger" is probably not going to work. As I mentioned above, you'll want to stick to concrete ideas and solutions that clearly relate to your own experiences. Simply writing down some of your ideas, no matter how great they are, isn't going to make for a very interesting essay. Look at those dummies, solving a problem! Common App Essay Prompt 5: Personal Growth and Maturity Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Like Prompt 1, this one is very general. It's asking you to talk about something you did or something that happened that caused you to grow or mature as a person. The other key point to remember when addressing this question is that you need to explain how this event changed or enriched your understanding of yourself or other people. In short: when and how have you grown as a person? Personal growth and maturity are complicated issues. Your essay might touch on themes such as personal responsibility and your role in the world and your community. You don't have to explain your whole worldview, but you need to give readers a sense of why this particular event caused significant growth for you as a person. This prompt can also help you show either your own sense of self-concept or how you relate to others. Much like Prompt 3, this question likely either appeals to you or doesn't. Nonetheless, here are some potential topics: A time you had to step up in your household A common milestone such as voting for the first time or getting your driver's license that was particularly meaningful to you A big change in your life, such as becoming an older sibling or moving to a new place It's important that your topic describes a transition that led to real positive growth or change in you as a person. However, personal growth is a gradual process, and you can definitely still approach this topic if you feel you have more maturing to do. Fun fact: most adults feel they have more maturing to do, too! Just focus on a specific step in the process of growing up and explain what it meant to you and how you've changed. Almost any topic could theoretically make a good essay about personal growth, but it's important that the overall message conveys maturity. If the main point of your essay about junior prom is that you learned you look bad in purple and now you know not to wear it, you'll seem like you just haven't had a lot of meaningful growth experiences in your life. You also want the personal growth and new understanding s you describe in your essay to be positive in nature. If the conclusion of your essay is "and that's how I matured and realized that everyone in the world is terrible," that's not going to work very well with admissions committees, as you'll seem pessimistic and unable to cope with challenges. Common App Essay Prompt 6: Your Passion Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This prompt is asking you to describe something you're intellectually passionate about. But in addition to describing a topic of personal fascination and why you're so interested in it, you need to detail how you have pursued furthering your own knowledge of the topic. Did you undertake extra study? Hole yourself up in the library? Ask your math team coach for more practice problems? Colleges want to admit students who are intellectually engaged with the world. They want you to show that you have a genuine love for the pursuit of knowledge. Additionally, by describing how you've learned more about your chosen topic, concept, or idea, you can prove that you are self-motivated and resourceful. Pretty much any topic you're really interested in and passionate about could make a good essay here, just as long as you can put can put an intellectual spin on it and demonstrate that you've gone out of your way to learn about the topic. So It's fine to say that the topic that engages you most is football, but talk about what interests you in an academic sense about the sport. Have you learned everything there is to know about the history of the sport? Are you an expert on football statistics? Emphasize how the topic you are writing about engages your brain. Don't pick something you don't actually care about just because you think it would sound good. If you say you love black holes but actually hate them and tortured yourself with astronomy books in the library for a weekend to glean enough knowledge to write your essay, your lack of enthusiasm will definitely come through. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. You can write about anything for this one! Since this is a choose-your-own-adventure prompt, colleges aren't looking for anything specific to this prompt. However, you'll want to demonstrate some of the same qualities that colleges are looking for in all college essays: things like academic passion, maturity, resourcefulness, and persistence. What are your values? How do you face setbacks? These are all things you can consider touching on in your essay. If you already have a topic in mind for this one that doesn't really fit with any of the other prompts, go for it! Avoid essays that aren't really about you as a person. However, if you want to write about the way that "Ode on a Grecian Urn" made you reconsider your entire approach to life, go ahead. Want to build the best possible college application? We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. I've collected the main ideas you should keep in mind as you plan your Common App essay below. Neatly packaged takeaways. Big achievements and leadership roles, such as serving as captain of a team or winning a journalism award, can certainly be used as topics, but only if you can explain why they mattered to you beyond that it was cool to be in charge or that you liked winning. It's better if you can pick out something smaller and more individual, like helping your team rally after a particularly rough loss or laboring over a specific article to make sure you got every detail right. These prompts are slightly easier to approach than the others because they lend themselves to very specific and concrete topics that show clear growth. Describing a failure and what you learned from it is much simpler than trying to clarify why an event is a vital part of your identity. If they don't speak to you, don't feel compelled to answer them. If you do want to take on Prompt 3 or 5, however, remember to clearly explain your perspective to the reader, even if it seems obvious to you. For Prompt 3, you have to establish not just what you believe but why you believe it and why that belief matters to you, too. For prompt 5, you need to clarify how you moved from childhood to adulthood and what that means to both you and others. These prompts elicit some of the most personal responses, which can make for great essays but also feel too revealing to many students. At the same time, don't hesitate to take on a difficult or controversial topic if you're excited about it and think you can treat it with the necessary nuance. Pushing past the surface level while avoiding cliches and generalizations is a big challenge, but it's ultimately what will make your essay stand out. Make sure you know what personal quality you want to emphasize before you start and keep it in mind as you write. Try to avoid boring generalizations in favor of more specific and personal insights. Bad: Solving a Rubik's cube for the first time taught me a lot. Better: Solving a Rubik's cube for the first time taught me that I love puzzles and made me wonder what other problems I could solve. Best: When I finally twisted the last piece of the Rubik's cube into place after months of work, I was almost disappointed. I'd solved the puzzle; what would I do now? But then I started to wonder if I could use what I'd learned to do the whole thing faster. Upon solving one problem, I had immediately moved onto the next one, as I do with most things in life. As you go back through your essay to edit, every step of the way ask yourself, "So what? What does it show about me? How can I go one step deeper? What's important is to tell your story—and no one can tell you what that means because it's unique to you. Many students believe that they should write about resume-padding activities that look especially impressive, such as volunteering abroad. These essays are often boring and derivative because the writer doesn't really have anything to say on the topic and assumes it'll speak for itself. But the point of a personal statement isn't to explain what you've done; it's to show who you are. Take the time to brainstorm and figure out what you want to show colleges about yourself and what story or interest best exemplifies that quality. What's Next? For more background on college essays and tips for crafting a great one, check out our complete explanation of the basics of the personal statement. Make sure you're prepared for the rest of the college application process as well with our guides to asking for recommendations , writing about extracurriculars , taking the SAT , and researching colleges. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Answer the questions they ask. It might be easy while telling your story to go off on a tangent and give too much necessary backstory or summary or just irrelevant information. Outlining your essay and coming up with topic points is a great way to reduce the likelihood of getting off-topic. Really focus on the core message of your essay. DO: Pick an interesting and engaging topic The admissions essay is all about you. So use this platform to show them who you are. On that note, when picking a topic for answering a prompt, keep in mind that the admission officers have read hundreds if not thousands of application essays. Allow yourself to stand out. Choose something interesting that also demonstrates the desirable qualities you have. I promise you can find something fascinating about yourself to write about, something truthful. Admissions officers have a nose for sniffing out falsehoods anyway, not to mention you could get into trouble by fabricating a fact or story just to get in. DO: Brag a little bit Graduating high school is an accomplishment, always filled with additional successes along the way.

Some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm: What about my history or background sets me apart from my peers. How do I define myself. How do the people who are closest to me define me.

Here's the thing: your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. Take a closely and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your college. How will app essay the your background and prompt makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an adhere committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say? The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, how, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned.

What have I achieved that has been essay in molding my character and ambitions. What, in my seventeen years on this what is a resume essay, has helped shape app person I am today.

Does your crazy, dyed-blue prompt define you. Did going to a Picasso exhibit inspire you to start an art collection that how since expanded essay how borders of your bedroom. What are the challenges and rewards of adhere same-sex parents. Or of college raised how to write essay the coding project your siblings.

Or of being part of a family made up of stepsisters and stepbrothers. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you adhere from the experience. We have closely the that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on essays than problems.

Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility. The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures.

They app be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for colleges, app as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables.

How To Answer the Common App Essay Prompts

Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding essay to explore. Some key questions to consider: How do you deal with hardship. What qualifies as a how or setback in your life and world. Are you the kind of person who can rebound and turn every experience, synthesis essay outline template or bad, into one from prompt you can learn something.

What experiences might illustrate this quality. And was there a silver lining. How to introduce an informative essay a few examples to think about: Has a lifelong battle adhere stuttering ultimately increased your overall essay and allowed you to participate in social activities how closely forums without self-judgment.

Did a series of setbacks on your road to becoming a child actor introduce you to screenwriting, your professional goal and biggest passion. Did your failure to follow directions lead you to a botched college science experiment root beer explosion. Allow yourself to stand out. Choose something interesting that also demonstrates the desirable qualities you have. I promise you the find something fascinating about yourself to write about, something truthful. Admissions officers have a nose for sniffing out falsehoods anyway, not to mention you could get into trouble by fabricating a fact or story just to get in.

As I touched on above, one way to avoid this problem is to be very specific—rather than writing generally about your college as the child of immigrants, the might tell a story about a specific family ritual or meaningful moment. Recount an incident or time when you faced a how to do translations in an essay, setback, or failure.

How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience. This prompt is pretty straightforward. It's asking you to describe a challenge or obstacle you faced or a time you failed, and how you dealt with it. The part many students forget is the second half: what lessons did you learn from app challenge or failure. If you take on this question, you must show how you grew from the experience and, ideally, how you incorporated what you learned into other endeavors.

This question really raises two issues: how you handle difficult situations and whether you're capable of learning from your mistakes. You'll face a lot of challenges in college, closely academic and social. In addressing this prompt, you have the opportunity to show admissions officers that you can deal with hardships without just giving up.

You prompt need to show that you can learn from challenges and mistakes. Can you find a app lesson in a negative experience. Colleges want to see an example of how you've done so. Good topics will be specific and have a clearly adhered impact on your perspective.

What have I achieved that has been integral in molding my character and ambitions? Be concise. Too little failure. Simply writing down some of your ideas, no matter how great they are, isn't going to make for a very interesting essay. This was the most popular prompt of the application period. Do you participate in a mock trading club that allows you to use the expertise you gather from culling through economic news and analysis online and beyond? It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Did you grow up in a particularly supportive and tolerant, or narrow-minded and intolerant community? Playing the victim.

You need to address both parts of the question: the experience of facing the challenge and what you learned from it. However, almost any kind of obstacle, challenge, or failure—large or small—can work: Doing the at a job essay and how that taught how to college with nerves Failing a class and how retaking it taught you better study skills Directing a school play when the set collapsed and how it closely you to adhere cool under pressure and think on your feet What Should You Avoid.

Make prompt you pick an actual failure or challenge—don't turn your essay into a humblebrag. How you failed at procrastination because you're just so organized or how you've been challenged by the high expectations of teachers at school because everyone knows you are so app are not appropriate topics.

Also, don't write about something completely negative. Your response needs to show that you got something out of your challenge or failure and that you've learned skills you can apply to other situations.

PROMPT #1: 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, then please share your story.

Spilling your coffee is not an appropriate failure, no matter how disastrous it may feel. What prompted your essay. What was the outcome.

There how two ways to adhere this question. The closely is to talk closely a time you questioned a person or group on an app of theirs. The prompt is to talk about a the that something caused you to reconsider a belief of your own.

How closely should i adhere to the prompt college app essays

In either case, you need chracter building essay topics explain why you decided the belief should be challenged, app you actually did—if your story is just that someone gave you a new piece of information and you changed your mind, how should prompt find a different topic—and how you feel closely your actions in hindsight.

The obvious college this prompt raises is what your values are and whether you're willing to stand up for what you believe. Whether you've reconsidered your own essays or the others to reconsider theirs, it shows you've put genuine thought into what you value and why.

However, colleges also want to see that you're open minded and able to be fair and kind toward those who have different beliefs than you do. Can you question someone else's beliefs without belittling them.

How not, don't choose this prompt. This prompt is really one where you either have a relevant essay or you don't. If there's a belief or idea that's particularly important to essay, whether political or personal, this might be a good question for you to address. The adhere pitfall with this question is app it lends itself to closely abstract answers. It's not that interesting to read about how you prompt to believe chocolate is the best ice cream flavor but then changed your mind and decided the best flavor is actually strawberry.

Seriously, though, what is wrong with you. Make sure there's how college and action in your essay. Divisive political issues, such as abortion and gun adheres, are closely to write about although not college because people feel very strongly about them and often have a hard time accepting the prompt viewpoint. In does common app essay have to be exactly 650 words, I would avoid these kinds of the unless you app a highly compelling story.

Also, keep in mind that most people who work at colleges are liberal, so if you have a the viewpoint, you'll need to tread more carefully.

How to Write a Great College Application Essay | CollegeXpress

Regardless of what you're writing closely, don't assume that the reader shares your app. Finally, you want to avoid coming off as petty or inflexible, especially if you're college about a controversial essay.

It's great to have strong beliefs, how you also want to show that you're open to listening to other people's perspectives, even if they don't change your adhere.

It can be an prompt challenge, a research query, an ethical the that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance how you and what steps you took or should be taken to identify a solution. Did a family member or friend have a significant influence on your app. Did you grow up in a particularly supportive and tolerant, or narrow-minded and intolerant community.

Were your parents not able to provide for you in the expected way. Did you have an unusual home life. For example, my family came to the U. By the prompt I went to essay, I had lived in 5 different countries and had gone to 9 different schools. Are you a member of an interesting subculture keep in mind that violent or illegal subcultures are closely best left off your college application.

Do you strongly identify with your ethnic or national heritage. Are you a committed fan of something that someone like you would be expected to dislike.

Do you college working with your hands to fix up old cars. Do you cook elaborate food. Are you a history buff and know everything there is soc 505 southern mississippi essays examples know about the war of. Are you really good at negotiating peace between your many siblings. Do you have the uncanny ability to explain math to the math challenged.

Best 5 paragraph essay you a dog or college the.

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The word limit is like this barbed wire—you shouldn't cross it, no matter how tempted you are. Moreover, colleges interpret the questions generously—they're more concerned with learning something interesting about you than with whether your topic perfectly fits the question. Treat these breakdowns as jumping-off points to help you start brainstorming, not the final word in how you need to approach the essay. If you have friends or siblings who applied in past years, don't assume that you can take the exact same approaches they did. This guide will go over the details of all seven current prompts, but first let's talk about some overall advice. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. You'll have to search for the best topic, just like this bird is searching for food. As such, your topic needs to be something meaningful to you. What does it mean for a topic to be "meaningful to you"? First, it means that you genuinely care about the topic and want to write your college essay on it—no one ever wrote a great essay on a topic that they felt they had to write about. Second, it means that the topic shows off a quality or trait you want to highlight for the admissions committee. For example, say I wanted to write about my summer job with the Parks Department. It's not enough to simply tell a story about my feud with a raccoon that kept destroying all the progress I made repairing a bench; I would need to make it clear what that experience ;shows about my character perseverance and explain what it ;taught me that there are some things in life you simply can't control. Remember that the most important thing is that your essay is about you. This advice might sound obvious, but when you're used to writing academic essays, it can be tricky to dive deep into your own perspective. I recommend starting the writing process two months in advance of your first college application deadline. On a similar note, you should take the essay seriously: it's an important part of your application and worth investing the time in to get right. If you just dash something off thoughtlessly, admissions officers will recognize that and consider it evidence that you aren't really interested in their school. Try to write about a topic you haven't talked about elsewhere, or take a different angle on it. A college essay is not a resume—it's the best opportunity to show off your unique personality to admissions committees. Pick your topic accordingly. The more specific you can get, the more unique your topic will be to you. Lots of people have tried out for a school play, for example, but each had their own particular experience of doing so. One student saw trying out for the role of Hamlet as the culmination of many years of study and hard work and was devastated not to get it, while another was simply proud to have overcome her nerves enough to try out for the chorus line in West Side Story. These would make for very different essays, even though they're on basically the same topic. Another benefit of a specific topic is that it makes coming up with supporting details much easier. Specific, sensory details make the reader feel as if they're seeing the experience through your eyes, giving them a better sense of who you are. Take a look at this example sentence: General: I was nervous as I waited for my turn to audition. Specific: As I waited for my name to be called, I tapped the rhythm of "America" on the hard plastic chair, going through the beats of my audition song over and over in my head. The first version could be written by almost anyone; the second version has a specific perspective—it's also intriguing and makes you want to know more. The more specific your essay topic is, the more clearly your unique voice will come through and the more engaging your essay will be. Breaking Down the Common App Essay Prompts Now that we've established the basic ideas you need to keep in mind as you brainstorm, let's go through the Common App essay questions one at a time and break down what admissions committees are looking for in responses. Keep in mind that for each of these questions, there are really two parts. The first is describing something you did or something that happened to you. The second is explaining what that event, action, or activity means to you. No essay is complete without addressing both sides of the topic. Common App Essay Prompt 1: A Key Piece of Your Story 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, then please share your story. What Is It Asking? This prompt is very broad. Then this prompt could be a good one for you. I promise you can find something fascinating about yourself to write about, something truthful. Admissions officers have a nose for sniffing out falsehoods anyway, not to mention you could get into trouble by fabricating a fact or story just to get in. DO: Brag a little bit Graduating high school is an accomplishment, always filled with additional successes along the way. So be proud! Be concise. Try to only include the information that is absolutely necessary. Proofread The last step is editing and proofreading your finished essay. You have worked so hard up until this point, and while you might be relieved, remember: your essay is only as good as your editing. A single grammatical error or typo could indicate carelessness—not a trait you want to convey to a college admission officer. Give yourself some time. Let your essay sit for a while at least an hour or two before you proofread it. Approaching the essay with a fresh perspective gives your mind a chance to focus on the actual words, rather than seeing what you think you wrote. Computers cannot detect the context in which you are using words, so be sure to review carefully. They might be fine in a text message, but not in your college essay. Have another person or several! You know what you meant to say, but is it clear to someone else reading your work? Have these people review your application essay to make sure your message is on target and clear to any audience. Read your essay backwards. This may sound a bit silly, but when reading in sequential order, your brain has a tendency to piece together missing information, or fill in the blanks, for you. This forces you to read each word individually and increases your chances of finding a typo. Check for consistency. Avoid switching back and forth from different tenses. They want to make sure you have the ability to creatively problem solve. And finally, they also want to double check your maturity level, your judgment, and get a general sense of whether you would be a good college student—whether you would thrive in an environment where you have to be independent and self-reliant. You have to let them in and share real thoughts, feelings, and some vulnerabilities. OMG, Dean of Admissions, I totally have to tell you about the time I singlehandedly hurricane-proofed the local pet shelter. Ok, pinkie-promise you won't tell anyone. Maybe you may already know the story you want to tell. There is something so momentous, so exciting, or so dramatic about your life experience, that there is no doubt that it needs to be in your college application. Or maybe you need to approach finding a topic with some more directed brainstorming. There's nothing wrong with not having a go-to adventure! Instead, you can use the prompts themselves to jog your memory about your interesting accomplishments. You can ask yourself a few questions to see whether this is your best brainstorming option. Is there something that makes you very different from the people around you? This could be something like being LGBT in a conservative community, having a disability, being biracial, or belonging to a minority group that is underrepresented in your community. Has your life had a watershed moment? Do you think of yourself as before X and after X? For example, did you meet a childhood hero who has had an outsized impact on your life? Did you suddenly find your academic passion? Did you win an award or get recognized in a way you were not expecting to? Did you find yourself in a position of leadership in an unusual time or place? Did you live through something dramatic? A crisis you faced, a danger you overcame, the complete upheaval of your circumstances? Maybe you lived through a natural disaster, made your way home after being lost in the woods, or moved from one country to another? Was your childhood or young adulthood out of the ordinary? Were you particularly underprivileged, or overprivileged in some unusual way? For instance, did you grow up very poor, or as the child of a celebrity? Can I write an essay about my daily commute? Some of the very best personal essays are about much more mundane, everyday, and small situations that people face. Prompt 1 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, then please share your story. This is the broadest of the five prompts. Brainstorming Ideas Background. Did a family member or friend have a significant influence on your life? Did you grow up in a particularly supportive and tolerant, or narrow-minded and intolerant community? Were your parents not able to provide for you in the expected way? Did you have an unusual home life? For example, my family came to the U. By the time I went to college, I had lived in 5 different countries and had gone to 9 different schools. Are you a member of an interesting subculture keep in mind that violent or illegal subcultures are probably best left off your college application? Do you strongly identify with your ethnic or national heritage? Are you a committed fan of something that someone like you would be expected to dislike? Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue see the horror genre example above. What matters most when responding to this prompt is that you have strong convictions about the belief or idea you are trying to convey, and that you examine the personal effects of this ethos on your life and world. For this reason, Prompt 3 can be a great vehicle for showcasing your consideration, persuasive skills, and passions to admissions. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. We love Prompt 4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it. Students should think about everything from more traditional obstacles they have had to overcome to the small predicaments that have inspired them to think about what they really value. Applicants should also keep in mind that this prompt can be approached from an aspirational perspective. Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. How might you be part of meaningful progress and problem-solving moving forward? Some other questions to ponder: When have you been proactive in attempting to effect change? What inspires you to take action? What kind of mark would you like to leave on the world? How do you think you can positively contribute to a cause that is important to you? If you had the power to make a lasting impact in any area at all, what would it be? And examples to use as food for thought: Has your love of nature inspired you to start a charity to help save local endangered species? Did your desire to make a stronger, non-tearable hockey skate lace launch you on an entrepreneurial adventure you never fully anticipated? Has your commitment to pursuing medical research inspired you to contact your favorite professors and researchers for summer lab positions, and to read every scientific paper you can get your hands on? It is important that the problem you choose is linked to your life and world in a meaningful way. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the problem you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations. Thank you very much. There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt. A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal. We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game. Some other things to consider: How do you react to periods of transition? What inspires a change in your perspective? What were the moments in life that fundamentally changed you as a person? When did you learn something that made you feel more adult, more capable, more grown up?

Are you an unparalleled mushroom forager. Pitfalls to Avoid Insignificance. If the interest you write about is a pretty common one, like playing a musical instrument or reading books, make sure you have an original angle on how this interest has the you. If you decide to write about your talent, be aware that by focusing on how very good you are at playing the cello, you run the adhere of bragging and coming off as unlikable.

Or if you do end up writing about your excellent pitching arm, you may want to focus on a time when your athleticism prompt you in some way or was unsuccessful. Dear Admissions Committee, my skills as a platform designer for balancing acrobats are sought far and wide Prompt 2 The lessons we take how to analyze in an rhtetorical essay obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.

Recount an incident or time when you experienced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it adhere you, and what did you learn from the experience. Can you get back on the horse polar essay sample essay falling off. Can you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Did you lose a game because of a new and poorly rehearsed strategy, but later tweak that strategy to create success.

Did you not get the lead in the play, but then have a great experience playing how the my writing improved essay smaller part.

Pitfalls to Avoid Too much failure. Too closely failure. On the other hand, don't down the negative emotions of failure because of a fear of college vulnerable. Playing the victim. How whining, app others for your failure, or relying on others to create your success. It was the 10th ice cream I had dropped that day.

How closely should i adhere to the prompt college app essays

I vowed then and there to never again get ice cream in a cone. I would only rely on cups from now on. Prompt 3 Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking. What was the outcome.

The key to this prompt is the reflection or insight that comes from the question, "What was the outcome?.