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common-app-essaysThese prompts are designed to elicit information that will strengthen the other components of the application.

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.

Do you miss the ‘Topic of your Choice’ prompt? Then this is the prompt you should go for. This prompt knows no limitations. You are free to write about anything and everything under the sun which you feel has made a difference in your life. Write about your creepiest adventure that made you realize the value of life or your love for football that has shaped you as a great team-worker. Why not detail about your background that you feel is unique and has taught you the values that you are most proud of.

The Universities want to know you, and what better way to tell them about yourself than sharing the most precious details of your life; the things which define you; make you who you are.

The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Through this prompt, the admission committee wants to understand whether you have the ability to handle failures. How positive and adept you are when it comes to learning from failures? Brainstorm for the gravest failed attempt of your life so far. Along with detailing the incident, mention why you think you failed? What did you learn from the experience? What life skills the incident helped you to garner? If faced with the situation again, what would you do differently? Remember not to lament about the failure; present it as a positive experience that has helped you to mature and become a more confident individual. After all, you now know how to handle challenges!

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Usually people follow common beliefs or ideas blindly. It takes courage to question the stereotype. The tender age you are in, you need to have courage to in fact question ‘anything’ the elders say. So, if you have ever stood against an idea or belief, this is the time to talk about it. However, remember the admissions committee is not looking for rebels, but individuals who at a young age possess the intelligence to go beyond age old beliefs and question. The issue you choose to write about must not be too sensitive. And you must be able to justify each sentence you present here with well-crafted thoughts.

Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. 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.

If you choose to answer this question, you will have to brainstorm for a problem that has bothered you. It could be a situation at school or in family. If you ever played a vital role in resolving a family crisis or a team situation in school, think about it. If you had ever helped someone to come through a crisis, talk about it here. This would showcase your abilities to solve challenges. If any local or international level problem has caught your attention, discuss it here. However, you must be able to suggest a few solutions to the problem as well. If you are able to so effectively, your essay would surely stand out!

Who doesn’t like a person who is not only able to identify problems but also provide solutions to them? However, remember to create impact, the problem you choose to talk about should be grave.

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Few events occur in our life that transform us to a great extent. The event could be as small as the time when you received your driver’s license and begin travelling alone or a serious adversity within the family that forced you to act in a matured way and once you did, your outlook towards life changed drastically. If you choose this prompt to answer, make sure you have a true incident to talk about; narrate how you matured through the event; how it changed your outlook towards life. Remember stay positive throughout!