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Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.
Introspection and honesty are key with this prompt. The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group.
The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief.
In third place was Option #2 on a setback or failure. Always keep in mind why colleges are asking for an essay: they want to get to know you better.
Nearly all selective colleges and universities (as well as many that aren't overly selective) have holistic admissions, and they consider many factors in addition to numerical measures such as grades and standardized test scores.
The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story.
Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great.The essay prompts are designed to encourage reflection and introspection.If your essay doesn't include some self-analysis, you haven't fully succeeded in responding to the prompt.This question was reworded in 2017-18 admissions cycle, and the current language is a huge improvement.The prompt use to talk about transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but the new language about a "period of personal growth" is a much better articulation of how we actually learn and mature (no single event makes us adults).Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.Here, again, the Common Application gives you a lot of options for approaching the question.Your "interest" or "talent" could be a passion that has driven you to become the person you are today.However you approach the prompt, make sure you are inward looking and explain The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.According to the folks at the Common Application, in the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Option #7 (topic of your choice) was the most popular and was used by 24.1% of applicants.Second most popular was Option #5 (discuss an accomplishment) with 23.7% of applicants.