Personal Challenge Essay

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However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values.

If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt.

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.

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.This prompt may seem to go against everything that you've learned on your path to college.It's far more comfortable in an application to celebrate successes and accomplishments than it is to discuss setbacks and failure.Your essay is an important tool for presenting something you find important that may not come across elsewhere in your application.Make sure your essay presents you as the type of person a college will want to invite to join their community.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.The current prompts are the result of much discussion and debate from the member institutions who use the Common Application.The essay length limit stands at 650 words (the minimum is 250 words), and students will need to choose from the seven options below.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.

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