How To Get Accepted With Common App Essay #2

Option #2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

As the saying goes "The road to success is paved with failure."  Failures, challenges, and setbacks teach us important lessons.  In addition to adding in a bit of humility into an application that, otherwise, lauds your achievements, this essay prompt also gives insight into your character.  Are you a risk taker?  How do you respond when you don’t get your way?  How do you deal with setbacks?  Do you give up or do you find another way?  And, perhaps the most important question one could pose to an aspiring college student: are you teachable? 

How to answer the question:

When answering any question, read the question carefully and break it into its component pieces.  Of the 650 word limit, what portion of your essay “real estate” should go to each section of the prompt?  Let’s revisit Option 2 in this context:

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Here’s how I suggest you attack this prompt:

20% - 35% - a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure

30% - 50% - how did it affect you (how did you react?)

40% - 50% - what lessons did you learn

To learn where most students go wrong in Essay Option 2, read examples from successful applicants and to get step-by-step instructions on how to leverage the essay as part of a compelling strategy that will help you earn admissions to your top choice colleges, get The Complete Candidate: A Comprehensive System for Solving the College Admissions Puzzle, available on Amazon.

 

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