How To Get Accepted With Common App Essay #4

Option #4: 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.

Colleges are looking for students who are passionate about making a positive impact on their communities.    They want students who are able to understand the complex factors that lead to many of our world’s problems and have the analytical, critical thinking, decision-making and communication skills to solve them.

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 4 in this context:

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.

Here’s how I suggest you attack this prompt:

10% - 15% - Describe a problem that is of personal importance to you.

15% - 20% - What makes this particular problem significant to you? Why?

20% - 30% - What are the obstacles to solving this problem?  Why hasn’t this problem already been solved?

30% - 50% - How does your solution overcome each of the obstacles you outlined?  What will be the impact of solving this problem?

To learn where most students go wrong in Essay Option 4, 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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