How To Get Accepted With Common App Essay #5

Option #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

This essay is really asking about a defining experience.  What has propelled your personal or intellectual growth and really contributed to the adult you are becoming?  You might write about a formal event, such as a religious or cultural coming of age ceremony, like a Bar Mitzvah or a Quinceañera, a personal accomplishment or something as seemingly small as a conversation that changed your perspective.  The crux of this essay is your transformation.   How do you define personal growth and what has contributed to yours?

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:

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Here’s how I suggest you attack this prompt:

20% - 30% - discuss an accomplishment or event

20% - 40% - discuss how the experience impacted your personal growth

20% - 40% - discuss your new understanding of yourself or others

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