How To Get Accepted With the Common App – Essay 3

Essay 6Option #3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Colleges are institutions of higher learning filled with people of varied backgrounds and different perspectives.  Students are encouraged to push their thinking through active debate and discussion. Colleges are looking for students who are both open to different perspectives but who also have the skill and the courage to stand up for their beliefs.

This essay is asking you three things:

  1. What beliefs or ideas do you deem important?
  2. Are you willing to go against the status quo and stand up for your beliefs?
  3. In reflecting on the incident, and the aftermath, was it worth it? Would you do it again?

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 3 in this context:

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Here’s how I suggest you attack this prompt:

  • 30% – 40% – Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. The belief can be cultural, political, social, scientific, theological, etc.  Choose a belief that is important to you and reveals something about your core values or ideology.
  • 30% – 50% – What prompted you to act? And what did you do?
  • 10% – 20% – What happened? Would you make the same decision again? Why or why not?

To learn where most students go wrong in Essay Option 3, 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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