This is the third installment in a series of posts I’m doing about the Common Application essay prompts. Now that summer is here, it’s a great time to work on your essay so that you can take your time, let your mind wander and put together something that truly compliments your applications.
I’ve already talked about the first two essay prompts and what they’re asking you to do. If you missed them, here they are:
Today, I wanted to talk about the third prompt:
Prompt #3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
This prompt is a tricky one because you have to hit on three key aspects. First, in a reflective way, you have to retell a story where you challenged a belief or idea. Second, you have to provide insight as to why you challenged this belief or idea in the first place. What was your motivation to do what you did? Last, you have to make a judgment on whether or not you would do it again. And this part most definitely has to include perspective on WHY you would do it again. Just saying you would isn’t going to cut it.
This prompt gives you a chance to talk about your VIPS and can show that you have the ability to think critically about things that are bigger than you and that you possess the gumption to take action. Too many people fail to act on things simply because they aren’t strong enough to take the risk of standing up for what they truly believe in.
One student wrote about how she developed confidence through her involvement with an outdoors club. She wrote about how she perceived herself to be the least likely person to ever be considered a leader but as she learned to tackle daunting hikes and mountain climbs, she become more willing to get outside of her comfort zone. She started to feel differently about herself and, before she graduated, she had become head of her school’s handbell ensemble and captain of the outdoors club. She proved to herself and her entire school community that she was a leader, and a very capable one at that.
So, if you’ve ever encountered a situation where you took a chance and made a choice or did something that impacted you or someone else in a positive way, this could be a great prompt for you to explore. If not, there’s five essay prompts, so if you’re not sure you can write to all three aspects of this option, then consider going in another direction with your essay.
In my next post, I’m going to talk about the fourth Common Application essay prompt which asks you to write about a problem you’ve solved or would like to solve. Stay tuned…
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