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Manicurists and pedicurists nail salon business plan work on a commission basis first and eventually decide to open their own nail salons. Running your own nail salon has the potential to be a very profitable business with low overheads. The mostly female customers can pamper themselves with affordable manicures and pedicures, even when they cannot afford expensive spa visits. The nail salon business plan should begin with the company description that establishes the brand. There are a range of salon types, with some nail salons marketing themselves as walk-in, family friendly businesses and are often located in malls. There are also upscale nail salons that are typically located in upmarket shopping centers, day spas, or luxury hotels and resorts.

College essay questions help order economics letter

College essay questions help

The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then?

How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution.

After an angry outburst from Sam and a long late-night conversation, the writer realizes his need to develop greater sensitivity and empathy. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community.

This meant transferring the family. And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. But preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned. Sam had become withdrawn and lonely.

While I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. We stayed up half the night talking. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain.

We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Sam was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. This experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographic, and other holistic details.

A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion. And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success i. Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well.

Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome. As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes. In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question.

A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification. The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be. One of our consultants penned her experience of growing up with a unique name, and feeling pressured to be different from others.

She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. Finally, she challenged this idea of being different for the sake of being different to discover her real interests.

She must be from somewhere exotic. She must be musical and artsy. When I was little, these sentiments felt more like commands than assumptions. I thought I had to be the most unique child of all time, which was a daunting task, but I tried. I was the only kid in the second grade to color the sun red.

During snack time, we could choose between apple juice and grape juice. I liked apple juice more, but if everyone else was choosing apple, then I had to choose grape. This was how I lived my life, and it was exhausting. After 8th grade, I moved to Georgia. I panicked. If there was no normal, how could I be unique? I realized that I had spent so much energy going against the grain that I had no idea what my true interests were. It was time to find out. I joined the basketball team, performed in the school musical, and enrolled in chorus, all of which were firsts for me.

I did whatever I thought would make me happy. And it paid off. I was no longer socially awkward. In fact, because I was involved in so many unrelated activities, I was socially flexible. I had finally become my own person.

While this prompt may seem to be asking a simple question, your answer has the potential to provide deep insights about who you are to the admissions committee. Explaining what you are grateful for can show them your culture, your community, your philosophical outlook on the world, and what makes you tick. It is imperative to talk about a unique moment in your life, as the prompt asks for gratitude that came about in a surprising way.

You will want to write about a story that you are certain no one else would have. Try to avoid writing an essay along these lines unless you feel that your take on it will be truly original. Show the admissions committee that you have a clear understanding of yourself and the details of your world. Keep in mind, however, that the essay is ultimately about you and your growth.

Your story should then transition into a part about your unexpected epiphany, e. Perhaps your reason could be that you eventually got used to the odd looks that people gave you as you were pogoing and gained more self-confidence. Finally, think about how learning to be grateful for something you would not expect to bring you joy and thankfulness has had a positive impact on your life.

Gaining more self-confidence, for example, could motivate you to do an infinite number of things that you were not able to attempt in the past. Try to make a conclusion by connecting this part to your story from the beginning of the essay. You want to ultimately show that had [reference to a snippet of your introduction, ideally an absurd part] never have happened, you would not be who you are today.

Remember to express these lessons implicitly through the experiences in your essay, and not explicitly. Show us your growth through the changes in your life rather than simply stating that you gained confidence. For instance, maybe the pogo stick gift led you to start a pogo dance team at your school, and the team went on to perform at large venues to raise money for charity.

But before your pogo days, you had crippling stage fright and hated even giving speeches in your English class. These are the kinds of details that make your essay more engaging. 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. Our advice is to pick a problem that deeply concerns you and make it clear to your reader why that topic matters to you, either through an account of how your interest in the subject originated, or through an explanation of the potential consequences of the dilemma.

Even though the prompt allows you to explore more academic and intellectual topics, it is important not to get carried away with esoteric details. Bottom line, the topic you choose for this prompt should, like every topic, highlight your personality, identity, and how you think about the world. Be sure to describe the event or experience that caused you to realize the gravity of the problem, the specific actions you took to plan or execute your solution i. For example, if you care deeply about drug education because of a past experience with a friend or family member, you could outline a plan to bring young-adult speakers to your school to positively influence your peers and stress the real dangers of drugs.

As an alternative, this prompt gives you the opportunity to address a more ambitious, hypothetical problem you would like to solve. For example, you could address the logistical and legal problems of high-speed rail in the United States, the complex environmental and economic problems of using fossil fuels, or even the ethical dilemma of creating A.

Be careful to frame your hypothetical problem clearly, explain why it is a problem, outline the important points, and explain your steps to create a solution. This prompt is expansive in that you can choose any accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked personal growth or new understanding. One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage that reflects personal growth.

If you go this route, make sure to discuss why the ritual was meaningful and how specific aspects of said ritual contributed to your personal growth. An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation.

In the case of religious topics, however, be sure to not get carried away with details, and focus on the nature of your personal growth and new understanding — know your audience. Alternatively, a more relaxed way to address this prompt is using an informal event or realization, which would allow you to show more personality and creativity. An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past.

Having a long discussion about life or philosophy with your father could also suffice, thus sparking more thoughts about your identity. You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things. The key to answering this prompt is clearly defining what it is that sparked your growth, and then describing in detail the nature of this growth and how it related to your perception of yourself and others.

Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother. My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead.

As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work. I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover.

I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence.

This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept. A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling.

Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details. In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses. Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic. Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic.

When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you.

Always refer back to the Strategy section of this article and make sure the topic and essay of your choice addresses the Core Four questions necessary for a good Common App essay. This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward. Writing your own question allows you to demonstrate individuality and confidence. Here, you can craft an innovative essay that tackles a difficult topic for example, whether to raise or lower taxes or presents information with a unique format such as a conversation with an historical figure.

We encourage you to try something unconventional for this prompt, like comparing your personality to a Picasso painting, using an extended philosophical metaphor to describe your four years of high school, or writing in a poetic style to display your love of poetry. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level.

Be careful to frame the essay in a way that is accessible to the average reader while still incorporating quality evidence and content that would qualify you as an expert. Be sure to execute the essay clearly and justify your decision by seeking high-quality feedback from reliable sources. As always, the essay should demonstrate something meaningful about you, whether it is your personality, thought process, or values. All Common App essays must show your personality, identity, and aspirations, as well as spark discussions on interests, character, values, and community.

The goal for any Common App essay is to impart a lasting, authentic image and sense of yourself on the reader. With these tips and strategies, you should be well on your way to writing a perfect Common App essay. Best of luck from the CollegeVine team! Want to learn more about writing the Common App essay?

Check out one of our popular recorded live streams on this topic. Prompt 1 Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Prompt 2 The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success.

The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the act of kindness you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations. There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt. A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion.

More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal. We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game.

The most important things to keep in mind when searching for these moments are the elements of growth, understanding, and transformation. The event, accomplishment, or realization you discuss should be something that helped you understand the world around you through a different, more mature lens.

One could argue that college is largely about the pursuit of knowledge, so you can imagine it would be quite appealing for an admissions officer to have a meter for your level of self-motivated learning, along with a better understanding of how and why you choose to pay attention to the things that intrigue you. This is a window into your brain: how you process information, how you seek out new sources of content and inspiration. How resourceful are you when your curiosity is piqued to the fullest?

The answer to this prompt should also reveal something to admissions about the breadth or depth of your interests. How consumed are you by this passion you are choosing to pursue academically? Show your feathers. Let your freak flag fly within reason, obvs. This prompt is about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself. Whether you are devouring the classics on your Kindle or nerding out over the perfect cheese for calzone-making, your attachment to a subject may inspire admissions to want to learn more about it…and you.

Feared by some, coveted by others, and legendary in its existence; regardless of where you stand on the issue, this was a newsworthy addition to the Common App prompt choices. For years, students have been treating Prompt 1 which asks about your background, etc. Applicants around the world likely let out a big exhale when they saw they could still serve up a big scoop of Prompt 7 to admissions in previous seasons.

And this year will be no different. If that is the case, fear not! Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys. Begin keeping a diary now! Now that you have read our handy-dandy prompt guide and understand what admissions is looking for from these prompts, you could very well have a notebook filled with ideas that are ripe for expansion by the time you sit down to write. Trying to tailor your essay to a more specific prompt option may inspire an interesting spin on the story you are trying to tell—one you may not have thought of otherwise.

Form influences content. If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts , you are in luck. The glorious, all-encompassing Prompt 7 will be here to catch you. With some brainstorming and hard work, every student can uncover a story worth telling in response to one of these prompts.

Remember, admissions wants a glimpse of your personality, your values, your interests and your passions. They want to get an idea of what kind of attitude and energy you will bring to the classroom and campus life. So take a few minutes to probe your memories, collect your stories and strike up that creative core. Every student has a fabulous essay inside of them — these prompts can help you find yours. Score our Exclusive Video Brainstorming Guide and more!

Stacey Brook, Founder and Chief Advisor. PROMPT 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? PROMPT 5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

PROBLEM AND SOLUTION THESIS STATEMENT

Brainstorming method alert! Students should think about times when they have felt acknowledged, heard, and seen. Moments when they have felt that swelling in their chest, as their heart grows three sizes. Think creatively about what you appreciate in your life. It can be a physical gift, an action, or even just a set of feelings projected in your direction.

You can be intimately familiar with the person who has inspired your gratitude, or reflect on the actions of a near stranger or even a public figure who has impacted your life for the better. Just remember that this essay needs to focus on how you process, appreciate and draw inspiration from the action of others, so make sure your response is focused on YOU. Ultimately, admissions wants to know more about how you relate to others in the world, and how you repurpose good intentions. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the act of kindness you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations.

There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt. A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal.

We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game. The most important things to keep in mind when searching for these moments are the elements of growth, understanding, and transformation.

The event, accomplishment, or realization you discuss should be something that helped you understand the world around you through a different, more mature lens. One could argue that college is largely about the pursuit of knowledge, so you can imagine it would be quite appealing for an admissions officer to have a meter for your level of self-motivated learning, along with a better understanding of how and why you choose to pay attention to the things that intrigue you.

This is a window into your brain: how you process information, how you seek out new sources of content and inspiration. How resourceful are you when your curiosity is piqued to the fullest? The answer to this prompt should also reveal something to admissions about the breadth or depth of your interests. How consumed are you by this passion you are choosing to pursue academically? Show your feathers. Let your freak flag fly within reason, obvs.

This prompt is about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself. Whether you are devouring the classics on your Kindle or nerding out over the perfect cheese for calzone-making, your attachment to a subject may inspire admissions to want to learn more about it…and you. Feared by some, coveted by others, and legendary in its existence; regardless of where you stand on the issue, this was a newsworthy addition to the Common App prompt choices.

For years, students have been treating Prompt 1 which asks about your background, etc. Applicants around the world likely let out a big exhale when they saw they could still serve up a big scoop of Prompt 7 to admissions in previous seasons. And this year will be no different. If that is the case, fear not! Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys. Begin keeping a diary now! Now that you have read our handy-dandy prompt guide and understand what admissions is looking for from these prompts, you could very well have a notebook filled with ideas that are ripe for expansion by the time you sit down to write.

Trying to tailor your essay to a more specific prompt option may inspire an interesting spin on the story you are trying to tell—one you may not have thought of otherwise. Form influences content. If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts , you are in luck. The glorious, all-encompassing Prompt 7 will be here to catch you. With some brainstorming and hard work, every student can uncover a story worth telling in response to one of these prompts.

Remember, admissions wants a glimpse of your personality, your values, your interests and your passions. They want to get an idea of what kind of attitude and energy you will bring to the classroom and campus life. So take a few minutes to probe your memories, collect your stories and strike up that creative core. Every student has a fabulous essay inside of them — these prompts can help you find yours. Score our Exclusive Video Brainstorming Guide and more! Stacey Brook, Founder and Chief Advisor.

PROMPT 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The first question focuses on your personality traits — who you are. The second question targets your progression throughout high school an arc or journey. The third question is more difficult to grasp, but it involves showing why your personality traits, methods of thinking, areas of interest, and tangible skills form a unique combination.

The fourth question is a concluding point that can be answered simply, normally in the conclusion paragraph, i. You can brainstorm freeform or start with a specific prompt in mind. Play around with narratives that are constructed out of different combinations of these essential attributes before settling on a prompt. For example, you might note that you are fascinated by environmental justice, have had success in Model Congress, and are now working with a local politician to create a recycling program in your school district.

You may also have tried previous initiatives that failed. These experiences could be constructed and applied to a number of Common App prompts. You could address a specific identity or interest you have associated with public advocacy, discuss what you learned from your failed initiatives, explore how you challenged the lack of recycling at your school, fantasize about solving waste management issues, etc.

For example, consider the following prompt: 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? You decided to help out by getting a job after school, and responded to your familial hardship with grace and understanding as opposed to anger.

A few months later, and after speaking with your former debate coach and your parents, you set up a system to save up for your own trips so that you could still participate in debate! This is very common as the Common App is often the first personal essay college applicants have ever written. It can often help to work with someone and bounce ideas off them.

Teachers are often a bad idea — they tend to think of essays in an academic sense, which is to say they often fail to apply the admissions context. Further, it is unlikely that they know you well enough to provide valuable insight. Friends in your own year can be a good idea because they know you, but you should be careful about competitive pressures applying within the same high school.

Older friends, siblings, or neighbors who have successfully navigated the admissions process at your target universities or good universities strike that medium between no longer being competitive with you for admissions but still being able to help you brainstorm well because they know you.

Your essay will be strong as long as you are comfortable and passionate about your idea and it answers the Core Four questions. Common App essays are not traditional five-paragraph essays. You are free to be creative in structure, employ dialogue, and use vivid descriptions—and you should!

Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however. From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally. Great ways to ensure this are using a story arc following a few major points, or focusing on cause and effect.

This involves constructing a narrative out of your experiences and writing a classic personal essay. Some students prefer to experiment with an entirely new approach to the personal essay. For example, a student who is passionate about programming could write their essay in alternating lines of Binary and English.

Or, you could write about a fight with your friend in the form of a third person sports recap to both highlight your interest in journalism and reveal a personal story. Creative essays are incredibly risky and difficult to pull off. However, a creative essay that is well executed may also have the potential for high reward. Your Common App essay must display excellent writing in terms of grammar and sentence structure.

I found an empty table and ate my lunch alone. In many cases, writing can include more specific word choice. This section provides insights and examples for each of the 7 Common App essay prompts for the cycle. Each of these prompts lends itself to distinct topics and strategies, so selecting the prompt that best aligns with your idea is essential to writing an effective Common App essay.

This prompt offers an opportunity to engage with your favorite extracurricular or academic subject, and it allows you to weave a narrative that displays personal growth in that area. An essay that displays your personality and a unique interest can be attention-grabbing, particularly if you have an unconventional passion, such as blogging about Chinese basketball or unicycling. Instead of attempting to impress the Admissions Officer by making up unusual or shocking things, think about how you spend your free time and ask yourself why you spend it that way.

You can discuss the experience of growing up, interacting with family, and how relationships have molded who you are. A background can include long-term interactions with arts, music, sciences, sports, writing, and many other learned skills. In addition, you can highlight intersections between multiple backgrounds and show how each is integral to you. One of our consultants wrote about how growing up in a poor Vietnamese immigrant family inspired her to seize big opportunities, even if they were risky or challenging.

She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. Note: all of the following essay excerpts have been shortened and edited for this post. Names have also been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects. My parents took the chance, risking all of their savings. On the first day, the business brought in only twenty dollars. Twenty dollars. My mother and my father wept after they closed the shop.

Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable. The next business day, however, sales increased ten-fold. More and more customers came each successive day. My mother unpacked a bag each night. Fifteen years later, my parents now own Blue Ravine Grocery. My parents work, work, work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming. The grocery store holds a special place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success. So when the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying the store.

Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay. Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme.

One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out. If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection.

One of our consultants detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement. Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness. Helping a young refugee girl settle into the US eventually helped the writer find home in America as well:. After moving from Berlin to New York at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment.

Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. In between games and snacks, Laya would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama.

Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past. My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself.

Interests — Interest are basically synonymous to activities, but slightly broader you could say that interests encompass activities ; participation in an interest is often less organized than in an activity. For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you.

Read a successful essay answering this prompt. This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong. The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed.

Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness.

For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution. After an angry outburst from Sam and a long late-night conversation, the writer realizes his need to develop greater sensitivity and empathy.

To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community. This meant transferring the family.

And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. But preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned.

Sam had become withdrawn and lonely. While I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. We stayed up half the night talking. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain. We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Sam was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified.

This experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographic, and other holistic details. A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion.

And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success i. Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well. Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome.

As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes. In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question. A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification.

The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be. One of our consultants penned her experience of growing up with a unique name, and feeling pressured to be different from others. She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. Finally, she challenged this idea of being different for the sake of being different to discover her real interests. She must be from somewhere exotic.

She must be musical and artsy. When I was little, these sentiments felt more like commands than assumptions. I thought I had to be the most unique child of all time, which was a daunting task, but I tried. I was the only kid in the second grade to color the sun red. During snack time, we could choose between apple juice and grape juice.

I liked apple juice more, but if everyone else was choosing apple, then I had to choose grape. This was how I lived my life, and it was exhausting.

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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? This prompt may seem to go against everything that you've learned on your path to college. It's far more comfortable in an application to celebrate successes and accomplishments than it is to discuss setbacks and failure.

At the same time, you'll impress the college admissions folks greatly if you can show your ability to learn from your failures and mistakes. Be sure to devote significant space to the second half of the question—how did you learn and grow from the experience? Introspection and honesty are key with this prompt. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Keep in mind how open-ended this prompt truly is.

The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group. The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great. However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values.

If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Here, again, the Common Application gives you a lot of options for approaching the question since it is entirely up to you to decide what the "something" and "someone" will be. This prompt was added to the Common Application in the admissions cycle in part because it gives students the opportunity to write something heartfelt and uplifting after all the challenges of the previous year.

The best essays for this prompt show that you are a generous person who recognizes the contributions others have made to your personal journey. Unlike many essays that are all about "me, me, me," this essay shows your ability to appreciate others. This type of generosity is an important character trait that schools look for when inviting people to join their campus communities.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. This question was reworded in admissions cycle, and the current language is a huge improvement. The prompt use to talk about transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but the new language about a "period of personal growth" is a much better articulation of how we actually learn and mature no single event makes us adults. Maturity comes as the result of a long train of events and accomplishments and failures.

This prompt is an excellent choice if you want to explore a single event or achievement that marked a clear milestone in your personal development. Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the list of bad essay topics for more about this issue.

These can certainly be fine topics for an essay, but make sure your essay is analyzing your personal growth process, not bragging about an accomplishment. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This option was entirely new in , and it's a wonderfully broad prompt.

In essence, it's asking you to identify and discuss something that enthralls you. The question gives you an opportunity to identify something that kicks your brain into high gear, reflect on why it is so stimulating, and reveal your process for digging deeper into something that you are passionate about. Note that the central words here—"topic, idea, or concept"—all have rather academic connotations. While you may lose track of time when running or playing football, sports are probably not the best choice for this particular question.

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. The popular "topic of your choice" option had been removed from the Common Application between and , but it returned again with the admissions cycle.

Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above. However, the first six topics are extremely broad with a lot of flexibility, so make sure your topic really can't be identified with one of them. Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance! The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result.

Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged. Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick.

Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution. Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it. Just like Prompt 2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller "aha" moment.

Describe the event or accomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth. This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about. So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you.

Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well. You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1. Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2.

Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:. Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.

The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Be honest and specific when you respond to this question.

Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you.

What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter. Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you.

Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable.

As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself. Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school. Learn More. Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

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Prompt #1: Share your story. Prompt #2: Learning from obstacles. Prompt #3: Challenging a belief.