Common application essay option 5

This was an important step into adulthood for the author.

2018-12222 Common Application Essay Prompts

Also, think about the broader implications of the essay. If a teenager is able to recognize the positive qualities of someone as unlikable as Susan Lewis, that student is also likely to do well in a residential college where different personalities are thrown together in close quarters.


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  • Sample Common Application Essay for Option #5.
  • Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them)?
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  • Tips and Strategies for an Essay on an Event that Led to Personal Growth!

Striking the right tone can be a big challenge in a college application essay. When writing about someone who is rather unlikable, it would be easy to come across as mocking or condescending. The essay points out many of Susan Lewis's shortcomings, but it keeps a light an playful tone. The result is that the author comes across as loving and appreciative, not deprecating.

Common Application Essays: Prompt #5 | Veritas Prep

However, it takes a skillful writer to provide just the right balance of levity and seriousness. This is a danger zone, and you will need to ensure you don't fall into a negative tone.

The Prompt

Jill does well when it comes to the essay's style. The narrative has a pleasing variety of sentence types ranging from short and punchy to long and complex. The language is playful and engaging, and Jill has done an admirable job painting a rich portrait of Susan Lewis in a few short paragraphs. This is important: At words, Jill is safely within the length limit. The most admirable thing about the writing here is that Jill's personality comes through. We get a sense of her humor, her power of observation, and her generosity of spirit. A lot of applicants feel like they need to brag about their accomplishments in their application essay, yet Jill shows how those accomplishments can be conveyed in a pleasingly understated way.

It's always important to keep in mind why colleges ask applicants to write essays. On a simple level, they want to make sure you can write well, something that Jill has demonstrated effectively with "Buck Up. Test scores and grades don't tell a college what type of person you are, other than one who works hard and tests well. What's your personality like? What do you truly care about? How do you communicate your ideas to others? And the big one: Are you the type of person we want to invite to become part of our campus community?

Be sure to write with your own voice and character. The writing process starts within, through self-evaluation and reflection. This can aid you to feel more confident when sharing your perspectives on how you have grown and uplifted others along the way.

Tips for Writing an Essay on an Event That Led to Personal Growth

It takes time and effort to become an expert. Dig deep each day and work toward your goals. Prompt 5 is all about knowledge and personal growth. What better way to show the committee you have developed as a person with an engaging, high-quality essay leading your application? As you continue writing, remember that revisions and rewrites are all part of the process. Rather than thinking of the editing phase as a laborious chore, keep in mind the story you want to tell.

2018-19 Common App Essays

And, like a good detective, focus on cracking the code to a winning application essay! Rather than focusing on the competition, the best writers compete with themselves. Make it a point to improve and out-write yourself each day. The power is all yours! We're open - Call now to speak to an academic advisor: We can still break down the three terms as we explore options for the essay, but keep in mind that your options include, but are not limited to: An accomplishment: You reach a goal that you have set for yourself such as earning a certain GPA or performing a difficult piece of music.

You do something independently for the first time such as preparing a meal for the family, flying across the country, or house-sitting for a neighbor. You overcome or learn to appreciate a disability or handicap. Working alone or with a team, you win an award or recognition a gold medal in a music competition, a strong showing in Odyssey of the Mind, a successful fundraising campaign, etc. You successfully launch your own business a lawn-mowing service, babysitting business, web company, etc.

You successfully navigate or extricate yourself from a dangerous or challenging situation an abusive family, a problematic peer group, etc.


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You do something challenging like winter camping, white-water kayaking, or running a marathon. You complete a meaningful service project such as creating a public garden or helping build a house with Habitat for Humanity. An event: You pass a milestone in your life such as the first day of high school or your first time driving by yourself. You have an interaction with someone whether that be a friend, family member or stranger that opens your awareness in a profound way.

You perform at an event such as a concert or competition in which your hard work and perseverance finally pay off. You experience a traumatic event such as an accident or sudden loss that makes you reevaluate your behavior or beliefs. You experience a moment of failure much like option 2 that causes you to grapple with and grow from the experience. You are moved by a world event that makes you reflect upon what you most value and what your role in the world might be. You realize that you can accomplish something you hadn't thought possible. You realize your limitations. You realize that failure is as valuable as success.

You realize that your understanding of people who are different than you had been limited or faulty.

Guide to the 2018-2019 Common App Essays: Writing about Personal Growth (Prompt 5)

You experience something that makes you realize that you need to redefine your priorities. You realize that relying on the help of others isn't a failure.