Remember, these essays are not contemplative musings on your toughest times or reflections on the hiccups that populate everyday life (though these things can certainly be touched upon); they are about overcoming obstacles and refusing to submit to life’s greatest challenges. This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories.
It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory.
Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility.
The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures.
Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore.
Some key questions to consider: Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible.
It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show (are you living life in the Upside Down?
) or as large as the struggle of moving to a foreign country (especially if you had to leave behind grandma’s cooking).
Focus on the key words, “background,” “identity,” “interest,” and “talent,” and use them as launch points for your brainstorming.
What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer?