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The Requirements: Two required essays of 250 words each; one optional essay of 250 words
This prompt is incredibly vague, which is kinda awesome because it sets you up to talk about almost anything you want. Which life event has sparked personal growth? What do you think it takes to be successful and how do you embody those qualities? Maybe a parent’s fragile health situation challenged you to take on more responsibilities than the average teenager, preparing you for the hard work ahead. Or perhaps you learned to love your football team’s playback sessions, as they forced you to routinely examine your mistakes, welcome constructive criticism, and guide you toward self-improvement. Whatever story you choose to tell, be sure to infuse it with personal details that no one else could include in their essay.
Who is the first person to come to mind when you read this prompt? The person you write about can be someone in your immediate circle, larger network, or on the world stage. Remember that the person you choose is going to say a lot about what you value and respect in others. Maybe an adult in your life has served as a mentor and role model for you, or perhaps the person who has impacted you most is a close friend and confidant. Once you identify the person you’d like to write about, be sure to summarize who they are to you, how they have impacted your life, and how you’ve changed as a result of knowing them.
Let us start by saying: this prompt is not for everyone. If your GPA has not dramatically increased or decreased during your high school career, move along. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Yes! An opportunity for me to explain!” then read on. Your transcripts are like Garfield Minus Garfield. Sure, we can see that something’s changed from frame to frame, but we don’t know why. Grades need context. Admissions doesn’t know why or how things happened—good or bad—so ake a look at your grades and note any anomalies or odd jumps/drops. Think back to that time in your life and tell your story. Maybe your family struggled with financial instability or the loss of a loved one. Maybe you started meeting virtually with a tutor and climbed from a fall semester C in geometry to a spring semester A. No matter your story, you are not alone in your journey of ups and downs—high school is a veritable war zone of distractions and possibilities. And, remember, everyone loves a comeback.