The 2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts #2

Tips on writing 2018 CA prompt #2

Continuing with my analysis of this year’s Common Application Essay Prompts, here’s a breakdown of #2.

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? 

Grow Your Dictionary

In order to write an outstanding essay based on this prompt, I suggest that you expand your definitions of the words “obstacle, challenge, setback, and failure.” For example, while writing about how you didn’t make the volleyball team but found satisfaction as the team manager can work, it might be more to your advantage if you wrote about how you “failed” to be a good friend, or “failed” to apply yourself fully to a task, or “failed” to follow good advice. Along the same lines, challenges come in many forms; the more personal they are, the stronger essay you can write about them. Same with obstacles, which can be almost anything, from your own insecurity to a father with a bad temper ( as long as you can make a clear case for it as something you had to, and did, overcome. The key here is originality, which usually emerges from an intense and truthful reflection on your life, and a willingness to share what you have learned.

Leave No Question Unanswered

Once you find your topic and write your essay, please keep in mind that college admissions directors expect students to fully answer the prompt, not part of the prompt or their own interpretation of it. This means you need to address the questions, “How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?” fully, honestly, and clearly. The good news here is that, with this prompt, those questions, along with the first part of the prompt, form a ready-made outline for the essay (

Write Something Only You Can Write

It is also worth mentioning here that this essay does not have to be based on an earth shattering experience. In fact, a smaller incident, one that only you can write, will often provide an opportunity to reveal even more about yourself.

In short… Blog college app essay

An effective essay based on Prompt #2 will demonstrate your ability to learn and grow from challenges, no matter what they may be.

For more personal help with the Common Application or any other application essay, please contact Craig Heller at 818-445-4697 or [email protected].

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