The first major mistake you can make is forgetting the prompt, which is easier to do than it sounds.
Somewhere between drafting your personal statement and pressing the ‘submit” button on Common App.org, it is easy to lose sight of the text of the prompt you are answering.
At some point, you’re going to have to commit to a topic of discussion for your personal essay, and sooner is better than later—so you’re going to do it now, in Step 2. If you are not completely sure that you have chosen the right topic, you’re not alone.
Choosing the topic for your personal essay can feel like a huge decision with a lot riding on it, but the fact is that this decision is not as final as it feels in this moment.
This is understandable, since once you become embroiled in writing a 650-word incisive description of yourself, details can fall to the wayside.
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That said, it’s extremely important to remember the first sentence of Prompt #2: “The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success.”This lesson is stated in no uncertain terms.
These don’t need to sound good, nor do they need to be in full sentences, nor do they even need to be chronological. Let’s pretend you were in a meeting with one of our essay specialists.
The point here is to simply get yourself thinking—save the nuances of language and niceties of commas for steps 4 and 5. The first thing we’d do is start you thinking about the various levels of failure and achievement you have experienced and/or achieved in your life.
If making mistakes is part of the journey to ultimate success, it is perfectly reasonable for you to still be in the process of reaching your goal, and speak about the process you’ve made towards your goal instead of a final result.
The first step to writing any good personal essay is to put some serious thought into what you will write, and the best way to do this is to force yourself to come up with a handful of possible essay topics.