Your essay is an important tool for presenting something you find important that may not come across elsewhere in your application.Make sure your essay presents you as the type of person a college will want to invite to join their community.
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. The prompt gives you a lot of latitude for answering the question since you can write a story about your "background, identity, interest, or talent." Your "background" can be a broad environmental factor that contributed to your development such as growing up in a military family, living in an interesting place, or dealing with an unusual family situation.
If this sounds like you, then please share your story. You could write about an event or series of events that had a profound impact on your identity.
For the 2019-20 application cycle, the Common Application essay prompts remain unchanged from the 2018-19 cycle.
With the inclusion of the popular "Topic of Your Choice" option, you have the opportunity to write about anything you want to share with the folks in the admissions office.
The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story.
Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great.At the same time, you'll impress the college admissions folks greatly if you can show your ability to learn from your failures and mistakes.Be sure to devote significant space to the second half of the question—how did you learn and grow from the experience?Introspection and honesty are key with this prompt. The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group.The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief.This prompt may seem to go against everything that you've learned on your path to college.It's far more comfortable in an application to celebrate successes and accomplishments than it is to discuss setbacks and failure.With the ability to write about an "intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma," you can essentially write about any issue that you find important.Note that you do not have to have solved the problem, and some of the best essays will explore problems that need to be solved in the future.Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.Here, again, the Common Application gives you a lot of options for approaching the question.