How to Write your Essay for Common App Prompt 2


This is your opportunity to share your problem-solving abilities as well as your resilience. Your future institution is eager to learn how you react to setbacks and challenges.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 2:

“The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? “

Key Tips and Pointers

  • Start your essay in the middle of the action. In this case, start with a “hook” by first describing your experience of failure. Do not be afraid to be “intense.”
  • Be specific about why this incident represents a “failure.”
  • Include at least three key details of your experience of failure. Details can include describing who else was involved, describing your emotions or using pieces of dialogue.
  • Before you write, jot down some of the specific things you learned as a result of this failure. Avoid generalizations such as “I learned perseverance.” An example of a more specific response is: “I learned how to remained focused and optimistic by seeking a mentor.”

You can approach writing Common Application Prompt 2 in four easy steps:

  1. Brainstorm the times in your life when you have failed at something. Choose to write about the failure that had the biggest impact on your life.
  2. Use descriptive language to explain what happened, and exactly how you responded.
  3. Include one ACTION that you took in response to the failure. It is important that your institution sees your problem-solving skills.
  4. End with a self-reflection on the experience. Explain why this failure was fundamental to who you are today, as a college applicant.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 2, you might want to install this Google Docs add-on. The add-on provides example essays, writing tips and smart phrases for all Common App prompts conveniently inside Google Docs.

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