How to Write an Effective Essay for Common App Prompt 3


This is your chance to share a story about your ability to take action by challenging a belief or idea. The most important part of this essay is to explain the ACTIONS you took and to reflect on the results of your actions.

Here is the Common Application Prompt 3:

“Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?”

Tips to Start writing an Essay for Common App Prompt 3:

  • Start by choosing ONE belief or idea that you challenged. This can be a belief or idea held by yourself or held by others.
  • Carefully explain both why and how you challenged the belief or idea. Both are essential to your story.
  • Remember that this essay shows your critical thinking skills and your ability to follow through on a cause. Maintain a confident voice and take pride in your actions.

Easy to Write Common Application Prompt 3 in Four Simple Steps:

  1. Start with a “hook” by describing the situation that prompted you to act.
  2. Describe your thought process about choosing what to do.
  3. Explain the action that you took to challenge the belief or idea. This can include taking a stand by speaking, writing a letter or confronting a person or a group of people.
  4. Conclude your essay by directly stating whether or not you would take the same action again. Reflect on why you would–or would not–make the same choice as the person you are today.

If you need help writing your Common App Personal Essay for Prompt 3, 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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