As you write the Common App essay, have courage. Don’t be afraid to share your missteps, stumbles, challenges, and even failures. Facing and overcoming obstacles is what builds strength and resilience and leads to growth and new understanding.
Once, a student named Tess went through a horribly painful junior year. Because of financial problems, her divorced parents were forced to live together but refused to speak to each other. Stressed out, Tess stopped doing her homework, started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and drank. But when she and her mom finally moved into their own apartment, she pulled her life together.
She went to therapy with her mom and repaired their relationship, stopped drinking, chose truly supportive friends, ate well, got enough sleep, did all her homework, improved her grades, and turned her life around. When faced with writing her Common App essay, she had the courage to honestly share her whole story, spending a third of her essay on her struggles and two thirds on her turnaround. Her impressive courage, honesty, and determination to succeed wowed the college admissions officers.
So relax. If yours has been an imperfect, bumpy path, share how you overcame your challenges and became resilient and adaptable along the way.