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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.However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values.
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.
Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.
It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma--anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.
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.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.
How did it affect you, and what did you learn 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.