Prompt #5 – Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

The 5th prompt provides you great flexibility as the words accomplishment, events, and realization can have myriad interpretations. Even the second part of the prompt, which asks you to focus on “personal growth” and “enhanced understanding of yourself or others” can be explored in so many different ways.

While the possibilities are endless, you should always ensure that your story is unique and not banal. You should refrain from topics that could be very common; for instance, stories such as how scoring better grades made you realize the importance of hard work or how winning an inter- school sports match made you realize the importance of team-work are best avoided.

While thinking about an event, realization or an accomplishment, your story can contain either a long-term or a short-term incident. However, while choosing any story, the main focus should be to ensure that the story did have a significant impact on your personal growth and how it broadened your perspective about the world.

However, a great story or event alone is not enough to make your essay stand out. It is the insights and learning drawn from those events will make for a stellar essay. While deciding an event, always keep in mind that addressing the latter part of the prompt – what you learned about yourself and others – will be more important than the former. Displaying intangible skills and drawing insights from your life events will serve to strengthen your application.

Some brainstorming questions that you might consider to get started on this prompt are:

What were some of the incidents in your life that transformed your view-point significantly?

When did you feel like your perspective became more matured and nuanced than it was before?

Have you ever had a sudden moment of realization that still impacts the way you think about things? What sparked that realization?

These broad and open-ended questions can be used as a starting point as you think about the unique event that had a significant impact on your personal growth and also broadened your perspective.

For instance, in answering this prompt, you can explore how participating in a mock parliament in your school or outside made you aware of different challenges that come along with leadership. How did it hone your leadership skills and provide you better insights into the administrative work done by the government? Here you are focusing both on personal growth (leadership skills) and a broader perspective (thinking about the functioning of government).

Prompt #5 – Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

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