Talk To Us!

By Ryan Hickey + updated on September 15th, 2010

I’ve got a question for all of you blog readers. What’s the most challenging essay prompt you’ve seen so far in your admissions journey?

We’d love to start hearing more from our readers, so I’ll be using this space to occasionally pose direct questions like this one over the coming weeks. We’re sincerely interested in hearing what you have to say and I encourage everyone to comment.

This week, I want to hear about your experience with essay prompts. What’s the single most challenging prompt you’ve come across, and why was it so tricky to deal with? In your comment, you should include the essay prompt and an explanation of what you struggled with. This could be a prompt you dealt with years ago, or something that you’re struggling to write on now.

As some added incentive, we’ll be monitoring those comments and giving a prize to the one we like the best: a coupon code that’s good for 50% off a single EssayEdge order. So by taking a couple minutes to jot down your thoughts and interact with us, you could save yourself a substantial amount of  money on one of our editing services.

Finally, don’t feel restricted by this question – if you have a something to say about an older post, a general question, or just want to say hey, you should always feel free to leave a comment. You never know when we’re going to give away something special…

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Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

Latest posts by Ryan Hickey (see all)

4 Responses to “Talk To Us!”

  1. Richard says:

    The one that I’ve had the most trouble is this

    “Among the items you might care to include would be your financial, community and family background, whether you are the first person in your family to pursue a higher education, or any other factors that you feel would contribute to the diversity of our academic community.”

    It seems anything that is written is kind of whiny.

  2. Kristine Rezai says:

    One of the hardest essay prompts I have delt with is MIT’s essay prompt. The prompt is: “What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you’d like to tell us about.” While it seems easy because there is such a wide range of possible topics to discuss, this actually makes it very difficult. It is challenging to discuss only one attribute of my personality within a 250 word limit. The challenging thing is to find that one aspect of your personality that makes you special, that no one else applying is going to have. My challenge is to start with a universal character trait and then make it very personal by discussing how I display it. I even made it more challenging on myself by choosing to discuss integrity and ethics which are the hardest topics to discuss because I want to display my strong base in morality to the admissions committee without sounding childish or cliche.
    Kristine Rezai

  3. Rachel R says:

    The hardest essay prompt I have come across thus far is this : “Please compose an essay of 250 to 500 words that states your purpose in undertaking study in the health sciences at [The University]. You should describe your academic objectives and career plans and discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.

    I am having a hard time with starting this essay as I feel my answers will be very cliche; I want my essay to reflect my unique path and reasons I want to do my undergrad, but I don’t want this to read like my resume which I was also asked to submit. Since I am applying as a transfer student for my undergraduate studies and ultimately my career and educational sights are set on Graduate studies, I also don’t want it to seem as if my Undergrad is just a blip on the radar screen of my goals; I feel that with this prompt it will be difficult to show the individuality and depth of character that such a renowned and prestigious University will be seeking that would make me stand out as an asset to their University.


  4. Rita S. Maner says:

    I always had serious problems with the essays for my literature class, especially when we had to do some analysis of the characters.

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