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Essay Options 2020

isk2017isk2017 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member

I am a prospective applicant for the class of 2020 at Stanford University and several others and I am currently working on my essays for next year since they already released the common app topics (stayed the same). I have written two essays and I was wondering which one you all think would be better/more unique for my application to Stanford.

Topic 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

For this option I wrote about how having lived in so many places around the world has taught me many different skills and I have learned to love a new thing in every place I have lived. My parents are diplomats so I have lived in Mexico, Panama, Poland, and now Kenya. I have literally fed kids in Africa and built houses in Mexico for nearly three years (not just 2-3 weeks like lots of kids from the US.).


Topic 2: The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you have experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

For this option I would write about the true story of me having failed to save the life of a girl (we had only met two days before) during the terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. In the essay I talk about how survivors guilt affected me so much and how her death has impacted me and made me try my hardest in life every day and how because of her I want to become a political figure/diplomat to stop these things from happening in the future.


Replies to: Essay Options 2020

  • WouldYouAcceptMeWouldYouAcceptMe Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Will the essays be the same when the class of 2021 wants to apply?
  • isk2017isk2017 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Yes, for common app anyway.
  • iska123iska123 Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    One approach would be to relate the story of your failure to save the girl's life, and weave into it your other experience either by way of parallel or flashbacks. My daughter ( who is matriculating at Stanford this fall), for instance, talked about an experience scaling a rockclimbing wall for the first time at age 5, and as she was relating it, talked about her feelings/lessons learned going thru it and at the same time, providing a parallel to other experiences ( missing a rock on the wall --> forgetting a line in her piano piece, climbing the wall ----> navigating high school, etc) . So technically you can incorporate both contents of prompt 1 and 2 into the 1st prompt.
  • GoWriteWinGoWriteWin Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    So great that you are getting such a head start on writing and that you have such amazing experiences to draw from. Many students wait to write the summer before senior year so that they can include key high school experiences. For Topic 1, how does that experience translate to school? What did you learn to love in high school? For Topic 2, what have you done in high school toward achieving your dream of being a political figure? Good luck!
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