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Exploring your background for Option 1 of Common Application essay

Option 1 of the Common Application asks students to write about a ‘background’ that formed their identity. While this is a popular option with many students, it is not exactly the easiest. In fact, you need certain strategies to approach this option.

The biggest problem with this option is that it uses such vague terms as ‘background’ and ‘story’. Needless to say, many students do not know what they are supposed to write about. What exactly makes a great ‘background story’?

Note that your background can assume a wide variety of forms. However, you are not supposed to write about just about any background. The background you choose, should be central to your identity. It is what makes you what you are. In other words, you would be an altogether different person if you didn’t have that background. Here are some ideas to get started.

Did you grow up in a difficult domestic environment? Did you live in an unusual place when you were a child? Did you have to overcome a particular disability? Were you raised by a single dad or mom? All of these are important backgrounds that can shape the way you think and behave.

Make sure that your essay completes your application by adding a rich dimension to it.

You need to present yourself as an interesting and compassionate individual who will make a great addition to the campus. And you have got 650 words to accomplish this goal. Make sure that your essay does not repeat information that can be found in other parts of the application. That is a mistake.