Example College Application Essay: Describing Your Setback

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Example College Application Essay: Describing Your Setback

Look through the sample essay for college admission before editing.

Describe a setback that you have faced. How did you resolve it? How did the outcome affect you? If something similar happened in the future, how would you react?

Like other boys, I enjoy water. Ever since I was five years old, I spent many summer days in YMCA swimming pool. When I was 13 years old, I felt that I need something more challenging than just enjoying the water so I joined high school development team of Badger Swim Club. On the first day, as soon as the coach gave order, all the team members quickly dived into the water except me jump into the water. After a few laps, I was way behind all the others. While I was trying to catch up; I was already out of breath. To make things worse, the coach was constantly correcting my techniques. My stroke, my somersault, my diving, nothing I did seemed right to him.

N.B. After finishing the reading, compare this text with the edited version to understand the main mistakes made by the candidate in the essay example for college application.

The whole first week, I was stuck with him to improve my diving. He pointed out that “I should dive with my head instead of my whole body.” While my body and my mind gave me the message “Quit! Quit!” In my heart, I felt that quitting wasn’t right thing to do. I craved to become as good a swimmer as the other team members. So I kept practicing. Quite a few times, I felt as though I had pushed myself to limits and I couldn’t do it anymore. My goal want to be a good swimmer have me keep Practice! Practice! Practice! Finally, I conquered physical and mental challenge. After a couple of months, I swam as well as the other team members.

When facing challenge, it is easy to quit. But if you want to achieve something, stick to it. Make a commitment. Being consistent in effects, you will succeed.

This is my senior year so I have a heavy load with classes, leading clubs, my job, and volunteering so sometimes I feel overwhelmed. That brought my memory of struggling in swimming pool. Last week I had AP chemistry and humanities AC test on the same day while I was thinking which one I should approach, my phone rang. My boss asked me to update some information right away because there is some conference the week after. I wanted to say “No, I have too many things to do!” Then I thought: why did I take the job in the first place? I felt it is very important to be responsible as an employee so I decided to postpone my homework for a bit and finishing updating the site. One hour later after I reviewed all chapters of chemistry, I did some practice quiz. I was way too sleepy to study so I went to bed. Can I stand that I will have a bad grade? No, so I set up my alarm clock to 5 and wake up early in the morning to finish my reviewing of humanities.

Weaknesses, setbacks and failures are part of life. In future, through my experience swimming, I believe that I now know how to manage these imperfections so that they do not dictate me but instead, I can look past them.

See this college essay sample after the edit. Also, look through other college application essay samples to find the necessary topic.

This sample proves there’s nothing difficult in presenting a failure or setback in a positive light, right? The version you’re reading is unedited, so it’s okay to see mistakes and inconsistencies there. If you’re impressed by the editing quality, why not try our best college essay review service? We would be glad to help you with editing your paper.

See this essay after the edit.

How do you write a failure essay for the common app?
What are examples of setbacks?
Are failures necessary?
What is the difference between failure and setback?
Robin W.
Professional essay editor and proofreader with 10+ years of experience. Education: Cornell University. PhD in English Studies and M.F.A in Creative Writing.
Update: August 24, 2022.

Example College Application Essay: Describing Your Setback


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