Log In
Get Started

Overcoming Adversity: Answering Greenlight Scholars Essay 4

by Tyler Nakatsu, on Jul 13, 2018 5:14:16 PM

College-Greenlight-Essays-Story2.jpgDiscuss a situation in which you overcame an obstacle, setback or self-doubt. What enabled you to succeed, despite adversity?

Students often start out a bit scared of this question. They ask, “If I really tell them about my failures and obstacles, won’t they reject me?” No. In fact the opposite is true.

Choosing to share an obstacle, setback or adversity takes courage. It enables you to show colleges who you really are, where you have come from and what they can count on for in the future. While talking about adversity and failure can be uncomfortable, it also allows you to be honest and vulnerable. The question is in two parts: it also asks you to pivot and reflect--what about who you are and what you believe enabled you to act despite the adversity? This is the choice you made to make the situation better for yourself and for others.

If there was something in your past that made you feel as though you couldn’t do something, share that story. Write without judgments or excess emotions. Tell what happened in the most straightforward way possible. Use specific details, dialogue and description to convey the experience in a way that connects with your reader. What is the most important struggle you’ve faced that people don’t know about you? Describe a moment where you faced disappointment, disbelief or were disappointed in yourself.

Revealing hardship—and the actions you took to work through hardship—shows admissions officers the type of student you will be in college and after college. It shows how you will respond to new challenges, ones you haven’t previously faced. Explore this essay and see what you learn about yourself. 

This blog is part of a series to help students complete the Greenlight Scholars application essays originally published on We invite you to use Story2 EssayBuilder™ -- free for Greenlight Scholars -- to plan, organize and complete all your admission and scholarship essays.

Start Your College Greenlight Application

Topics:college admission