• Aaron Blumenthal

The Action Essay

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Today, we're going to talk about writing the leadership, teamwork, community service, academic opportunity/problem, or passion supplements! This seems like a lot of categories, but really these all can be broken down into an essay describing a single important action.

Example "Action Essay" prompts

  • Give an example of a time that you demonstrated leadership.

  • Talk about a time you had a positive impact on your community.

  • Write about a significant educational problem you’ve faced or opportunity you took advantage of.

  • What is your greatest skill? How did you develop this over time?

Philip Pullman (author of His Dark Materials) says in Daemon Voices that a quest (the thing you have to do) should be three things:

  1. easy to understand

  2. hard to accomplish

  3. important to the character or world

We can break these down into three simple parts that will be your intro, middle, and conclusion.

Intro: Goal or Problem

In order to easily understand what’s going on, you have to tell us one specific, important goal or problem.

  • Goal: I want to get at least a 3.5 GPA so I can get into a good college.

  • Problem: I need to get at least a 3.5 GPA or I will be kicked out of marching band.

Middle: Obstacle & Process

The thing you’re doing can’t be too easy! Otherwise, we won’t feel satisfied when you finally do it. The process of completing your goal or solving your problem should contain an obstacle that you overcome.

  • Obstacle: I have to spend three hours a day after school in marching band, so I don’t have much time to study.

Conclusion: Stakes

Broadly, the stakes are “why does matter?” This can take many forms, such as:

  • What happens if I’m successful vs. unsuccessful?

  • How did/can this impact me?

  • How did/can this impact others?

We want to see specific, concrete results or changes, especially for a leadership, community, or teamwork essay.

Good Luck!

As always, let us know in the comments below if you have any topics you'd like us to address.