Writing Ideas

Describe A Time When You Made A Meaningful Contribution To Others In Which The Greater Good Was Your Focus

Last year, college hopefuls were subject to a new university application replacing the old Common App that has dominated the college application scene for many years. With this, came many changes that have affected many parts of the application.

One of the biggest affects parts of the application is the essay prompt that students have to do. These essay prompts give a topic for students to write about that will be considered by college administrators when deciding whether or not to give an applicant a space at their institution.

One of these prompts asks students to think about a time when they made meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was their focus. It also goes on to tell students to focus on the challenges and rewards of their contribution. In this article, we will outline the best strategy to tackling such a prompt for your application, and how to ensure that the institutions you apply to see your essay favorably.


The most important aspect of writing about this prompt is to keep your writing original and to avoid clich├ęs or typical examples that many students will talk about for this prompt. Firstly, the essay should be highly personal and should talk about your contributions specifically.

For example, if you are talking about a group activity in which you were heavily involved, you want to avoid focusing on the tasks of the group as a whole, and you will want to focus on the tasks you were required to handle and what effect this had on the outcome of the group task.

You also need to ensure that your essay does not only talk about your tasks, but also how your contributions shaped for. So, for example, if you were involved with tutoring, it simple is not enough to just describe your experience as a whole, as many students will be going down this route.

To ensure that you complete this prompt successfully, we would recommend for you to highlight one particular student that you taught, and describe how this experience shaped your overall contribution as a tutor to the organization you worked at.

Another point to keep in mind when writing this prompt is that you contribution should be meaningful. Describe why and how you had to go above and beyond to deliver a meaningful contribution. How you have had to make a sacrifice for the sake of another person.

You should also describe the things that motivate you and why you care about these causes. You need to show the people handling the admissions that you are passionate about the causes you believe in and show that the contribution you made was due to your belief in these causes. All these topics should form a pivotal part of your essay prompt reply.

As you can see, this is a tricky prompt to navigate, as it requires a highly personal example, and many students can fall into the trap of giving a generalized example to talk about.