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Is an adversity essay different than a challenge essay?

Med16484

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Hi, I just wanted to clarify that these are two different things, correct? Like an adversity essay would pertain to a more serious personal adversity we have gone through while a challenge essay is not as consequential?
 

longhaul3

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Not everyone faces significant adversity (at least not significant enough to read an essay about without eye-rolling). Adversity is generally something out of one's control that hinders one's ability to advance, perform, achieve one's potential.

But everyone faces challenges that require perseverance and contribute to meaningful life experience. These are things like difficult ethical decisions, complicated interpersonal issues, huge projects, etc.
 
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Med16484

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They are the same more or less
So it would be appropriate to mention something that is not considered as severe for an adversity essay? I raised a guide dog in college and took him to all of my classes. I got him when he was a puppy so at first it really affected physical health, social life, and grades slightly as I adjusted taking him everywhere I went. I felt like it was appropriate for a challenge essay but would it be okay for adversity?
 

LizzyM

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So it would be appropriate to mention something that is not considered as severe for an adversity essay? I raised a guide dog in college and took him to all of my classes. I got him when he was a puppy so at first it really affected physical health, social life, and grades slightly as I adjusted taking him everywhere I went. I felt like it was appropriate for a challenge essay but would it be okay for adversity?

Always read and respond to the prompt. Is the essay mandatory or optional? If it is optional, skip it if you have lived a charmed life. Don't claim some inconveninece as an adversity if that's all you've got.

The definition is "difficulty or misfortune". What a school might be looking for is the grit to overcome adversity rather than the magnitude of the adversity so don't feel as if you have to make the story as sad as possible as the point may be the interior strength you mustered to overcome a difficulty rather than the difficulty itself.
 
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Chris P. Bacon

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They are the same more or less

They are NOT the same.

Adversity is referring to something working against you to some degree when compared to the greater population. For example, being the first person in your family to pursue higher education compared to other applicants. A challenge is something that is presented to you that you have to overcome. For example, you struggled in one science course but you excelled in upper level courses. You can't always overcome adversity but you can always find a way to overcome a challenge. Make sense?
 
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gonnif

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They are NOT the same.

Adversity is referring to something working against you to some degree when compared to the greater population. For example, being the first person in your family to pursue higher education compared to other applicants. A challenge is something that is presented to you that you have to overcome. For example, you struggled in one science course but you excelled in upper level courses. You can't always overcome adversity but you can always find a way to overcome a challenge. Make sense?
Gee, thanks for educating me in my nearly 40 years of admissions and premed advising work. I will take it under advisement

I will repeat what I said before: for most students, they are the same more or less. And @LizzyM has stated, answer the question in the prompt
 
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Chris P. Bacon

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Gee, thanks for educating me in my nearly 40 years of admissions and premed advising work. I will take it under advisement

I will repeat what I said before: for most students, they are the same more or less. And @LizzyM has stated, answer the question in the prompt

You're never too old to learn something new man.

I like my explanation better...because it is more precise.

To each their own though.
 

gonnif

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You're never too old to learn something new man.

I like my explanation better...because it is more precise.

To each their own though.
And precision for the task at hand matters. For neurotic, overstressed premeds, the simpler explanation is more suited for their needs as ultimately it is up to the applicant to decide what in their life fits tge question. For example By your definition, a student with both parents as physicians, well off, etc never had to want for anything really has adversity in life. Therefore would they answer “NA”? Of course not. So digging further what adcoms want to see is what adversity you faced, however large or small, and more importantly, how you dealt with it and what does it say about your personal attributes and characteristics.
 
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Chris P. Bacon

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And precision for the task at hand matters. For neurotic, overstressed premeds, the simpler explanation is more suited for their needs as ultimately it is up to the applicant to decide what in their life fits tge question. For example By your definition, a student with both parents as physicians, well off, etc never had to want for anything really has adversity in life. Therefore would they answer “NA”? Of course not. So digging further what adcoms want to see is what adversity you faced, however large or small, and more importantly, how you dealt with it and what does it say about your personal attributes and characteristics.

Well it is a question that requires a lot of introspection. My concern was that the OP and perhaps others are going to make the mistake of taking the easier approach and answering that question rather superficially. I think you and I both know that if 1000 people (applicants) answer this same question that most of the answers will start to sound the same after some time. The key to nailing this question is to differentiate between adversity vs. challenge and make the person reading your statement actually want to read it. That is why I used the example that I used because sometimes how you overcome a challenge is a lot more interesting than discussing adversity. I hope that makes sense.
 
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