这个belief or idea,可以非常“宏观”，比如大众、社会所广泛接受的信仰或观点；也可以很“微观”，比如他人的观点，可以是同学的、老师的、家长的、甚至是自己的。
What prompted you to act? 你为何要质疑/挑战这个观点？这里是表述你core value和你的personality的好时机。一篇好文章的要素之一就是诚实。在这里，你也可以描述自己做出这一决定所遇到的困难和阻碍。
Would you make the same decision again? 如果现在再给你一次机会，你还会做出当时的决定吗？ 答案可以是yes,也可是是no. 可能你很勇敢，挑战了一个固有信念或观点，虽然遇到了阻碍和困难，可是依然坚持自己的决定。也可能是另一种情况，你当初坚信自己的是对的，可是经历了一切之后，发现当初其实是自己不够成熟，应当改变的其实是自己；或者发现改变的成本太大，需要采取另一种策略。
通用申请（Common Application or Common App ）是大学在线申请的一站式平台，又称CA（网址：https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/Default.aspx ）。是通用申请会员协会（The Common Application Membership Association）的简称。它成立于1975年，由15家私立大学共同发起组建，它的理事会由13位大学录取官和高中辅导老师组成。目前已经有527个会员学校，大部分是私立学校和部分的公立学校，包括哈佛、耶鲁、普林斯顿等常春藤名校。
话题一：Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Common application has a maximum word limit for essay which is 650. Many colleges who don’t use the Common Application also have clearly defined length limits for the essays.
I receive lots of email messages asking about these length limits. Can you go over the limit? If so, by how much? What if you need 700 words to convey your ideas? What if your essay is just a few words over?
These are all good questions. After all, 650 words is not a lot of space in which to convey your personality, passions, and writing ability to the folks in the admissions office.
However, the new Common Application won’t let you go over the limit. With CA4, the new Common Application, you’ll need to enter your essay in a text box that counts words. You won’t be allowed to enter anything over 650 words. Note that there is also a minimum length–CA4 won’t accept any essay under 250 words.
If you are applying to a college that does allow you to go over the limit, or if you have a supplemental essay with a recommended word count, you still should not go over the limit. Here’s why:
Good college students know how to follow directions: If a professor assigns a 5-page paper, she doesn’t want a 10-page paper. If you have 50 minutes to take a college exam, you can’t have 55 minutes. Think about the message you’re sending a college if you don’t follow the directions on the application. Will a college want to admit a student who thinks directions are optional?
Good writers know how to edit and cut: As you revise your essay, keep asking yourself what ideas are truly essential. Everything else can go.
The Common Application and other college applications ask for relatively short essays because college admissions officers don’t want to waste time reading long, rambling, unfocused, poorly edited essays. Not all colleges, however, are fans of the shorter length.
Some colleges like a longer essay because they can get to know their applicants better, and they get to see how well applicants can sustain focus in a longer piece of writing (a valuable college skill). However, for any application essay you write, follow the directions. If a college wants a long essay, the directions will ask for it.