Ultimately, you should try to choose to write about a failure based more on the lessons you learned from it than the failure itself. The second is harder to discuss because you’re ashamed about it: you weren’t there for a friend when they needed you, and consequently, you ruined a friendship.
As you are deciding which failure to discuss, look for overlap in your notes.
The key here is to make use of your brainstorming notes—the more notes you have, the easier this step will be.
So that they stand out, highlight all of the “failures” you enumerated over the course of the first three prompts, paying special attention to the listed lessons you were able to pull from each one. The first is the story of how you were late to ballet class (and thus allows you to discuss your most substantial extracurricular activity), but it doesn’t provide much of a platform for discussing a major life lesson (you learned how important it is to be punctual, and that’s about it).
If you think of yourself as someone who is particularly reflective or able to derive lessons from various life experiences, this is certainly a prompt you would be good at writing.
Before we go any further, we need to address some common pitfalls you should avoid while brainstorming.
More broadly, though, this prompt is asking you to reflect on times in your life when things did not go as planned and to show that you learned something from those incidents.
Thus, it positions you well to show humility and maturity by not only admitting that you are less than perfect (as we all are) but also reflecting on your mistakes and rendering them learning opportunities.
The first major mistake you can make is forgetting the prompt, which is easier to do than it sounds.
Somewhere between drafting your personal statement and pressing the ‘submit” button on Common App.org, it is easy to lose sight of the text of the prompt you are answering.