Colleges have begun rolling out essay supplements for 2017/2018 admissions. For the record, essay prompts and other application specifications can almost always be found on their respective college websites. For ease, we've collated those we could find here.
Note that both the Coalition Application and the Common Application have already posted prompts for personal statements. With luck, you might find supplementary essay prompts for certain schools posted in advance of official application launch dates. Some were released July 1st, while others won't be revealed until October 1st.
Additionally, while not all dates have been released yet, at least one school (University of Texas at Austin) has a priority deadline of November 1.
Applicants submitting either the Coalition Application or Common Application are asked to respond to the following short answer questions:
- Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
- Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
- What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
- What inspires? (35 words or fewer)
- Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask? (35 words or fewer)
- You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
- Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six people. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)
Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay: If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)
You will be asked to respond to the prompts below.
- Beyond rankings, location, and athletics, why are you interested in attending Georgia Tech? (max 150 words)
- Please choose one of the following questions and provide an answer in 150 words or less.
- Tech’s motto is Progress and Service. We find that students who ultimately have a broad impact first had a significant one at home. What is your role in your immediate or extended family? And how have you seen evidence of your impact on them?
- Georgia Tech is always looking for innovative undergraduates. Have you had any experience as an entrepreneur? What would you like Georgia Tech to provide to further your entrepreneurial interests?
- We challenge our students to “be comfortable being uncomfortable”. Tell us about a time in high school that you felt outside of your comfort zone and the resolution.
Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience. (max 400 words).
1. Please respond in 100 words or less:
Oh, The Places You’ll Go is one of the most popular books by “Dr. Seuss,” Dartmouth Class of 1925. Where do you hope to go? What aspects of Dartmouth’s curriculum or community might help you get there?
2. Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:
- Shonda Rhimes, Dartmouth ’91, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, recently documented her Year of Yes; for one year she vowed to say YES to everything that scared her. Share a moment when you stepped out of your comfort zone, and describe how it helped you grow into who you are today.
- Celebrate an example of excellent teaching and how it illuminated the subject you were studying. Why did it resonate with you and excite your intellectual curiosity?
- In the wake of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” If you could tackle any of the world’s “troubles,” which one captures your imagination and inspires you to act? What would you invent or devise to mitigate it and how might your coursework at Dartmouth inform your ambitions?
- “It’s not easy being green” was a frequent lament of Kermit the Frog. Discuss.
- “Three things in human life are important,” said the novelist Henry James. “The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Share a moment when kindness guided your actions.
- “Won’t you be my neighbor?” was the signature catchphrase of Fred Rogers ’50, the creator and host of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. What kind of neighbor will you be in our undergraduate community at Dartmouth? What impact have you had on the neighbors in your life?
Short answer (1): Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (Response required in about 150 words.)
Short answer (2): Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (Response required in about 150 words.)
In addition to providing a few details, write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no fewer than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point:
- Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.
- “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.”
Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University and co-founder of Blackplanet.com. This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.
- “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, Princeton University.
- Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.
Engineers: Write a 300-500 word essay describing why you are interested in studying engineering, any experiences in or exposure to engineering you have had and how you think the programs in engineering offered at Princeton suit your particular interests.
In 150 words or fewer, please briefly describe what aspect of the Columbia community, outside of the classroom, would you most want to impact and why.
Please list the following (150 words or fewer for each question):
- the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year;
- the titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year;
- the titles of print or electronic publications you read regularly;
- and the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.
Please answer the following short answer questions (300 words or fewer for each question):
- Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why.
- If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time.
- If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section.
The primary focus of your college interest essay should be what you intend to study at Cornell. In the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 650 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Describe two or three of your intellectual interests and why you are excited to pursue them within your chosen major in AAP. What personal experiences, background, or future goals will you bring to your scholarly and artistic pursuits at Cornell?
College of Arts and Sciences: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?
College of Business, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
College of Business, School of Hotel Administration: The global hospitality industry includes hotel and foodservice management, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, technology, and law. Describe what has influenced your decision to study business through the lens of hospitality. What personal qualities make you a good fit for SHA?
College of Engineering: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in.
College of Human Ecology: How have your experiences influenced you to consider the College of Human Ecology and how will your choice of major(s) impact your goals and plans for the future?
School of Industrial and Labor Relations: Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.
You may respond to up to three of the essay prompts (choose one, two, or three) as you feel they support your individual application. (250-300 words)
- What are the top five reasons you want to be a Hokie?
- If there is something you think would be beneficial for the Admissions Committee to know as we review your academic history, please take this opportunity to explain.
- Our motto is Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). How is service to others important in your life?
- We believe strongly in the Virginia Tech Principles of Community and the value of human diversity affirmed therein. Share a perspective or experience related to your culture, age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status that might explain how you will enrich the climate of mutual respect and understanding here.
- Virginia Tech is one of six senior military institutions in the country. How will this setting contribute to your college experience?
- Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
Note that Virginia Tech will not be accepting the Coalition Application this year. According to admissions staff, the CollegeNet application will go live in mid-August with this new set of essay prompts.
Choose one, approximately 250-650 words.
- We live in an urban-global age with more than half of the planet’s people living in cities. Trinity College is an urban liberal arts college deeply engaged with the local community and committed to making an impact across the world. How do you aspire to use your education to impact local and global communities?
- Our mission states: “Engage. Connect. Transform. As the preeminent liberal arts college in an urban setting, Trinity College prepares students to be bold, independent thinkers who lead transformative lives.” Keeping the three pillars of the mission in mind, how do you see yourself contributing to the Trinity community?
- Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short: “Why Tufts?” (50–100 words)
- There is a Quaker saying: “Let your life speak.” Describe the environment in which you were raised – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – and how it influenced the person you are today. (200–250 words)
- Now we’d like to know a little bit more about you. Please respond to one of the following six questions (200-250 words). Students applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering should select from prompts A-E. Students applying to the SMFA at Tufts' BFA program or the Five-Year BFA + BA/BS Combined Degree program must answer prompt F.
A) It's cool to be smart. Tell us about the subjects or ideas that excite your intellectual curiosity.
B) In a time when we’re always plugged in (and sometimes tuned out), tell us about a time when you listened, truly listened, to a person or a cause. How did that moment change you?
C) Celebrate the role of sports in your life.
D) Whether you've built blanket forts or circuit boards, produced community theater or mixed media art installations, tell us: what have you invented, engineered, created, or designed? Or what do you hope to?
E) What makes you happy? Why?
F) Artist Bruce Nauman once said: "One of the factors that still keeps me in the studio is that every so often I have to more or less start all over." Everyone deals with failure differently; for most artists failure is an opportunity to start something new. Tell us about a time when you have failed and how that has influenced your art practice.
University of Texas at Austin
Submit at least one essay:
- What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person. (required, all)
- Considering nursing as your first-choice major, discuss how your current and future academic activities, extracurricular pursuits and life experiences will help you achieve your goals. (required for Nursing majors)
Short answer topics: answer at least three (250-300 words).
- If you could have any career, what would it be? Why? Describe any activities you are involved in, life experiences you’ve had, or even classes you’ve taken that have helped you identify this professional path.
- Do you believe your academic record (transcript information and test scores) provide an accurate representation of you as a student? Why or why not?
- How do you show leadership in your life? How do you see yourself being a leader at UT Austin?
- Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (art history, design, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area? (required for art and art history applicants, 450-500 words)
- Discuss the reasons you chose social work as your first-choice major and how a social work degree from UT Austin will prepare you for the future. (required for social work applicants, 450-500 words)
University of Washington
Essay 1: required, 300 words.
Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the University of Washington.
Essay 2: optional. You are not required to write anything in this section, but you may include additional information if something has particular significance to you. For example, you may use this space if:
- You are hoping to be placed in a specific major soon
- A personal or professional goal is particularly important to you
- You have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education
- Your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations
- You have experienced unusual limitations or opportunities unique to the schools you attended
Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. 150-400 words.
Choose one from the three choices, 250-1000 words.
Note: the Villanova Essay should have a separate and distinctive response to that of the Common Application Essay.
- At Villanova, we believe that it is our similarities that make us strong, but our differences that make us stronger. Please tell us about a relationship that you have with someone who is different from you and how that has changed who you are today.
- “Become what you are not yet”– Saint Augustine. When you daydream, who do you hope to become in the future?
- Describe a book, movie, song or other work of art that has been significant to you since you were young and how its meaning has changed for you as you have grown.
University of Oregon
Essay 1: required, 500 words.
Tell us, in your own unique voice, something about you we cannot find elsewhere on your application. We purposefully do not prescribe any one topic for the personal statement, because we want you to share what’s important to you. If you need some direction, though, a few topics you may consider include your future ambitions or goals, a significant experience that is integral to your personal identity, or a special talent or unique interest that sets you apart from your peers.
Essay 2: optional, 50-500 words. Choose one.
- Describe an experience with discrimination, whether it was fighting against discrimination or recognizing your contribution to discriminating against a person or group. What did you learn from the experience? In what ways will you bring those lessons to University of Oregon?
- The University of Oregon values difference, and we take pride in our diverse community. Please explain how you will share your experiences, values, and interests with our community. In what ways can you imagine offering your support to others?
We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts. (max 400 words)
- Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.
- Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?
- Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?
- Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?
University of Michigan
Required for all applicants. 250 words approximate; 500 words maximum.
- Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
- Freshman applicants: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?
University of North Carolina
Choose two. Each prompt is limited to 200-250 words.
- Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.
- What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
- What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want us to know?
- What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?
University of Richmond
- Sometimes asking the right question makes all the difference. If you were a college admission counselor, what essay question would you ask? Please craft and answer your own essay prompt – in your response, reflect on what your chosen question reveals about you.
- How will you use your Richmond Guarantee?