The following essays are listed below: Common Application, Amherst College, Boston College, Emory University, Florida State University, Georgetown University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Tufts University, University of California, University of Central Florida, University of Chicago, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Florida, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, Wellesley College, Yale University
Common Application Essays 2016
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
University of Florida Essay:
Please choose one. 500 words
- You have been elected President of the United States. Write your inauguration speech for us.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” Describe a time when your perspective changed. How did your perspective change and why did it change?
- If you were offered the role of the villain or the hero in a movie, which role would you accept and why?
- If admitted to the University of Florida, tell us three SPECIFIC things you plan to do during your time here.
We ask that you respond to two of the topics below. Your responses should be no longer than a total of 500 words or 7,000 characters.
- If there has been some obstacle or bump in the road in your academic or personal life, please explain the circumstances.
- How has your family history, culture, or environment influenced who you are?
- Why did you choose to apply to UCF?
- What qualities or unique characteristics do you possess that will allow you to contribute to the UCF community?
We firmly believe that every person is unique and of value. Our university is enriched by embracing individual differences and creating a community that is much more than the sum of its parts. In 650 words or less, share your story with us. Tell us how you came to be the person you are today, and about your passions and future expectations. Describe how you will benefit from our community and how our community will benefit from you.
University of California Essays:
All applicants must respond to two essay prompts. Responses to your two prompts must be a maximum of 1,000 words total. Allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.
Freshman applicant prompt:
Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Prompt for all applicants:
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
University of Chicago Supplement:
Question 1 (Required):
How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.
Question 2 (Optional):
Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.
Extended Essay Questions:
(Required; Choose one)
Essay Option 1.
Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced?
Essay Option 2.
“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with?
Essay Option 3.
Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.
Essay Option 4.
“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” –Paul Gauguin. What is your “art”? Is it plagiarism or revolution?
Essay Option 5.
Rerhceseras say it’s siltl plisbsoe to raed txet wtih olny the frist and lsat ltteres in palce. This is beaucse the hamun mnid can fnid oderr in dorsdier. Give us your best example of finding order in disorder. (For your reader’s sake, please use full sentences with conventional spelling).
Essay Option 6.
In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.
Essay Option 7.
In the spirit of historically adventurous inquiry, to celebrate the University of Chicago’s 125th anniversary, please feel free to select from any of our past essay questions.
UNC Chapel Hill Supplement:
You’ll submit two essays, the first of which is from the main part of the Common Application. These prompts are common to all schools who accept the Common Application and you can view the prompts here.
The second essay will be specific to the UNC application. You’ll choose one prompt and respond in an essay of 400-500 words. Here are the questions:
- Teen activist and 2014 Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai said, “I raise up my voice-not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard”. For whom have you raised your voice?
- Students learn both inside and outside the classroom. What would other members of the Carolina community learn from you?
- You get one do-over of any moment in your life. What would you do over, and why?
- You’ve been invited to give a TEDtalk. What is yours about?
- There are 27 amendments to the Constitution of the US. What should be the 28th?
University of Virginia Supplement:
1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words.
- College of Arts and Sciences – What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
- School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – U.Va. engineers are working to solve problems that affect people around the world, from our long-term water purification project in South Africa to continuing to research more efficient applications of solar power. However, most students start small, by using engineering to make a difference in daily life. If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make your everyday life better, what would you do?
- School of Architecture – Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
- School of Nursing – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
- Kinesiology Program – Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.
- What’s your favorite word and why?
- We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
- Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the U.Va. culture. In her fourth year at U.Va., Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
- U.Va. students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
Vanderbilt University Supplement:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150-400 words)
University of Michigan Supplement:
Essay #1 (Required for all applicants. Approximately 250 words.)
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.
Essay #2 (Required for all applicants. 500 words maximum.) FRESHMEN 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 Pennsylvania Supplement:
How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying.
The essay should be between 400-650 words.
Georgia Tech Supplement:
- Beyond rankings, location, and athletics, why are you interested in attending Georgia Tech? (max 150 words)
- A Georgia Tech experience and education provides you an unbound future. What will yours be? (max 150 words)
- Georgia Tech‘s motto is Progress & Service. In 25 words or less, what is your personal motto?
University of Colorado-Boulder Essays:
The University of Colorado Boulder’s Flagship 2030 strategic plan promotes exceptional teaching, research, scholarship, creative works, and service distinguishing us as a premier university. We strive to foster a diverse and inclusive community for all that engages each member in opportunities for academic excellence, leadership, and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.
Given the statement above, how do you think you could enrich our diverse and inclusive community, and what are your hopes for your college experience?
500 words maximum
Georgetown University Essays:
Required for all applicants
Indicate any special talents or skills that you possess.
No limit provided
Required for all applicants
In the space available discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.
No limit provided
Required for all applicants
As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you. (Approximately 1 page)
Required for all applicants (based on particular school)
APPLICANTS TO GEORGETOWN COLLEGE: Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study? (If you are applying to major in the FLL or in a Science, please specifically address those interests.)
APPLICANTS TO THE SCHOOL OF NURSING & HEALTH STUDIES: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major (Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, International Health, or Nursing).
APPLICANTS TO THE WALSH SCHOOL OF FOREIGN SERVICE: Briefly discuss a current global issue, indicating why you consider it important and what you suggest should be done to deal with it.
APPLICANTS TO THE MCDONOUGH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: The McDonough School of Business is a national and global leader in providing graduates with essential ethical, analytical, financial and global perspectives. Please discuss your motivations for studying business at Georgetown. (Approximately 1 page)
Tufts University Supplement:
Short Responses (Required of all Applicants)
Think outside the box as you answer the following questions. Take a risk and go somewhere unexpected. Be serious if the moment calls for it but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too.
- 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):A) Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—the first elected female head of state in Africa and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize—has lived a life of achievement. “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough,” she once said. As you apply to college, what are your dreams?
B) What makes you happy?C) Science and society are filled with rules, theories, and laws such as the First Amendment, PV=nRT, Occam’s Razor, and The Law of Diminishing Returns. In baseball, three strikes and you’re out. A green light on a roadway means “go.” Pick any law and explain its significance to you.D) It’s cool to be smart. Tell us about the subjects or ideas that excite your intellectual curiosity.E) Nelson Mandela believed that “what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Describe a way in which you have made or hope to make a difference.F) Celebrate the role of sports in your life.
To satisfy Amherst’s supplementary writing requirement for the first-year application, you may choose either Option A or Option B, described below. Please note that these descriptions are provided for convenience of preview only; your actual writing supplement should be submitted through the Common Application online system (unless you are submitting the QuestBridge application only, in which case you will be directed to mail your supplement to our office).
Option A Respond to one of the following quotations in an essay of not more than 300 words. It is not necessary to research, read, or refer to the texts from which these quotations are taken; we are looking for original, personal responses to these short excerpts. Remember that your essay should be personal in nature and not simply an argumentative essay.
“Rigorous reasoning is crucial in mathematics, and insight plays an important secondary role these days. In the natural sciences, I would say that the order of these two virtues is reversed. Rigor is, of course, very important. But the most important value is insight—insight into the workings of the world. It may be because there is another guarantor of correctness in the sciences, namely, the empirical evidence from observation and experiments.” Kannan Jagannathan, Professor of Physics, Amherst College
“Literature is the best way to overcome death. My father, as I said, is an actor. He’s the happiest man on earth when he’s performing, but when the show is over, he’s sad and troubled. I wish he could live in the eternal present, because in the theater everything remains in memories and photographs. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to live in the present and to remain in the pantheon of the future. Literature is a way to say, I was here, this is what I thought, this is what I perceived. This is my signature, this is my name.” Ilán Stavans, Professor of Spanish, Amherst College. From “The Writer in Exile: An Interview with Ilán Stavans” by Saideh Pakravan for the Fall 1993 issue of The Literary Review.
“It seems to me incumbent upon this and other schools’ graduates to recognize their responsibility to the public interest…unless the graduates of this college…are willing to put back into our society those talents, the broad sympathy, the understanding, the compassion… then obviously the presuppositions upon which our democracy are based are bound to be fallible.” John F. Kennedy, at the ground breaking for the Amherst College Frost Library, October 26, 1963
“Stereotyped beliefs have the power to become self-fulfilling prophesies for behavior.” Elizabeth Aires, Professor of Psychology, Amherst College. From her book: Men and Women In Interaction, Reconsidering the Difference.
“Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat. Rather achievement can be all the more satisfying because of obstacles surmounted.” Attributed to William Hastie, Amherst Class of 1925, the first African-American to serve as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals
Submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should NOT submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay.
University of Richmond Supplement:
For the Richmond Question, please choose ONE of the two essay prompts: (1) From small, faculty-led classes to funded undergraduate research, the University of Richmond offers the benefits of both a liberal arts college and the opportunities and resources typically found in large research universities. Tell us how you would utilize these resources in order to reach your goals; OR (2) Tell us about Spiders.
Indiana University Essay:
Describe your academic and career plans and any special interest (for example, scientific research) that you are eager to pursue as an undergraduate at Indiana University. Also, share any unusual circumstances, challenges, or obstacles you have encountered in pursuit of your education and how you overcame them. This essay may be used in scholarship consideration for student who submit a Selective Scholarship Application. Attach your brief essay (200-400 words) to your application.
Wake Forest University Supplement:
Help us get to know you better by responding briefly to these questions. No need for research, just be creative and enjoy the process.
- List five books you have read (with authors) that piqued your curiosity. Discuss an idea from one of these works that influenced you.
- We want to know what makes you tick intellectually. A paper? A project? An academic passion? Describe it.
- Hashtags trend worldwide. Give us a hashtag you wish were trending. #______________________________________ Why?
- Give us your top ten list.
- There is a nationwide dialogue about cross-cultural interactions. Like most college campuses, Wake Forest is currently in a place of conversation about what it means to engage across difference. As a country, why do you think we have reached this point?
- What outrages you and why?
Use the following essay to give the Admissions Committee insight into your character and intellect. Watch this: http://go.wfu.edu/thisisaboutyou
- Right now, what is uniquely you?
Wellesley College Supplement:
When choosing a college community, you are choosing a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. Generations of inspiring women have thrived in the Wellesley community, and we want to know what aspects of this community inspire you to consider Wellesley. We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but the “Wellesley 100” is a good place to start. Visit the Wellesley 100 and let us know, in two well-developed paragraphs, which two items most attract, inspire, or energize you and why. (PS: “Why” matters to us.)
Yale’s essay question is required for all freshman applicants:
- Please reflect on something you would like us to know about you that we might not learn from the rest of your application, or on something about which you would like to say more. You may write about anything—from personal experiences or goals to interests or intellectual pursuits. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer).We encourage you to visit http://admissions.yale.edu/essay, where you will find helpful advice.
Optional essay for prospective engineering majors:
- 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.
Boston College Supplement:
We would like to get a better sense of you. Please select one of the questions below and write an essay of 400 words or less providing your response.
- What contemporary issue or trend relating to politics, culture and society, or foreign policy particularly concerns you and why?
- Many human beings throughout history have found inspiration and joy in literature and works of art. Is there a book, play, poem, movie, painting, music selection, or photograph that has been especially meaningful for you?
- Contemporary higher education reflects a tension between preparing for a meaningful life and preparing for a career. What are you looking for in an undergraduate education? Which emphasis is important to you at this moment and why?
- “Magis”, a Latin word meaning “more,” is often cited in reference to the goals of Jesuit education, which seeks to help students become better, do more, and have as much impact on society as possible. How do you hope to achieve the Magis in your life?
Emory University Supplement:
In addition to the Common Application’s Personal Statement, applicants to Emory University are required to compose an answer—500 words or less—to one of the following essay options:
Essay Option 1
Last August, Susan Grant, chief nurse executive for Emory Healthcare, said this of Emory’s choice to treat patients with Ebola: “We can either let our actions be guided by misunderstandings, fear and self-interest, or we can lead by knowledge, science and compassion. We can fear, or we can care.” Consider her idea of doing what is in the public interest despite potential cost. Please discuss an example in your life or the life of another that’s come to your attention.
Essay Option 2:
In the spirit of Emory’s tradition of courageous inquiry, what question do you want to help answer, and why?
University of Maryland Essay Prompts and Short Answer Questions:
Your essay should be no more than 500 words. Include the question you choose at the start of your essay. The question will not be included in the essay word count.
- Terps are diverse. They bring intellectual, social and cultural differences to our community. Describe the different parts of you which will contribute to our diverse campus community.
- Tell us about a time when your expectations and outcomes differed. How did you grow from this experience?
- Include an image of a place that is significant to you. Share its story with us. (Please upload your image in the document with your essay).
- Big problems need big solutions, and Terps are often asked to “Think Big.” Tell us about a time when you encountered a problem and implemented a solution.
To tell us more about yourself, please complete the following sentences using only the space provided: (ICC Note: Space provided is max of 160 characters for each question)
If I could travel anywhere, I would go to…
The most interesting fact I ever learned from research was…
In addition to my major, my academic interests include…
My favorite thing about last Thursday was…
Something you might not know about me is…