Supplemental Essay Questions For Fall 2017 Applicants

Amherst

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In addition to the main essays you must write as part of the Common Application, Coalition Application or QuestBridge Application, Amherst requires a supplementary writing sample of all applicants.

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 or the Coalition Application online system (unless you are submitting the QuestBridge application only, in which case you will be instructed on how to email, mail or fax 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

“Translation is the art of bridging cultures. It’s about interpreting the essence of a text, transporting its rhythms and becoming intimate with its meaning… Translation, however, doesn’t only occur across languages: mentally putting any idea into words is an act of translation; so is composing a symphony, doing business in the global market, understanding the roots of terrorism. No citizen, especially today, can exist in isolation– that is, I untranslated.”
Ilán Stavans, Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College, Robert Croll ’16 and Cedric Duquene ’15, from “Interpreting Terras Irradient,” Amherst Magazine, Spring 2015.

“Creating an environment that allows students to build lasting friendships, including those that cut across seemingly entrenched societal and political boundaries…requires candor about the inevitable tensions, as well as about the wonderful opportunities, that diversity and inclusiveness create.”
Carolyn “Biddy” Martin, 19th President of Amherst College, from Letter to Amherst College Alumni and Families, December 28, 2015.

“Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat. Rather, achievement can be all the more satisfying because of obstacles surmounted.” Attributed to William Hastie, Amherst College Class of 1925, the first African-American to serve as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals

Option B 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.

Cal Tech

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Please list three books, along with their authors, that have been particularly meaningful to you. For each book, please include a sentence explaining their influence upon you. Please note that your response is not limited to math, science or school-assigned texts.

What three experiences or activities have helped you explore your desire to study and possibly pursue a career in STEM? (200 max)

Members of the Caltech community live, learn, and work within an Honor System with one simple guideline; “No member shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community.” While seemingly simple, questions of ethics, honesty and integrity are sometimes puzzling. Share a difficult decision that has challenged you. What was your response, and how did you arrive to a solution? (200 words max)

Caltech students have long been known for their quirky sense of humor and creative pranks. Please describe an unusual way in which you have fun. (200 words max)

In an increasingly global and interdependent society, there is a need for diversity in thought, background, and experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity of Caltech’s community? (200 words max)

Scientific exploration clearly excites you. Beyond our 3:1 student to faculty ratio and our intense focus on research opportunities, how do you believe Caltech will best fuel your intellectual curiosity and help you meet your goals? (500 words max)

Colgate

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In addition to your personal statement, Colgate requires a supplemental short-answer essay, applicable for both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Please respond, in 250 words or less, to one of the following prompts:

  • The Mission Statement for Colgate University sets forth 13 Goals for a Colgate Education. One goal for Colgate students is listed as: Be engaged citizens and strive for a just society: embrace the responsibilities to local, national, and global communities; use their influence for the benefit of others. Please describe how you would embrace this goal as a Colgate student.
  • Colgate prides itself in tradition. Please describe a religious, cultural, or family tradition you can share with the Colgate community.
  • We want to get to know you better. What are three words that your best friend would use to describe you and why?
  • Colgate’s core curriculum teaches students empathy, informed debate, and critical thinking. Please tell us what book or piece of literature you believe is important for the entire Colgate Class of 2021 to read. Why?
Cornell

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College Interest Essays

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.

University of Delaware (Honors)

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Write a 250 to 500 word essay answering one of these three questions.

Question 1: The University of Delaware Strategic Plan emphasizes the role of the University in addressing the grand challenges of our time. Identify one or two grand challenges that you believe are most significant for your generation. What recommendations do you have for addressing these challenges and what outcomes do you hope to see? In what ways will your college experience be relevant?

Question 2: Wallace Bacon, an eminent literary scholar, wrote that the liberal arts and humanities “are concerned with the question of what makes life worth living.” Tell us what you think makes life worth living. Include a brief discussion of any particularly meaningful experiences, works of literature, art, music, etc. that have influenced your perspective and tell us how you intend to explore this question as a UD Honors student.

Question 3: What are you optimistic about. Why?

George Washington

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In addition to the Common Application, you must complete the Writing Supplement. The GW supplemental essay question is a chance to show your personality and share your voice beyond your application. Select one of the essay questions on the Common Application and respond in 250 words or fewer.

Essay Option 1: Your Greatest Learning Experience
Research shows that an ability to learn from experiences outside the classroom correlates with success in college. What was your greatest learning experience over the past four years that took place outside of the traditional classroom?

Essay Option 2: Your Shoulder to Lean On
Historians write that Martha Washington was George Washington’s sounding board and closest confidant. Reflect on a significant challenge you have encountered during your high school career. Tell us about the person (mentor, family member, friend, coach, teacher, etc.) who provided support, advice, and wisdom to you in times of difficulty.

Essay Option 3: You & GW
We imagine you have spent a great deal of time researching different colleges and universities. Describe how GW offers a strong fit with your interests, talents and goals.

Hamilton

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While the primary criteria for admission are academic achievement, intellectual promise, and community engagement, Hamilton also seeks to admit candidates who are a good fit with the programs and experiences offered by the College. Please take this opportunity (in 100 – 250 words) to tell us about your interest in Hamilton and, in particular, why you believe it is a place where you can thrive. Be open. Be honest. Be brief.

Johns Hopkins

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Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 on a spirit of exploration and discovery. As a result, students can pursue a multi-dimensional undergraduate experience both in and outside of the classroom. Given the opportunities at Hopkins, please discuss your current interests—academic or extracurricular pursuits, personal passions, summer experiences, etc.—and how you will build upon them here.

UMBC (Honors)

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In approximately 600 words, write an essay that addresses one of these two questions.

(1) Describe one of your most exciting intellectual experiences (for example, a book you read, a performance you attended, a paper you wrote, an experiment you designed, a trip you took, or something else) and discuss how it has influenced your thinking.

(2) Many of this century’s problems will require interdisciplinary solutions. Identify an important problem and describe an interdisciplinary approach to solving that problem.

In a paragraph of no more than 250 words, answer each of these questions:

1. What are your principal areas of academic interest? What are your career goals?

2. What are your areas of interest and involvement in and outside of school?

3. What service and leadership experience have you engaged in through school and/or your community?

University of Michigan

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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?

Notre Dame

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Please provide a response between 150 and 200 words to the following question (required).
Notre Dame is an adventure that will develop more than just your intellect. Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, believed that to provide a true education “the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” What excites you about attending Notre Dame?
Please select two of the following four prompts and provide a response between 150 and 200 words to each.

Home is where your story begins. Tell us about your home and how it has influenced your story.

Think about when you first meet people. What is a common first impression they might have of you? Is it a perception you want to change or what else do you want them to know about you?

The late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president from 1953 to 1987, served as a trusted adviser to U.S. presidents and popes. A champion for human rights, Fr. Hesburgh was one of the architects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Reflect on the current state of civil rights, the progress that has been made, or the problems still being faced today.

This is your chance to take a risk.

UPenn

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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. (400-650 words) *For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree programs, please answer this question in regards to your single-degree school choice. Interest in coordinated dual-degree programs will be addressed through those program-specific essays.

Princeton

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Activities
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (Response required in about 150 words)

Summers
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.)

A Few Details
Your favorite book and its author:
Your favorite movie:
Your favorite website:
Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you:
Your favorite recording:
Your favorite keepsake or memento:
Your favorite source of inspiration:
Your favorite word:
Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title:

Essay: Your Voice
In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no less than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application.

1. Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.

2. “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; 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.

3. “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded for the University’s 250th anniversary to “Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.”
Woodrow Wilson, Princeton Class of 1879, served on the faculty and was Princeton’s president from 1902–1910.

4. “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, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.

(5) 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.

Stanford

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Candidates respond to all three essay topics. There is a 100-word minimum and a 250-word maximum for each essay.

  1. Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.
  2. Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better.
  3. What matters to you, and why?
Tufts

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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.

(1) Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short: “Why Tufts?” (50–100 words)

(2) 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)

(3) 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 SMFA at Tufts’ BFA program or the Five-Year BFA + BA/BS Combined Degree program must answer prompt F:

A) 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.

B) It’s cool to be smart. Tell us about the subjects or ideas that excite your intellectual curiosity.

C) 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?

D) What makes you happy?

E) Celebrate the role of sports in your life.

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 Virginia

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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 – If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, 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 UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, 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?
  • UVA 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?
Yale

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Short Answer Questions
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)
  • Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
  • Who or what is a source of inspiration for you? (35 words or fewer)
  • If you could live for a day as another person, past or present, who would it be? Why? (35 words or fewer)
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
  • Most Yale freshmen live in suites of four to six students. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Essays – Coalition Application
Upload a document, image, audio file, or video you have created (any one thing of your choosing) in the last four years that is meaningful to you. It should be related to one of the two topics below. In 250 words or fewer, reflect on why you chose to share this with us and how it relates to the topic you select. (Uploads are limited to the following file types: word, pdf, jpeg, mp3, mov, mp4.)

  • A community to which you belong and the footprint you have left. (You may define community and footprint in any way you like.)
  • A time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.

Essays – Common Application
Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 200 words or fewer.

  • What is a community to which you belong? Reflect on the footprint that you have left. (You may define community and footprint in any way you like.)
  • Reflect on a time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.
  • Write about something that you love to do.

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.)

Boston College

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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.

1. 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.

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. 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 Chicago

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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.
What is square one, and can you actually go back to it?
—Inspired by Maya Shaked, Class of 2018

Essay Option 2.
Once, renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg said: “There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.” Whether it’s Georges Seurat’s pointillism in “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, quantum physics, or any other field of your choosing, when can the parts be separated from the whole and when can they not?
—Inspired by Ender Sahin, Class of 2020

Essay Option 3.
The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.
—Inspired by April Bell, Class of 2017, and Maya Shaked, Class of 2018 (It takes two to tango.)

Essay Option 4.
Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about.
—Inspired by Raphael Hallerman, Class of 2020

Essay Option 5.
Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence.
—Inspired by Tiffany Kim, Class of 2020

Essay Option 6.
In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose your own question or choose one of our past prompts. Be original, creative, thought provoking. 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.

Columbia

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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.

It is not necessary to italicize or underline books or other publications. Author names may be included, but are not required. You may use semicolons or colons instead of line breaks to separate items. Lists do not need to be numbered or in any specific order.

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.
Dartmouth

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Dartmouth’s writing supplement requires that applicants write brief responses to two supplemental essay prompts as follows:

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:

A. 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.

B. 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?

C. 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?

D. “It’s not easy being green” was a frequent lament of Kermit the Frog. Discuss.

E. “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.

F. “Won’t you be my neighbor?” was the signature catchphrase of Fred Rogers, 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?

Duke

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The following question is required for Engineering applicants.

• If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 words maximum)

The following question is required for Arts & Sciences applicants.

• If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (150 words maximum)

The following question is optional for all applicants to Duke University.

• Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better—perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background—we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words maximum)

Georgia Tech

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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 you seen evidence of your impact on them?
  • Students are often told what classes they should take. If you had the opportunity to create a class, what would it be and why?
    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.
Harvey Mudd

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Short Answer Response
Please answer the following (500 word limit)

What influenced you to apply to Harvey Mudd College? What about the HMC curriculum and community appeals to you?

Essay
Choose any one of the essay topics below (500 word limit)

(1) “Scientific research is a human endeavor. The choices of topics that we research are based on our biases, our beliefs, and what we bring: our cultures and our families. The kinds of problems that people put their talents to solving depends on their values.” -Dr. Clifton Poodry. How has your own background influenced the types of problems you want to solve?
(2) What is one thing we won’t know about you after reading your application that you haven’t already reported in the Common Application “Additional Information” section?

Lafayette

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In addition to the standard Common Application, you will be asked to respond to the following two questions, found within Lafayette’s Common Application Member Pages: Why Lafayette? (Required. Length: 20-200 words.) Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular explorations. We want to know why you would thrive in such an environment. What do you do? Why do you do it? (Optional, but recommended. Length:20-200 words.) Choose one activity and add depth and color to our understanding of your involvement.

MIT

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(1) We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)

(2) Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)

(3) At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. (200-250 words)

(4) Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)

(5) Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)

UNC Chapel Hill

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Two short answers specific to UNC application: In addition to the essay you provide with your Common Application, please choose two of the following prompts and respond to each in 200-250 words.

  • Tell us a story that helps us better understand a person, place, or thing you find inspiring.
  • What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
  • Tell us about a small goal you hope to achieve, whether in the next 10 days, 10 months, or 10 years.
  • What will be the best breakthrough—whether scientific, social, economic, or other—between now and 2025?
Penn State (Schreyer Honors College)

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Each year, the Schreyer Honors College requires potential Scholars to answer three essay questions. These questions change on a yearly basis and are meant to elicit well-written, comprehensive responses. Essay responses do not have word count or formatting requirements.

(1) Is doing the wrong thing for the right reasons ever acceptable? Please explain by giving specific examples.

(2) Citizens of the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union. This decision was fueled by a growing interest in limiting free movement of people across Europe and giving Britain more control over its borders. A similar tone has been expressed across the United States over concerns with large number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, taking up residence in the country. How might this new attitude that some have characterized as xenophobic and isolationist affect political, economic and cultural relationships around the globe? What does it mean for movements creating multicultural societies and cross-cultural experiences?

(3) Many commencement addresses exhort students to “do what you love and love what you do.” For many, their passion is their profession, while others separate their careers from their passions altogether. How will your life’s path reflect your passions?

Pomona

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SHORT ANSWER

Most Pomona students enter the College undecided about a major, or they change their minds about their prospective major by the time they graduate. Certainly we aren’t going to hold you to any of the choices you’ve made above. But please do tell us why you’ve listed the major or majors (or Undecided!) that you have (in no more than 250 words).

ESSAY PROMPTS (please complete one prompt only)

  • Each year, the Pomona Student Union hosts a “Great Debate.” Thought leaders with opposing views on a certain issue are invited to make their case in front of the student body. What is an issue that you think has two or more sides and what views would be important to capture in order to understand the nuances of the debate? Why do you think it would be important for the Pomona student body to be exposed to this debate?
  • Tell us about a subject that you couldn’t stop exploring, a book you couldn’t put down, or a Wikipedia rabbit hole you dove into. Why did it fascinate you?
  • Pomona has a long history of bringing together students of diverse backgrounds who want to push intellectual limits and who want to engage in a community that values difference. Write about a time when you were aware of your difference. How did it change you and what did you learn from the experience?
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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For most of our applicants, the essay completed as a part of the Common Application, the Universal College Application, or the Candidate’s Choice Application (personal statement) will fulfill our essay requirement.

The programs that require a specific essay, along with the essay topics, may be found below.

Accelerated Programs (Law/Medical)
State your reasons for aspiring to a career in law or medicine.

Architecture
State your reasons for choosing architecture as your profession.

Electronic Arts
Discuss your interests in the field of electronic arts and state how this is reflected in your portfolio.

Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences
State your reasons for choosing the field of games and simulation arts and sciences, making reference to your portfolio if one has been submitted.

Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC)
State your reasons for choosing the field of Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication, making reference to your portfolio if one has been submitted.

All Other Programs
If you are not applying to a program listed above, the essay that you complete as a part of your application is all that we require.

Optional Resume
Rensselaer allows students to submit a resume as a part of their application. This is optional- if you feel that the activities section of the Common Application provides enough space to describe your activities, you do not need to submit a resume. Resumes should include information not found elsewhere on the application, and should not repeat what is already described on the Common Application.

Swarthmore

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Please write about why you are interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore. (250 word limit)

Villanova

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Choose 1 (250-1000 words)

Option One:
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.

Option Two:
“Become what you are not yet”
– Saint Augustine
When you daydream, who do you hope to become in the future?

Option Three:
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.

William & Mary

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Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extra curricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful? We know nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestion of the type of person you are. Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us, or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude. For additional context, check out the William & Mary Admission Office video message at www.wm.edu/admissionvideo