List of Supplemental Essays Required By Top Colleges

By Michaela October 31, 2021 College Application Early Admission

Looking for a quick reference to the essays required by the colleges on your list? Check out our list of supplemental essays required by many of the top colleges students apply to each year. 

Adelphi University The Honors College is a community of students who love to engage with ideas that come from a broad range of sources. All applicants to the Honors College are welcome to submit a short essay in response to the prompt. For this essay, please consider an idea from a book, song, poem, play, painting, or another piece of art that has shaped your understanding of the world or the way you behave. The essay should not exceed 250 words.
Adelphi University The Joint Degree Committee reviews all applicants holistically and values student motivation. Please provide a brief statement, no longer than one page, of your interest in Adelphi University’s joint degree program and your selected profession.*
Albany College of Pharmacy Please write a paragraph about how you responded to an academic or personal obstacle.*
Albany College of Pharmacy Supplemental Statement: Please explain your choice of major, your career goals, and why you are applying to ACPHS. (Recommended 50 to 250 words)
Baylor What are you looking for in a university, why do you want to attend Baylor, and how do you see yourself contributing to the Baylor community?
Boston College At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?
Boston College Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?
Boston College In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America – a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.
Boston College Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.
Boston College Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?
Boston University The Accelerated Programs Admission Committee is interested in learning more about you. Please write an essay of no more than 750 words on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. Please make sure this essay is completely distinct from your Common Application Personal Essay.*
Boston University Trustee Scholarship Essay

Please write an essay of 600 words or less in response to one of the following two topics:

1. Howard Thurman, who was the dean of BU’s Marsh Chapel from 1953-1965, once wrote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Can you describe a particular experience you have had or an activity that you participate in that makes you come alive? How would you try to integrate that experience or activity into your time at BU?

or

2. Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone or marginalized in a situation. How did you respond to that moment and how has it informed your actions moving forward?*

Boston University What about being a student at Boston University most excites you?
Brown University Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy.
Brown University Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond?
Brown University Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar.
Brown University Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you?
Brown University How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic personal and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future?
Brown University Select one of the following to answer for the second essay:
A) Health care is constantly changing, as it is affected by racial and social disparities, economics, politics, and technology, among other factors. How will you, as a future physician, make a positive impact?
B) How do you feel your personal background provides you with a unique perspective of medicine?
California Northstate University Personal statement
Case Western Reserve By applying to the Pre-Professional Scholars Program, you are applying to gain admission to professional school earlier than students who apply in the traditional way. Please indicate why you’re interested in your chosen profession. How do you see yourself being particularly suited to this field? What events and/or experiences have led you to your choice?
Case Western Reserve University In the college application process, you are constantly prompted for a list of your achievements, awards, and accomplishments. While this information is useful to us, we are interested in hearing more about you. Describe an event, achievement, or experience of which you are particularly proud but that will not show up on a resume, may not garner any recognition, and does not appear anywhere else on your admission application.
College of New Jersey Why are you interested in The College of New Jersey?
Columbia A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and live in a community with a wide range of perspectives. How do you or would you learn from and contribute to diverse, collaborative communities? (200 words or fewer)*
Columbia List the titles of the books, essays, poetry, short stories or plays you read outside of academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.
Columbia List the titles of the required readings from academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.
Columbia Please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you noted in the application.
Columbia Why are you interested in attending Columbia University?
Columbia University Columbia students take an active role in improving their community, whether in their residence hall, classes or throughout New York City. Their actions, small or large, work to positively impact the lives of others. Share one contribution that you have made to your family, school, friend group or another community that surrounds you.
Columbia University List the movies, albums, shows, museums, lectures, events at your school or other entertainments that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school (in person or online).
Columbia University List the titles of the print or digital publications, websites, journals, podcasts or other content with which you regularly engage.
Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: What is your “thing”? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours?
Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences: Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.
Drexel University Tell the Admission Committee why you are applying to the joint program with the Drexel University College of Medicine. Be sure to explain why you want to be a physician and, more specifically, why you want to obtain your medical education at the Drexel University College of Medicine.
Duke 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 that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.
Duke Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about your identity in these areas, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt you feel is appropriate.
Duke Please share with us why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular about Duke’s academic or other offerings that attracts you? (200 word limit) *
George Washington University (Optional) Every applicant can choose from one of the following two essay prompts to submit.

Essay Prompt 1
At the George Washington University, our students frequently interact with policymakers and world leaders. These experiences and those of our alumni can shape the future of global affairs. If you had the power to change the course of history in your community or the world, what would you do and why?

Essay Prompt 2
The George Washington University encourages students to think critically and to challenge the status quo. Thus, civil discourse is a key characteristic of our community. Describe a time when you engaged others in meaningful dialogue around an issue that was important to you. Did this exchange create change, new perspectives, or deeper relationships?

George Washington University As a top tier research university, George Washington is committed to providing opportunities for practical application of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experiences in your field of interest. Please discuss the ways in which GW’s academic approach appeals to you and how that approach will strengthen your ability to succeed as a future physician.
Approximately 500 words.*
Georgetown University APPLICANTS TO GEORGETOWN COLLEGE: What does it mean to you to be educated? How might Georgetown College help you achieve this aim? (Applicants to the Sciences and Mathematics or the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics should address their chosen course of study.)

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 (Global Health, Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, or Nursing).

Georgetown University 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.
Georgetown University Briefly (approximately one-half page, single-spaced) discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.
Hofstra University Why are you applying to Hofstra?
Howard University If you had the chance to meet any one of the over 100,000 Howard University alumni (living or dead), who would you choose and why? (250 words maximum)
Howard University Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. You may express why this activity is important to you, lessons learned from said activity, or any related details that give us more information on your passions, goals and/or experiences. While not required, this section gives our committee further details on your interests outside of the classroom. (250 words maximum)
Howard University Presume there was only one spot left in your first choice major program. Given you have thoroughly researched said program, why should we offer the spot to you over another student? Please feel free to discuss your reasons for pursuing your first choice major, your unique talents & skills, and/or how said program aligns with your long-term goals. (250 words maximum)
Howard University The College of Arts and Sciences is comprised of three divisions: Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The curriculum of the College is designed to meet the needs and interests of a diverse, multicultural student body. Explain what interests you in the Arts or Sciences, and how studying at Howard University will help you achieve your overall goals?*
Howard University The year is 2030, and you have been invited to be the keynote speaker at an event of your choice. If you were to give this very important speech, what would it be about? You may reflect on a passion of yours, an important personal/global issue, or something that piques your interest; please feel free to be as creative as you’d like. (250 words maximum)*
Howard University Why are you interested in Medicine, and how will you serve people who may be less privileged than yourself within the professional?*
Johns Hopkins Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins.
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology 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.
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology 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?
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology Pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now, and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you.
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below.
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology 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?
Massachuessetts Institute of Technology 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.
New York University Why NYU? We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand – Why NYU?
NJIT The Honors College develops leaders who are engaged members of their community and profession. How have you been of service to your community and what has that taught you about being a leader? How will you contribute to the Honors community? See our website for additional information http://honors.njit.edu.*
NJIT Why do you want to pursue an accelerated program in medicine, law, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy or physician assistant, and what academic, educational or other experiences have provided you with a foundation for the accelerated program? Limit your response to 400 words.*
Penn State University Describe one non-academic activity during your high school years that has been the most meaningful to you.
Penn State University Describe what you think your strongest qualities are as well as weaknesses that you would like to improve upon.
Penn State University Please tell us something about yourself, your experiences, or activities that you believe would reflect positively on your ability to succeed at Penn State. This is your opportunity to tell us something about yourself that is not already reflected in your application or academic records.
Penn State University Tell us about a time you were unsuccessful and how you grew from this experience.
Penn State University Write a personal statement indicating why you want to be a physician, why you want an accelerated program and why you’ve selected this Penn State/Kimmel program.
Princeton University As a research institution that also prides itself on its liberal arts curriculum, Princeton allows students to explore areas across the humanities and the arts, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. What academic areas most pique your curiosity, and how do the programs offered at Princeton suit your particular interests? (Please respond in about 250 words.)
Princeton University At Princeton, we value diverse perspectives and the ability to have respectful dialogue about difficult issues. Share a time when you had a conversation with a person or a group of people about a difficult topic. What insight did you gain, and how would you incorporate that knowledge into your thinking in the future?
Princeton University Briefly elaborate on an activity, organization, work experience, or hobby that has been particularly meaningful to you.
Princeton University Princeton has a longstanding commitment to service and civic engagement. Tell us how your story intersects (or will intersect) with these ideals.
Princeton University Submit a graded written paper
Princeton University What brings you joy?
Princeton University What is a new skill you would like to learn in college?
Princeton University What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute List the names and dates of any college courses you have taken or are currently taking (including the Institution name).
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute State your reasons for aspiring to a career in medicine
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Why are you interested in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?
Rutgers University-Newark Describe your health-related volunteer experiences and the time devoted to them. (150 words)
Rutgers University-Newark Discuss what has attracted you to apply to the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark , apart from the BA/MD program. (150 words)
Rutgers University-Newark Discuss why you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. (150 words)
Rutgers University-Newark Discuss why you are specifically interested in attending Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) over other medical schools. (150 words)
Siena College Describe a personal service experience in your high school or community, what you have gained from this experience, and how it reflects the unique values of the Siena College/Albany Medical College Program.
St. Bonaventure University Applying to Medical School,” which details your interest in working in the profession of medicine and why you are interested in starting that process at SBU and then continuing at GW.
St. Louis University Students must be accepted and then complete Medical Scholars Program online application
with two short essay questions
Stevens Institute of Technology Please provide an essay of 500 words or less on why you want to go into the medical field. If the personal statement you submitted with your application addresses this topic, no additional essay is required. If that is the case, submit the phrase “Submitted with Common App Essay” to complete this writing requirement.*
Stony Brook University “What aspects about medicine/dental medicine intrigue you? Describe how these aspects influence your life.” 650 words
Stony Brook University “Why you believe you will be a good fit for your preferred honors program.”
The College of New Jersey Why are you interested in The College of New Jersey?
Tulane University Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University
Tulane University Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here.
Tulane University TAP-TP Briefly describe your reason for applying to the TAP-TP program.
  What was the single most meaningful volunteer experience you have had?
  Describe a time when you had to interact with people who have a different viewpoints, backgrounds, or cultures than you own
  Please list your hobbies and non-academic interests.
UConn Please briefly share the influences on your decision to pursue the field of medicine, including shadowing experiences and other medical related activities.
UConn Please describe a role you have held in a meaningful group/peer-related activity.
UConn Please describe your interests, activities, hobbies, etc., outside the area of health sciences.
UIC How will your engagement with the Honors College foster your academic, personal, and professional growth?
UIC Please describe in detail ways that you have sought out academic challenges and personal growth opportunities while in high school. Examples can include activities both inside or outside of your school.
University at Albany The University at Albany is noted for attracting students who seek careers that will enable them to lead and to serve. Please share in one or two paragraphs how you believe a UAlbany education would empower you to achieve your goals.
University at Albany The University at Albany is noted for attracting students who seek careers that will enable them to lead and to serve. Please share in one or two paragraphs how you believe a UAlbany education would empower you to achieve your goals.
University of Chicago Choose 1 of 6
University of Chicago 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
University of Illinois – Urbana Champlain How does your selected first-choice major relate to your future career goals?
University of Illinois – Urbana Champlain In the past 3 to 4 years, what experience(s) have you had (inside or outside of the classroom) related to your selected first-choice major or academic interest?
University of Illinois at Chicago How will your engagement with the Honors College foster your academic, personal, and professional growth?
University of Illinois at Chicago Please describe in detail ways that you have sought out academic challenges and personal growth opportunities while in high school. Examples can include activities both inside or outside of your school.
University of Illinois at Chicago Please provide an essay that explains why you chose your intended program of study. What interests you the most about this major? Please be specific – those evaluating these essays are highly interested in your response. If Undecided, what areas of study do you look forward to studying in college? (50-500 words)*
University of Michigan 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 Michigan 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.
University of Oklahoma Please briefly explain your meaningful international experience.
University of Oklahoma The University of Oklahoma believes strongly in educating leaders of communities in Oklahoma, as well as across the country and the world. Please share your leadership experiences and why they are important to you. (Please answer in 650 words or less.)
University of Oklahoma The University of Oklahoma is home to a vibrant, diverse and compassionate University community that is often referred to as “the OU family.” Please describe your cultural and community service activities and why you chose to participate in them. (Please answer in 650 words or fewer
University of Pittsburgh If you could change anything in the world, what would it be? Explain why and how you would change it.
University of Pittsburgh The personal statement is your opportunity to communicate directly with the Admissions Committee. Applicants are welcome to submit anything that helps tell their story, being mindful and thoughtful about the quantity and quality of information shared. Share information not included elsewhere in your application.
University of Toledo Compose an essay of 400-500 words on the following topic: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
University of Toledo Please summarize your high school, college or community activities, leadership positions, special awards, and work experience. Community Activities
UPenn At Penn, learning and growth happens outside of the classroom, too. How will you explore the community at Penn? Consider how this community will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape this community.
UPenn Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at The University of Pennsylvania?
Villanova University St. Augustine states that well-being is “not concerned with myself alone, but with my neighbor’s good as well.” How have you advocated for equity and justice in your communities?

What is the truest thing that you know?

One of the themes in St. Augustine’s book, Confessions, is the idea of redemption. Tell us your story of being given a second chance.

In the Villanova community, we believe that we all learn from one another. What is a lesson in life that you have learned that you would want to share with others?

Augustine’s “Miracles are not contrary to nature but only contrary to what we know about nature.” Tell us about a societal issue that you believe the wonder of technology is well-poised to help solve.

Villanova University You may be aware that our community, which we have affectionately named “Nova Nation,” is an exciting place to be. With a legacy spanning nearly 180 years, there is rich history to look back on, and an abundant future to look forward to. Our second Villanova essay question asks: Why do you want to call Villanova your new home and become part of our community? For this short response, please reveal what you find appealing about Villanova in 150 words.
Virgina Commonwealth University Comment on your motivation for, and interest in, medicine.
Virgina Commonwealth University Discuss one thing about you that is unique, which has not been addressed anywhere else in this application.