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2016 College Application Essay Prompts

The Following Schools are Listed Below*:

Common Application, Universal Application, Coalition Application Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, University of Notre Dame, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, University of Southern California,  University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, Amherst College, Wake Forest University,  Boston College, Rice University, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Richmond, University of Florida, and Florida State University.

*This list can be used as a resource, but please make sure to check each schools requirements before completing as questions may be updated.

Common Application Essay Prompts for 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.

Universal College Application Essay Prompt for 2016:

Please write an essay (500 words or fewer) that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.

Coalition For College Access and Affordability Application Essay Prompts for 2016:


​Pick one 500 words or less.

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution. 

  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?

  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)? 

  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Harvard University Writing Supplement for 2016:

You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:

  • Unusual circumstances in your life

  • Travel or living experiences in other countries

  • What you would want your future college roommate to know about you

  • An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you

  • How you hope to use your college education

  • A list of books you have read during the past twelve months 

  • The Harvard College Honor code declares that we "hold honesty as the foundation of our community." As you consider entering this community that is committed to honesty, please reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.

  • The mission of Harvard College is to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society. What would you do to contribute to the lives of your classmates in advancing this mission?​

Yale University Writing Supplement for 2016:

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)

Princeton University Writing Supplement for 2016:

In addition to the essay you have written for the Universal or Common College 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 Universal or Common College Application. 

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

  • “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.” Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University; founder of This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

Dartmouth College Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • Oh, The Places You'll Go is one of the most popular books by ''Dr. Seuss'' (Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dartmouth Class of 1925). Where do you hope to go? What aspects of Dartmouth's curriculum or community might help you get there? (100 words or less)

AND one of the following (250-300

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 'It's not easy being green'' was a frequent lament of Kermit the Frog.

  • '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

  • '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?​

University of Notre Dame Writing Supplement for 2016:

Your responses will be read by Notre Dame admissions staff as we seek to learn more about you. We encourage you to use personal examples, anecdotes, or anything that helps differentiate you from your peers.

  • 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? (required response, 150-200 words)

Please select two of the following four prompts and provide a response of approximately 150 words (not to exceed 200 words) to

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

  • 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 

  • 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

  • This is your chance to take a risk.

University of Chicago Writing Supplement for 2016

Choose one of the six extended essay options and upload a one- or two- page response

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

  • 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

  • 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.)

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • You can find our past prompts here:

  • 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.

  • (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.​

Johns Hopkins University Writing Supplement for 2016:

Applicants to Hopkins are asked to answer our supplemental essay question. Here is this year’s question:

  • 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.

Tufts University Writing Supplement for 2016:

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):

  1. 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?

  2. What makes you happy?

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. Celebrate the role of sports in your life.

Columbia University Writing Supplement for 2016:

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;

  • the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.

Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why.​

Please answer the following short answer questions (300 words or fewer for each question):​

  • 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.

Cornell University Writing Supplement for 2016:

The primary focus of your college interest essay should be what you intend to study at Cornell. On the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 500 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: How have your interests and related experiences influenced the major you have selected in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?

  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Why are you excited to pursue your chosen major in AAP? What specifically about AAP and Cornell University will help you fulfill your academic and creative interests and long-term goals?

  • 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 Engineering: Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by—and linked to—specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish.

  • School of Hotel Administration: The global hospitality industry includes hotel and foodservice management, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, and law. Describe what has influenced your decision to make the business of hospitality your academic focus. What personal qualities make you a good fit for SHA?

  • 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.


Brown University Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • Brown students choose a degree and concentration (major) by the end of their 2nd (sophomore) year. We are not asking you to make a final decision now, but take a look at Brown degrees and fields of concentration shown in the Guide for Applying to Brown, and tell us which two areas of study seem most attractive to you currently. (We know that with about a hundred choices it may be difficult to select just two, but give it a try.)

  • Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated? (50 words or fewer)

  • A distinctive feature of the Brown Curriculum is the opportunity to be the “architect of your education.” Why does this academic environment appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)

  • Tell us where you have lived—and for how long—since you were born; whether you’ve always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. (50 words or fewer)

  • Complete ONE of the following thoughts (25 words or fewer):

    • If I could do something with no risk of failing, I would________ or

    • I felt like I truly belonged when________

  • What is something you created that makes you especially proud, and why? (100 words or fewer)

  • We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you. (150 words or fewer)

  • Please respond to one of the following questions: A, B, or C. (300 words or fewer)

    • Why are you going to college?

    • Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz once said, “Cubism is like standing at a certain point on a mountain and looking around. If you go higher, things will look different; if you go lower, again they will look different. It is a point of view.” With this in mind, describe a moment when your perspective changed.

    • What question could we ask to gain the most insight into you? What is your answer?


University of Pennsylvania Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • 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.

New York University (NYU) Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and more specifically, why you have 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 tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand – Why NYU? (400 word maximum)

University of Southern California (USC) Writing Supplement for 2016:

Choose one below:

  • USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view.

  • Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.

  • What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? ​

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit)

​Answer the following:

  • Describe yourself in three words.

    • First Word:

    • Second Word:

    • Third Word:

  • What is your favorite snack?

  • Favorite app/website:

  • Best movie of all time:

  • Hashtage to describe yourself:

  • Dream job:

  • What is your theme song?

  • Dream trip:

  • What TV show will you binge watch next?

    • Place you are most content?

University of California Berkeley Essay Prompts for 2016:

Please respond to the two (2) questions below in less than 1,000 words with a suggested minimum of 250 words per essay.

  • 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?

  • 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.


University of California Los Angeles Essay Prompts for 2016:

Please respond to the two (2) questions below in less than 1,000 words with a suggested minimum of 250 words per essay.

  • 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?

  • 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.

Stanford University Writing Supplement for 2016:

Briefly respond to the following inquiries so we can get to know you better. Do not feel compelled to use complete sentences.

  • Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or artists. (50 word limit)

  • What newspapers, magazines, and/or websites do you enjoy? (50 word limit)

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 word limit)

  • How did you spend your last two summers? (50 word limit)

  • What were your favorite events (e.g., performances, exhibits, competitions, conferences, etc.) in recent years? (50 word limit)

  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 word limit)

  • What five words best describe you?

  • Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (250 word limit)

  • 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. (250 word limit)

  • What matters to you, and why? (100 to 250 words)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Essay Prompts for 2016:

Rather than asking you to write one long essay, the MIT application consists of several short response questions and essays designed to help us get to know you. Remember that this is not a writing test. These are the places in the application where we look for your voice – who you are, what drives you, what’s important to you, what makes you tick. Be honest, be open, be authentic – this is your opportunity to connect with us.

Duke University Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • Engineering: 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. (No more than 150 words.)

  • Arts & Sciences: 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? (No more than 150 words.)Optional Essays for All Applicants:

  • 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.

Amherst College Writing Supplement for 2016:

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

  • 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.

  • Optional Research Questions

    • If you have engaged in significant research in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, social sciences or humanities that was undertaken independently of your high school curriculum, please provide a brief description of the research project: (50-75 words)

Wake Forest University Writing Supplement for 2016:

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.

  • Discuss a work of fiction you read on your own and tell us why it should have been required. (100 – 300 words)

  • What have you done to challenge or change that which outrages you? (75 – 150 words)

  • 58% of Wake Forest's Class of 2015 received academic credit for faculty-directed research across academic disciplines. Describe a specific high school assignment that sparked an academic curiosity you hope to explore further in college. (75 – 150 words)

  • Increased globalization and enhanced digitization are bringing people from different backgrounds and parts of the world much closer. Please describe what you have learned as a result of meaningfully engaging with someone different from you. (75 – 150 words)

  • Give us your top ten list. First, please provide a theme.

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon. It weaves together history with rap and hip hop through the often overlooked story of Alexander Hamilton. Choose an unsung historical figure who deserves the "Hamilton" treatment. (75 – 150 words)

  • Imagine it is May 2021, your ideal Wake Forest University commencement speaker is _____________________.

  • Title your autobiography: ___________________.​

Boston College Writing Supplement for 2016:

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.

  • Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.

  • Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?

  • Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?

  • Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?


Rice University Writing Supplement for 2016:

  • Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150 word limit)

  • With the understanding that the choice of academic school you indicated is not binding, explain why you are applying to that particular school of study. (150 word limit)

  • How did you first learn about Rice University, and what motivated you to apply? (250 word limit)

  • In keeping with Rice's long-standing tradition (known as "The Box"), please share an image of something that appeals to you. See the Help Section for more information.


University of Colorado-Boulder Essay Prompts for 2016:

As a vibrant community of learners dedicated to inclusive excellence, the students, faculty and staff at the University of Colorado Boulder seek to be open and respectful of contrasting beliefs and opinions. Every student has a unique life experience and a set of circumstances by which they are shaped and influenced. Your background may have been shaped by family history, cultural traditions, race, ethnicity, religion, politics, income, ideology, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Reflect on your unique background and tell us about a time when you had to relate to someone whose life experience was very different from your own. How did you approach the difference? If put in a similar situation again today, would you respond differently? If so, how?

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Writing Supplement for 2016:

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 Richmond Writing Supplement for 2016:

Please select one of the following prompts to address: 

  • Sometimes asking the right question makes all the difference. If you were a college admission counselor, what essay question would you ask? Please craft and answer your own essay prompt – in your response, reflect on what your chosen question reveals about you. 

  • Tell us about Spiders.

University of Florida Essay Prompt for 2016:

Please submit one essay. Remember to keep within the 500-word maximum length.

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.

  • Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?

  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What's the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?

  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Florida State University Essay Prompt for 2016:

Although the essay is not required but highly recommended, it provides another opportunity to learn more about you. The essay should be no longer than 650 words, and may be uploaded after the student's application has been received. Applicants should choose one topic from the list below:


  • Describe an experience from your life that either demonstrates your character or helped shape it.

  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.

  • Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?

University of Central Florida Essay Prompt for 2016:

  • 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?

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