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2019-20 Common Application Essay Supplements

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

They are here! Rising seniors looking for a head start on individual college supplements will be delighted (well, maybe kinda glad?) that several schools have announced their updated supplementary essay prompts for the 2019-20 admissions cycle.

This gives students an extra few weeks ahead of the start of senior year to focus on what drives their interest in the colleges they plan to apply to in the fall.  Our current updates include, in alphabetical order, supplementary essay prompts for the following colleges:

  • Boston College
  • Dartmouth
  • Emory
  • Tufts
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Virginia
  • Villanova
  • Wake Forest
BOSTON COLLEGE

Choose one of four (400 words max):

1. Great art evokes a sense of wonder. It nourishes the mind and spirit. Is there a particular song, poem, speech, or novel from which you have drawn insight or inspiration?

2. When you choose a college, you will join a new community of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. What is it about your background, your experiences, or your story, that will enrich Boston College’s community?

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 considers the liberal arts a pathway to intellectual growth and character formation. What beliefs and values inform your decisions and actions today, and how will Boston College assist you in becoming a person who thinks and acts for the common good?


DARTMOUTH

Respond in 100 words or less:

While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line: “It is, Sir…a small college. And yet, there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2023, what aspects of the College’s program, community or campus environment attract your interest?


Choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:

1. “I have no special talent,” Albert Einstein once observed. “I am only passionately curious.” Celebrate your curiosity.

2. The Hawaiian word mo’olelois often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.

3. In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it?

4. In The Painted Drum, author Louise Erdrich ‘76 wrote, “… what is beautiful that I make? What is elegant? What feeds the world?” Tell us about something beautiful you have made or hope to make.

5. “Yes, books are dangerous,” young people’s novelist Pete Hautman proclaimed. “They should be dangerous—they contain ideas.” What book or story captured your imagination through the ideas it revealed to you? Share how those ideas influenced you.

6. Labor leader Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist who co-founded the organization now known as United Farm Workers. She said, “We criticize and separate ourselves from the process. We’ve got to jump right in there with both feet.” Speak your truth: Talk about a time when your passion became action.


EMORY

In addition to your Personal Statement, please answer two (2) of the prompts below. Choose one prompt from the “Reflections” category and one prompt from the “Tell us about you” category. Each response should be no more than 150 words.

“Reflections” Category: Respond to one of the following.

1. Share about something you want to bring from your community to the Emory University community.
2. Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.
3. Emory University’s shield is a crossed torch and trumpet representing the light of learning and the proclamation of knowledge. It symbolizes our mission to impact the world through discovery. What truth or knowledge do you want to see shared?

 “Tell us about you” Category: Respond to one of the following.

1. Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?
2. If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why?
3. If asked to write a 150-word tweet to tell the world who you are, what would you say? (Yes, the actual Twitter character limit would likely be shorter than 150 words, but thanks for indulging us.)

TUFTS

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.

Applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer the following two questions:

1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts?’ (100-150 words)

2. Now we’d like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words):

A) From recognizing break dancing as a new Olympic sport, to representation in media, to issues of accessibility in our public transit systems, what is something that you can talk about endlessly? What do you care about and why?

B) Whether you’ve built circuit boards or written slam poetry, created a community event or designed mixed media installations, tell us: What have you designed, invented, engineered, or produced? Or what do you hope to?

C) We all have a story to tell. And with over 5,000 undergraduate students on our campus, that is over 5,000 stories to share and learn. What’s yours?

Applicants to the BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree at the SMFA at Tufts answer the following two questions:

1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)

2. Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. Whether you think of Ai Weiwei’s work reframing the refugee crisis, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald’s portraits of the Obamas reimagining portrait painting on a national scale, or Yayoi Kusama’s fanciful Infinity Mirrors rekindling our sense of wonder, it is clear that contemporary art is driven by ideas. What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work? (200-250 words)

UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO- BOULDER

At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance. (250-650 words)


UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

Choose 1 of 4 -- 300 words max:

1. UGA’s 2017 Commencement speaker Ernie Johnson (Class of ’79) told a story from his youth about what he refers to as blackberry moments. He has described these as “the sweet moments that are right there to be had but we’re just too focused on what we’re doing …, and we see things that are right there within our reach and we neglect them. Blackberry moments can be anything that makes somebody else’s day, that makes your day, that are just sweet moments that you always remember.” Tell us about one of your “blackberry moments” from the past five years.

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

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

4. Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue.

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

1. UVA students are charged with living honorably and upholding a Community of Trust. Give us an example of a community that is important to you and how you worked to strengthen that community.

2. What's your favorite word and why?

3. 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.

4. 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?

5. 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?

VILLANOVA

Villanova has three new prompts for their Choose 1 of 3 supplement. (250-1000 words)

1. In the spirit of Saint Augustine, we believe that everyone in the Villanova community learns from each other. What is a lesson that you have learned in your life so far that you will share with others?

2. You may live in one of the busiest cities in all the world or come from a small town with just one traffic light. The place that you call home has probably shaped who you are in some way. Tell us about where you are from and what, from there, you will bring to Villanova.

3. Please describe a choice for change that you have made in your life that has greatly affected your life or the lives of others.


WAKE FOREST
How did you become interested in Wake Forest University and why are you applying?

Tell us how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.  (300 words max)

What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

As part of our “Voices of Our Time” series — which allows students, faculty, and staff to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers — Wake Forest has hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Eboo Patel, and Thomas Friedman. If you could choose the next series speaker, whom would you pick, and why? (150 words)

At Wake Forest, we gather our students in “Calls to Conversation,” congregating small groups around dinner tables in faculty’s and administrators’ homes to discuss topics organized around a theme, for example “arts for social change,” “gender in society,” and “leading a meaningful life.” If you could design a theme for a “Call to Conversation,” what would you choose, and why? (150 words)

We live in an age intensely interested in heroes. Professor Joseph Campbell defined “hero” as “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Describe a hero in public life and how and why, in your opinion, they meet Professor Campbell’s definition. (150 words)

We are all different, and our lived experiences — influenced by our culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion — shape our understanding of the world. How have your experiences shaped your development, and how do you plan to use those experiences to interact and engage with others who might be different from you within our Wake Forest Community? (no word limit)

OPTIONAL - 12 QUESTIONS

Give us your top ten list and theme (100 characters for each)

Have you visited the Wake Forest campus? Tell us about your visit and with whom you spoke. (150 words or fewer)

Have you ever been on probation, suspended (in or out of school) or dismissed from any high school or college? If yes, explain fully on a separate sheet.

Have any criminal charges been brought against you? (Exclude charges which have resulted in a finding of not guilty or complete dismissal.) If yes, list and explain fully on a separate sheet.

If you have attended more than one high school, please explain reason for transfer.

300 words max:  Tell us how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.

1a. List five books you have read that intrigued you. Author. Title.

1b. (100 characters each)

As part of my high school English curriculum, I was required to read:

I would have liked to replace it with:

The required book I was most surprised I enjoyed was:

150 words max:   What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

150 words max:  Which of your extracurricular accomplishments has had the most meaning for you and why.

150 words max:  As part of our “Voices of Our Time” series — which allows students, faculty, and staff to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers — Wake Forest has hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Eboo Patel, and Thomas Friedman. If you could choose the next series speaker, whom would you pick, and why?

150 words max:  At Wake Forest, we gather our students in “Calls to Conversation,” congregating small groups around dinner tables in faculty’s and administrators’ homes to discuss topics organized around a theme, for example “arts for social change,” “gender in society,” and “leading a meaningful life.” If you could design a theme for a “Call to Conversation,” what would you choose, and why?

150 words max:  We live in an age intensely interested in heroes. Professor Joseph Campbell defined “hero” as “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Describe a hero in public life and how and why, in your opinion, they meet Professor Campbell’s definition.
________________________________________________________________
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com


The Top 5 Summer To-Do's for Rising Juniors & Parents

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The summer is for enjoying much-needed downtime and then making a little time for these tips that will make junior year -- and the college process -- run more smoothly:

1. Design a testing schedule for next year, including practice tests, prep calendar, etc. Students can take either the SAT, the ACT, or both. Because colleges equally accept scores from either, students are smart to test according to their personal strengths.

2. Try on something fulfilling over the summer. Jobs, travel, volunteering -- any activity that draws a student's authentic interest provides a great opportunity to grow their world and help discover strengths.

3.  Read, read, read.  (Anything that you enjoy!)

4. Visit a couple of local colleges -- or check out what's close to the family summer vacation spot -- to gain a sense of how different campuses look and feel.  Make an effort to vary campus size and location for a broader perspective ex. large vs. small; urban vs. rural. 

5. Have an open parent/student conversation about college affordability.  For students heading to college in Fall 2021, it's a smart idea for parents and students to consider financials to determine the family's expected financial contribution (EFC).  For an early estimate of financial aid eligibility, check out this planning tool.

________________________________________________________________
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

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