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The Most Interesting Supplemental Essay Prompts of 2017

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free college essay helpSupplemental essays can be a real drag. You have already poured your heart and soul into the personal statement and all you want to do is kick back and watch Homecoming King for the third time. We get it. Fortunately, some schools are stepping up their game to make answering their supplemental prompts FUN! Yes, you read that right. Enjoy our compilation of the most interesting supplemental essay prompts for the 2017-18 application season!

Princeton University

Princeton asks its hopefuls to respond to two supplemental prompts in 150 words and then they have some fun with it!

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. 
Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. 
Your favorite book and its author
Your favorite website
Your favorite recording
Your favorite source of inspiration
Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title
Your favorite movie
Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you
Your favorite keepsake or memento
Your favorite word

Okay, enough with the short answers, Princeton wants to get down to business again.

In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application or the Universal College Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no fewer 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 or Universal 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 and co-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.

“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 and director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, 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.

Duke University

Duke is ahead of the curve and has been giving students the opportunity to share their experience in regards to their sexual orientation for years.

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 word limit) (Optional)
If you would like the opportunity, we invite you to share more about your sexual orientation either below or in the Duke optional essay. (250 words)

They, of course, also ask applicants to respond to one standard supplemental essay prompt, depending on which college they hope to enter.

If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (Please limit your response to no more than 150 words.)
If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences as a first year applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (Please limit your response to no more than 150 words.)

Stanford University

Stanford is all about the short answers this application season. They have ELEVEN supplemental essay prompts for students to tackle, but many of them are short and let you be creative.

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150 words)
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 historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 word limit)

What five words best describe you? (10 word limit)

When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to, or watch? (50 word limit)

Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (50 word limit)

Imagine you had an extra hour in the day — how would you spend that time? (50 word limit)

The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words)

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. (100 to 250 words)

Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

Feel free to have some fun with these supplemental essay prompts and, as always, if you need some brainstorming or editing help, check out our one-on-one advising services.

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