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Brandeis University 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide 

Regular Decision: 

Brandeis University 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations.

The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Oddball

Please include a short response to one of the three prompts below (250 words or fewer).

Why would you like to attend Brandeis?

Similar to other why essay prompts, this is a straightforward question. It’s Brandeis’ Mariah Carey moment to ask, “Why you so obsessed with me?” We recommend doing some research before diving into this one. Arm yourself with examples not only of courses & professors that appeal to you, but also specifics about the local community and city–if that’s what strikes your fancy. Are you a midwestern kid with a hankering for lobster rolls? Does your family live close enough for Sunday dinners? What are the perks of living in the Boston area (besides reenacting your favorite scenes from Good Will Hunting)? Use this as a chance to share more of who you are by sharing what about Brandeis appeals to you.

Justice Brandeis once said, “If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” Tell us about something bold that you’ve recently done. 

The admissions department at Brandeis wants to accept students who are not afraid to challenge the status quo or stand up for what they believe in. When have you been bold? You don’t have to be a women’s march organizer to impress admissions here. It can be just as bold to question your aunt on her views regarding controversial topics that are important to you or to utilize your creativity to draw informative comics breaking down complex issues for Instagram. If you’re feeling stuck, maybe start by thinking about the things that are most important to you. Next, think about what steps you’ve taken in your life to create change, inform, and/or organize. Ultimately, the key to writing an excellent response to this prompt is in the details. Don’t just tell admissions about something bold you’ve done recently; tell them why you did it and maybe even share how you would like to continue letting yourself be bold in the future.

There are approximately 171,476 words in the English dictionary. Pick your favorite word and tell us why you picked it.

This prompt is polarizing — odds are, you either love it or hate it. If this question immediately tickles your fancy and you have an idea for the word you’d like to highlight, go for it! If you look at this prompt and feel totally stuck, but still want to try answering it, try this trick: What might you tell admissions about yourself that they haven’t already heard about in your Common App essay? Is there something in your background and experience worth expanding upon? Once you’ve identified what you want to discuss, think about what words might be helpful launch points for describing that experience and back into your “favorite word.” You heard us: write first and think of the word after! This is also a great strategy for choosing a word that is slightly less expected than those submitted by the average applicant.


*For international students only

Brandeis attracts students from many corners of the world. As an international student at Brandeis, how would you enrich the campus community? (250 words or fewer)

Dang! Brandeis is really making its international applicants WERK! Well, here’s a quick tip: this question may seem like it’s asking about the difference between you and the domestic applicants, but it’s actually in your best interest to think about what distinguishes you from any other international student! What do you bring to campus that no one else can? What have you learned from your life experiences? And there’s one last twist to this application: in order to explain how you would “enrich the campus community,” you should probably know a thing or two about that campus community. So spend a little time on the Brandeis website to get a feel for the school, the students, and the surrounding community. How is the culture different from your own? (Your differences are your strengths!) Where might the two intersect? And how might that point of intersection create an opportunity for mutual learning? For more information about acing the international essay, check out this video we made just for you!

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!
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