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Chapman University 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Chapman University 2019-20 Application Essay Question Explanations

This Chapman supplement offers some of the most serious supplemental questions we have ever seen — and some of the silliest. As a religiously-affiliated school, Chapman takes its values seriously, so be prepared to examine your own… right before coming up with your own personal hashtag. To help you keep your ranging responses #onbrand, we made you a guide.

The Requirements: 3 essays of 200 words or less; 1 list of short answers; 2 additional short answers

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Community, Short Answer

Please tell us about your interest in the major you selected (200 words or fewer)

This is the first half of a deconstructed why essay, so do your research and divide it into two tidy piles: academics and everything else. This prompt gives you a chance to geek out about your intended major among Chapman’s diverse offerings. Do you and calculus have some unfinished business? Or are you planning to get a jump on your Hollywood career with a major in creative production? Whether your goals are intellectual, professional, or somewhere in between, your reasoning should be grounded in what Chapman has to offer. 

200 words isn’t a lot of space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a detailed response. Get ambitious and aim to answer these two key questions: What do you absolutely love about your intended major? Why is Chapman the ideal place for you to study it? As a prospective English major who aims to become the next awesome #Girlboss, how would access to Chapman’s business programs complement your way with words? Think about what excites you about the department at Chapman: professors, classes, guest speakers, alumni. Dig deep to show how Chapman will help you achieve your goals.

For Undecided students: Chapman University encourages academic exploration through our dynamic liberal arts curriculum. It’s OK to be unsure of what you might want to major in, however, please tell us about the academic areas that interest you (200 words or fewer). 

If you’re undecided, fear not! Chapman has a separate question for you and an excellent tool to help you narrow down your options based on your interests, so that all you have to do is read up on the departments that pique your curiosity. The overall goal of this essay is the same as the one you’d write if you already had a declared major: it’s a chance to give admissions a deeper understanding of who you are and what makes you tick. It’s also a chance to demonstrate your fit, so do your research before you answer! Do you want to take some literature courses to deepen your understanding of poetry and the history of Renaissance England? Do you see yourself taking advantage of more advanced Spanish classes to help you with a possible career as an immigration lawyer? Various interests aren’t a negative thing! They show that you’re intellectually curious and can see yourself excelling in a couple of fields. One key part to this essay is connecting the dots between the areas that interest you and what you could gain from them–and how testing the waters can make you a more well-rounded person. 

There are thousands of universities and colleges. Please share with us why you are interested in attending Chapman. (200 words or fewer)

Here’s the second half of this why essay duo and we’re sure you’ve seen it before: why here? Now’s the time to turn to your second pile of research and paint a picture of what your life would be like as a Chapman student. In other words, show off your fit! Maybe you grew up in a small town with a tiny high school, and you’ve been dreaming of attending a huge university. Beyond what you would gain, you should also think about what you would contribute. What kind of energy would you bring to such a large school? Maybe your religion has always been an important part of your life and you’ve been looking for a community that fosters spirituality and interfaith communication. Whatever your angle, make sure to tell admissions something new! Don’t re-trace old academic territory that you already covered in your first essay, and be sure to go beyond the basic facts and figures listed on the school website.

Choose one of the two prompts below to answer (200 words or fewer):

Choice 1: Inclusion
Chapman University is committed to providing an education of distinction by fostering inclusion for all campus community members. These efforts can be seen throughout our community: Cross-Cultural Engagement Center, Fish Interfaith Center, and The Chapman Experience. Please speak to how you practice inclusion or how a public figure’s message about inclusion resonates with you.

Diversity and inclusion are about metaphorically holding the door open for someone else to enter, making room for another seat at the table (spoiler alert: there’s plenty of room), amplifying the voice of someone who may not have otherwise been heard. Reflect on your activities and community and share an experience in which you made sure a group, activity, or event was not homogenous. Perhaps you worked hard to ensure your own community was represented, or made space for another perspective.

If it’s a stretch to find a personal example of this, they’ve given you another angle: is there a public figure (celebrity, politician, social activist, etc) who you admire for their inclusion efforts? Maybe you heard Frances McDormand’s Oscar speech about “inclusion riders” and it sent you to the internet to research what it meant. Feel free to borrow from the greats in this one, as long as you explain and analyze why their points of view matter to you–and what you hope their legacy will teach us!

Choice 2: Community
Every Chapman student comes to campus with their own unique background and experiences which contributes to our community of diverse perspectives. The I Am Chapman campaign and the Chapman Diversity Project are just two of the examples that work to promote and enhance these perspectives on campus. If one of these initiatives speak to you, how would you get involved? If not, what suggestion do you have for another campus-wide initiative and how would you get this initiative off the ground?

Start by doing some research on these initiatives. Read their mission statements and learn about what they’re accomplishing. Do a few words or ideas stand out to you? Feel free to quote them in their own words and explore what they mean to you. It’s important to show that you’ve done your homework and know what these campaigns are all about, but you want to go beyond simply parroting back their mission statements. Explain how they would not only benefit from having you get involved, but how you would benefit from being a part of them. 

If you want to go the direction of pitching something new, go for it! This could be a great opportunity to showcase your leadership skills or innovative spirit, so make sure your new initiative fills a gap or meets a need that the others don’t cover. (You still want to show that you know your stuff about Chapman.) Maybe you already started a club on campus, or you volunteer for a nationwide organization that doesn’t yet have a local chapter. They’re also asking for specific steps to get it “off the ground,” so get logistical and think it through. Either way you answer this prompt, show them that you care about including others and want to share your unique fabric with the quilt of their community.

Please answer the following questions in one word, phrase, or sentence. There are no right or wrong answers here. We hope you enjoy working on this section as much as we’ll enjoy reading it. (200 characters each so ~25-30 words):


What is your dream job?
Please list three words to describe yourself.
What song should we be listening to while reading your application?
Who is your role model?
Name one dish you would cook for our admission team.
What is your favorite quote and by whom?
What is your favorite subject?
What is the top thing on your bucket list?
What is your most prized possession?
What makes you happy?
What are you most grateful for?
What do you spend too much time doing?
What most “essential” item could you most easily give up?

After forcing you to address so many serious topics earlier in the supplement, Chapman also wants you to have some fun. These quirky short answer questions present a prime opportunity to let your sense of humor shine through, and the random assortment of topics ensure you can reveal many facets of your personality.. If we went through each question individually we’d probably end up writing a zillion times as many words as you’re allowed for these short answer questions. Fortunately, there’s really just one trick for quickie prompts like these: go with your gut. Chances are your first instincts will lead you to the most unique and genuine answers. Since you don’t have to produce much to answer each question, brainstorming is key. Set aside maybe 30 minutes to jot down as many ideas as you can think of for each question. Allow yourself to approach each question from a few different angles: funny, earnest, clever, surprising. The point is not to waste any time agonizing over what you think admissions wants to hear. Trust yourself.

Submitted by a prospective student of the Fall 2019 class:

If Chapman’s admission team came to visit your hometown, what site would you take them to?

This is your shot at showing admissions where you come from and what it means to you. The prompt only asks for one place, so think about your favorite spots. Is there a deli you go to with your grandma every Sunday for breakfast? Is there an old-fashioned movie theatre that you and your friends go to every month to watch the latest indie films? Maybe you’re a member of a local art museum or there’s a park where you like to birdwatch with your dad. Wherever you end up, take a moment: what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Bring the reader into your place of choice with you. Once you’re “there together,” explain the significance of this place and share why it’s so special to you.

Submitted by a prospective student of the Fall 2020 class: 

What can you give a 30-minute presentation on without any preparation?

This is a fun one. Another way to think about this is: if you had a podcast, what would it be about? Do you love Renn Faires? Can you argue the merits of DC over Marvel comics? Do you know everything there is to know about growing tomatoes? We all have our moments of “nerding-out,” and this is your chance to proudly wave your flag. Don’t worry about this being too academic–unless you just can’t get enough of that battle of Waterloo, in which case, go for it! This is your time to shine in a way that your resume and application don’t let you. Give admissions a peek into your passions; get off the page and let them know that you are a three-dimensional person who contains multitudes!

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