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Emerson College 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

Emerson College 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 2 essays of 100-200 words each; 1 honors program essay of 400-600 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Oddball

Emerson may have produced the most perfectly balanced supplement of the application season. These two (or three if you’re applying to the Honors College) brief essays zip together to form a complete picture of who you are: serious and silly, restrained and creative. You probably never thought you’d find a zen moment while writing your college essays, and yet here it is. So take a deep breath, center yourself, and dive in.

As you know, the academic programs at Emerson College are focused on communication and the arts. Please tell us what influenced you to select your major. If you’re undecided about your major, what attracted you to Emerson’s programs? Please be brief (100-200 words).

This is a pretty standard why essay focused on academics, so stay the course. You could have a million other reasons for applying to Emerson that have nothing to do with your intended major, but for now, all admissions wants to know is what you intend to study and why. So save their time (and yours) by cutting to the chase. Of course, brevity isn’t the same as generality. As with any other why essay, take some time to do your research. Scour your program’s website for information about classes, professors, unique opportunities, and notable alumni. What catches your eye? What inspires you? How does it connect to an interest you have? How does Emerson’s unique curriculum satisfy your needs in a way no other school could? Take a page out of alum Bobbi Brown’s book! Her lifelong love of makeup led her to wonder, can you major in this stuff? Instead of going cosmetology school, Brown took advantage of Emerson’s combined emphasis on communication and the arts. She refined her skills as a makeup artist and gained the business acumen to build a renowned makeup brand. What’s your story?

Much of the work that students do at Emerson College is a form of storytelling. If you were to write the story of your life until now, what would you title it and why? Please be brief (100-200 words).

It doesn’t get more Emerson than this. Combine communication and the arts and what do you get? A book titling challenge! This is your chance to show (not tell) your creative side and prove to admissions that you’ve got the goods to fit in at Emerson. For an oddball prompt like this, the best strategy is just to have fun. Puns and all manner of wordplay are welcome and encouraged. Can you boil your life down to one recurrent theme? Have your hideous feet carried you through endless hours at the ballet barre? Has your practice of cutting your own hair defined your personal brand since the age of six? Through what lens do you view your life? This is a prime opportunity to give admissions a catchphrase, a simple epithet to remember you by. How do you want to be known?

Honors Program (Optional, First-year Applicants for September Admission Only):

We often use metaphors to help us understand our world and persuade others. Write about a metaphor that you think is powerful, and explore its potential to be helpful and/or harmful in your thinking.

Love is a rose! All the world’s a stage! So many great metaphors to choose from, and admissions wants to know which one has affected you and opened your eyes to see the world in a new light. This essay should include a bit of literary analysis–show them that you can break down a metaphor and explore why the comparison is effective or moving in some way. Things might get a little poetic, but that’s the idea; poetry reflects life as not only a mirror, but also a window to something new (OMG we just came up with that one… are… are we poets?). Don’t forget the last part of this prompt: metaphors can also be harmful. Maybe think of harsh stereotypes or bad faith generalizations: People are sheep. Men are dogs. Cash is king. Metaphors are powerful rhetorical devices that get a message across in a unique way–be it positive or negative. Let admissions know you’re listening to the world around you, but thinking for yourself.

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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