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Emory University 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

Emory University 2019-2020 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: Answer two of the four prompts. 150 words each.
Supplemental Essay Type: Oddball, Community

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.

We encourage you to be thoughtful and not stress about what the right answer might be. We simply want to get to know you better. Each response should be no more than 150 words.

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

Share about something you want to bring from your community to the Emory University community.

Ah, the infamous “community” essay. Many schools ask students about their communities because they want to know how said students relate to the people around them, forge connections, and commune with their peers. Emory also wants to know, however, how you are going to contribute to the diverse Emory community, should you be accepted. Perhaps you developed strong bonds with your peers in student council and you hope to continue learning and growing with the Student Government Association. Maybe you make the best samosas (thanks to your grandma’s secret recipe) and you look forward to sharing your love of cooking with your fellow freshmen in the residence halls. Whatever it may be, you’re going to want to make sure you connect a community that you are a part of now to a community you will join (or even create!) on campus. Emory wants to know about your life beyond the classroom and hear about how you will contribute to their campus.

Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.

This prompt is A LOT like the Common Application’s prompt #3. It requires a student to speak about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories. A response to this prompt can be incisive and deeply personal, as it was for a student who questioned her lifelong diet after she visited an animal sanctuary for the first time. As you consider this prompt, think back on those impassioned, “Aha!” moments that forced you to drastically reexamine a long-held belief. As you tell your story, include sensory details to make your experience defending the need for gender neutral bathrooms at your school or challenging Prince Harry’s suggested ban on Fortnight come to life. Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to Emory University. If this prompt jumps out at you because you have a very specific story to tell or opinion to voice, run with it!

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?

Responding to this prompt is a fantastic way to showcase an area of interest or passion you have not had the opportunity to expand on already. Maybe you want more people to know about the importance of recycling or the harmful effects of fast fashion. Perhaps you are interested in creating a free mountain biking app that offers in-depth, local trail information and ratings to fellow biking aficionados in your area. As you consider this prompt, ask yourself what is important to you that you want more people to know or learn? Essays responding to this prompt tend to lean in the direction of activism and community engagement, but don’t feel limited to these angles – anything you want to share with others is fair game, as long as it is reflective of something about which you feel strongly.

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

Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?

In this prompt, Emory University is looking for more than just a summary of your favorite book. Admissions wants to know why a certain work of art is meaningful to you, and how it connects to your identity, history, or values. As with all supplemental essays, your goal should be to use this prompt as an opportunity to tell admissions something new about yourself through your relationship to a particular piece of art. Does “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou resonate with you as a young woman of color overcoming obstacles with courage and determination? Have you always felt that you and Allison from The Breakfast Club were cut from the same cloth? How come? Be careful to avoid self-aggrandizing or pandering choices rather than writing about works that truly speak to you. Don’t write about Charlotte Brontë unless you genuinely feel connected to her life and work. When you give admissions insight into the art that you feel is representative of your personality, experiences, or background, you will be revealing a fascinating, newfound piece of the complex puzzle that is you.

If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why?

Emory is really not messing around with these questions! Your choice of topic, and what it communicates about you, is everything. Maybe you want to witness the the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” a.k.a. the game-winning home run by Bobby Thomson in 1951 because you are a HUGE sports fan (and aspiring Human Health major with a Health Innovation concentration). Perhaps you want to witness Neil Armstrong’s first moon landing to experience one of the most exciting moments in the United States’ 20th century history (and you’re also a total outer space nerd). Be sure to dig into the empirical details to bring your particular event to life (let the reader hear Hodges’ frenzied cry of “The Giants win the pennant!” as the ball soars past the outfielders) and don’t ignore the critical “why” part of the question, which is asking you to connect your chosen historical scene to your own interests, passions, or experiences. Whatever you do, try to avoid subjects other students will likely flock to. MLK’s “I Had A Dream” speech is incredible, but it might not make for the best topic here — unless, of course, you have a highly personal story that connects to that moment. (There are always exceptions to the rules!)

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.)

No rest for the weary. Emory wants you to tell the world who you are in a pithy, tweetable 150 words! This might seem like an impossible feat, but we promise it’s very doable. What admissions is really asking here is this: what is the most important thing we should know about you? Who are you? What makes you, you?! As with every prompt, feel free to get creative. Take advantage of this quirky opportunity by infusing your response with #Hashtags and/or a more informal, conversational tone.

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