Check out our Common App Essay Prompt Guide!
This required prompt is nothing more or less than an academically inclined Why essay. As you dig into the writing, aim to answer these two key questions: (1) What do you love about the subject? (2) How does Emory’s specific program meet your needs or excite your curiosity? In other words, your goal is not just to geek out (although that’s highly encouraged!), but also to demonstrate your fit for Emory specifically. If you can display a knowledge or curiosity for your chosen major alongside some school-specific facts, you’ll show admissions that you’re motivated and dedicated to their institution. If that’s not a winning combo, we don’t know what is! So, before you start scribbling away (or pounding out 300 words on your computer), remember that the backbone of any good Why essay is research! Give yourself some time to dig through the Emory website and get to know your department as well as any related programs, centers, and opportunities.
In addition, answer one of the following questions. Your response should be no more than 150 words.
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.
Emory wants to accept applicants that are curious, open-minded, and socially aware. Admissions wants to bring students to campus who will not be afraid to question their own beliefs or biases, or to strive to consider different perspectives and points of view. So, how have you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness? Maybe you saw Juneteenth trending on Twitter this summer and had never heard of it before. Did you read articles to educate yourself? Reach out to friends or family members who were celebrating? What did you learn? Perhaps one of your friends put the kibosh on a joke you told during a Zoom party, so you took it upon yourself to better understand the subject matter and why your joke may have been insensitive or offensive. All of us are constantly learning and growing, so there’s no shame in being wrong about something as long as you seek to listen, retain information, and expand your horizons.
This is another variation of the Why Essay. In this case, Emory wants you to discuss the aspects of campus life that you feel will help you become your best self. To ace this question, you’ll need to do some self-reflection and research. How do you think college life will change you for the better? Spend some time on the school’s website researching the campus, academic programs, and student culture. Is there a certain theme community that speaks to you? Are there clubs, religious organizations, or volunteer groups that you’re excited to join? Maybe the city of Atlanta holds a special attraction? Remember to keep the essay focused on “flourishing.” How do you interpret that word? Does it mean being academically successful? Becoming a leader in student government or a fraternity? Embracing your authentic self? How will your experiences at Emory facilitate this flourishing and prepare you for life after college?
Service to humanity” can sound lofty and intimidating, but fear not! Emory’s not expecting you to cure cancer or invent perpetual motion; “service to humanity” can be as simple and personal as tutoring other students at the writing center, running psychology experiments in a lab class, or using your History major to educate your roommates about internment camps. We recommend—say it with us—research! How will your time at Emory prepare you to serve humanity when you leave? Check out the website to see if there are service groups or volunteer organizations you might join on campus; maybe there’s a special capstone project for your proposed major. And if you do plan to cure cancer, write about that, too!
This is a classic Community Essay, through and through. Admissions wants to know what or who has made you into the person you are today and how you have impacted your community. First of all, let us remind you that your “community” can be just about anything, from your neighborhood to your family to your Taylor Swift fan club. Pick a community that means something to you and in which you’ve been very involved. Maybe you come from a tiny town where you revived a long-lost harvest festival tradition. Perhaps you suggested team-building exercises for your baseball team that brought you all closer together. Maybe you started cooking a weekly pancake breakfast for your younger siblings after your parents got divorced. No matter your starting point, be sure you tell a clear story with a beginning, middle, and end. It might be tempting to pen a vivid description of your community and leave it at that, but the point of an essay like this is to tell a story about you and your contributions.
Emory wants to see how you’ve grown and matured over the last three or so years. The transition from middle school to high school can be almost as daunting as the transition from high school to college. Think back to eighth grade and what aspects of high school either scared you or surprised you. Maybe you worried about getting lost navigating a larger school building. Perhaps you thought biology would be a piece of cake and it was unexpectedly challenging. Maybe you were afraid to be your authentic self until you found an Anime Club where you met like-minded friends. Perhaps you moved to a huge school and encountered people with different backgrounds, beliefs, or opinions. Now that you’ve lived through it, what would you tell your younger self that would help ease those tough transitions? Try to give yourself as much time as possible to reflect on your mindset back in middle school and how it’s changed over the last few years. As always, it’s your job to tell admissions a story, one that reveals information about who you are, what you care about, and/or what inspires you.