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The Requirements: 1 required essay of 300 words or fewer; 2 optional essays of 200 words or fewer
This is a kind of Why-Community Essay hybrid because admissions wants to (A) know what has shaped you, (B) learn about how you see yourself engaging in Northwestern’s community, and C) hear about the specific ways in which you will get involved (which requires demonstrating fit). This is a lot to accomplish in 300 words, but fear not, you got this! Start by isolating a specific story or anecdote that will offer admissions insight into how you have become the person you are today (remember, you don’t have to cover every aspect of your intricate, complicated, interesting self). Then connect that experience, community, or identity to the vision you have for yourself at Northwestern. If your experience is academic, maybe you want to write about the classes you would take or the research you would like to do. If your community is cultural, perhaps you want to write about the clubs you would join. In the end, you need to describe how you plan to engage in the Northwestern community in a way that draws on your past, so show admissions that you have done your research and you’re ready to dive headfirst into the Northwestern community!
This prompt choice is glorious in its infinite potential. You can choose to elaborate on any of your passions here. Do you want to send a message to your fellow students about the environment? Maybe you want to rally students to join you at a demonstration of some kind. What is important to you? 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 other Northwestern students (and, in this case, admissions) is fair game, as long as you feel strongly about it. And don’t forget to include the recognizable and effective acronym or short phrase you’d paint!
This prompt will likely stand out to you innovators, since it’s asking about something you would make from scratch. Use this opportunity to share your imagination with admissions. Maybe you’ve been making TikToks reviewing your favorite YA novels for some time now. Would you teach a class on the politics of the modern heroine in YA fiction? Perhaps you have an idea for a new healthtech business. Would you create a start-up? And don’t forget to address the second part of the question: who would you want to collaborate with? The person you choose could be your best friend, a community, or an industry leader you admire. There is no right or wrong answer here, so write about something you daydream about and show them that you know how to think big.
If your answer to Northwestern’s required essay focused on specific organizations, clubs, and student groups you hope to get involved with on campus, it may be best to skip this prompt so as to avoid repeating yourself. If not, this is the perfect place to provide Northwestern with more examples of how you will get involved in their community. Maybe you focused your required essay on the academic community you hope to join as you take your research to the next level and you’d like to write about your vision for finding belonging in queer spaces on campus or making connections with other members of the AAPI community. Just keep in mind that your response should focus on the future while drawing on your past experiences.
This prompt is for all you applicants who are chomping at the bit to study in Evanston, Illinois. The nice thing about being able to focus on geography with this prompt is that you don’t have to have a fully fleshed out plan for your major; instead, you can focus on the experiential and cultural elements that will feed into your education. Why is living in Evanston appealing to you? Your answer should be personal to you and, if possible, unique. Explain what your desire to move from your hometown to Northwestern’s campus says about you. Whether you’re hoping to stay close to your family in Chicago or you’re eager to venture out beyond your one-stoplight town, this is the place to share your excitement.
Admissions wants to know how you will contribute to the diversity of perspectives at Northwestern. What has shaped you as a person and how has that made your perspective unique? What lessons have you learned and applied? Is there anything you can teach your classmates or peers about your hometown, culture, religion, identity, race, or ethnicity that they might not already know? Northwestern wants to know how your personal perspectives, beliefs, and/or lived experiences will affect the conversations you have and the ways in which you engage with the Wildcat community, so tell them a story that helps them to imagine the kind of student you’ll be on campus next fall.