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The Requirements: 1-2 essays of 50-800 words; 1 essay of 250 words.
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Activity.
Tulane has kept it simple with its classic supplemental questions, so we’ll make this introduction brief. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: a straightforward supplement is a demand for perfection. So don’t overlook these quickie questions: read our guide instead!
Okay, can we talk about this word limit? And don’t even get us started on the parenthetical “optional.” In a nutshell, Tulane is saying, “Do what you want.” But we’ve got some suggestions of our own. First and foremost, this essay is not optional (despite what it may say). A classic why essay like this one is a time-honored supplement tradition, and your answer can reveal a lot to admissions about your potential fit and overall commitment to the school. Not writing it implies that you might not have a reason to apply; in which case, why are you wasting everyone’s time? Spend some time on the Tulane website and get to know the school. Explore all areas of social and academic life to build your list of reasons. And while you could technically write 800 words, keep in mind that admissions’ time is limited. The more you write, the less time they have to spend reading each word. Strike a happy medium and aim for 300 words or so.
This brand new prompt for the 2021-22 admissions cycle reminds us of the Common App’s first prompt, which asks applicants to discuss, among other things, an element of their background or identity that is crucial to understanding them. We recommend approaching this prompt with a similar mindset: What about your history or background sets you apart from your peers? How do you define yourself? What, in your short time on this earth, has helped shape the person you are today? Show admissions that you will add to the wide range of multicultural experiences and perspectives of Tulane’s student body.
In short, this classic activity essay gives you an opportunity to expand beyond the mini description for one activity listed on your Common App. Ideally, you should choose one that you haven’t already discussed: If you already wrote your Common App personal statement on the transformative power of dance, you’ll have to seek inspiration elsewhere for this essay! As you weigh your options, consider highlighting a long-term activity. Tracing your four-year involvement with meditation club will allow you to showcase your personal growth or maybe underscore your leadership qualities. If your resume is light on extracurriculars, don’t forget that you can also discuss a professional experience. From flipping burgers to interning at a museum, what have your work experiences taught you about the value of your time and your potential career aspirations? For more inspiration, check out our video on writing about an internship or work experience!