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University of Delaware 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

University of Delaware 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 3 essays of 250 words; 1 essay of 100 words; 1 optional essay of 500 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Additional Info

University of Delaware admissions is playing mighty coy on this supplement. According to them, these brief essays are allegedly optional, but as you likely know by now, we don’t believe in “optional”. You should grab any opportunity to talk to admissions in your own voice like it’s the last chip in the bowl (and even if you don’t like chips, you get the idea). That being said, we understand if you didn’t necessarily prioritize writing these essays when admissions seems so lax about reading them. On this application, strategic recycling will be your best friend.

Writing Questions are Optional: Provide a short response, 250 words or fewer, to each of these prompts.


Q1. Anticipate what it will be like for you as a student at the University of Delaware. Both in and out of the classroom, where do you expect to feel most comfortable and where will you need to stretch?

The key to hitting this prompt out of the park is to spend at least an hour on University of Delaware’s website. Although this doesn’t appear like the usual Why essay, it’s asking for the same thing from you: research and details about what you’re going to do when you get there. So fire up your device of choice and find out what UD has to offer. Maybe you’d like to join the Anime & Manga Club so you can meet other fans and artists. Perhaps you’d like to step out of your comfort zone and learn more about Brazilian Jui Jitsu with the BJJ club. Maybe you’ll be right at home in Trig class, but look forward to trying your hand in a Creative Writing class (see what I did there?). No matter your interests or the circumference of your comfort zone, make sure UD knows you have thought about how you will get involved, which classes you will take, where you will spend time, and that you plan to grow on campus. Use specific details to paint a picture, but conserve some of your enthusiasm for the follow-up question that will appear further down.

Q2. Relate a personal experience in which you were denied an opportunity or treated unfairly. How did you resolve the situation? If that were to happen during your college experience, what would you do?

When answering this question, make sure you don’t invite admissions to your pity party. Shed your tears on your own time (we all need to from time to time) and then focus on answering this prompt in an essay that reflects your integrity, problem solving skills, and composure. Do not dwell on the part of the story where you were treated unfairly, but focus on how you went about resolving the issue. You don’t want to seem salty, but like a well-adjusted young adult who can stand up for him or herself when necessary. And don’t forget to answer the second question, about what you would do if you were to encounter a similar situation again. This is the perfect opportunity to show (and not tell) what you learned and even improve on a response that you regret. While injustices exist on a spectrum, try to dig past the trivial (mom wouldn’t let me go to the concert) to experiences that have affected you more deeply (my teacher accused me of cheating and would not allow me to defend myself). But be gentle with yourself. If there’s a story you’re afraid to tell or not ready to share, don’t force yourself just for the sake of a college essay.

Q3. Describe an accomplishment that took a great deal of time and/or effort on your part. What motivated you to persevere when it got challenging? Who or what did you turn to for support, and how was that helpful?

Although superficially different from Q2, this prompt gets at a very similar set of qualities. How do you respond to challenges? What motivates you to persevere? Given the parallel themes, it’s important that you relay a very different story in this essay. So, start here: what do you love? Did your passion for poetry inspire you to memorize a plethora of uncommon words and enter a local spelling bee? Or perhaps your culinary curiosity ultimately led you to work as a line cook at a local restaurant, the hardest job you’ve ever had! While both Q2 and Q3 are about struggle, this question is also fundamentally about what brings you joy. Which struggles have really been worth it for you? But before you think about writing about a major academic struggle, check the “self-appraisal” question below. It could be a better fit if you want to write about bouncing back from a bad grade.

Self-Appraisal of your academic performance: Your academic performance. With Delaware’s increasing selectivity, grades of “B” or above are expected. The Admissions Committee expects that you will take advantage of this question to explain any grade on your transcript that is unusually low or varies significantly from your usual performance in the section below. (500 words)

Okay, this is the one instance when our “optional isn’t optional” rule doesn’t apply. We refer to this prompt genre as the “additional info essay,” and it isn’t a requirement as much as it is a resource. If you’ve had an academic slump at any point in your high school career, this is your opportunity to shed some light on what happened. If you have a consistent academic record, then your work here is done. No need to write an extraneous essay that won’t shed new light on who you are as a student.

Admissions officers know that you’re not a robot, and that your life circumstances can affect your academic performance, but that doesn’t mean you should launch a smear campaign against a teacher who “had it out for you.” Instead, it’s your job to maturely explain and reflect on the circumstances that made it difficult for you to succeed academically: an illness, a fundamental misunderstanding of a key concept, grief. How did you cope with and ultimately overcome the situation? Writing about a few bad grades can ultimately allow you to tell a story of personal growth.

Why UD? (optional) In one or two sentences, tell us why the University of Delaware excites you. (100 words)

See, we told you this question would be back! University of Delaware only gives you one or two sentences to express why you want to be a Blue Hen – so be succinct. Fortunately, you’ve already enumerated your specific interests in your first stab at a Why essay (above), so now all you have to do is distill them down to one pithy sentence. Maybe there’s one key theme or value that strikes your fancy, or maybe there’s a concrete feature of the school that draws your eye. Now is your shot to hammer that point home. Is it the fact that UD is known for being a good school for veterans? Does UD’s nursing program call to you? Is the city of Newark the ideal size and location for a collegetown? Write your answer here.

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