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University of Richmond 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Guide

University of Richmond 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

Get ready, nerds! The University of Richmond supplement was made for the intellectually curious. Both prompts ask you to think on your feet and get creative in different ways. So be prepared to get a little messy, brainstorm, and give admissions a deeper look into the way your brain works.

The Requirements: 1 essay of 650 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Personal Statement

Please select one of the following prompts to address (650 words or less):

Prompt 1
Sometimes asking the right question makes all the difference. If you were a college admission counselor, what essay question would you ask? Please craft and answer your own essay prompt – in your response, reflect on what your chosen question reveals about you.

If this blank slate of a prompt has you drawing a blank, not to worry! You can skip this prompt and check out the option behind door number two. However, if you’re intrigued, or getting a weird feeling of déjà vu, think back to the Common App prompts. Yes, you’ve seen something like this before! The Common App’s prompt #7, the coveted “Topic of Your Choice” offers a similar option. If you’ve been kicking yourself for not taking the road less traveled on your personal statement, here’s your second chance. On the other hand, if you’ve already taken a whack at a “topic of your choice” it might behoove you to show admissions that you can color within the lines from time to time as needed.

Either way, your goal in writing this essay (really, any supplemental essay) is to reveal something new to admissions. Since you can write absolutely anything for your prompt, we’d recommend zeroing in on a topic first. Ask yourself what you would want a Richmond admissions officer to know that they wouldn’t be able to glean from the rest of your application: an important childhood experience; a crucial morning ritual; a growing collection of pogs and other 90s memorabilia. Once you have a topic, you’ll find that writing a prompt will help you hone your angle. A few favorite examples include:

  • Were you born with a congenital eye defect that literally (and metaphorically) affects how you see the world? (Q:How is your perspective on the world unique?)
  • Do you spend 40 minutes each Friday night tutoring a class of elementary school students in Cambodia? How has that impacted the way you mete out your time and assess your commitments? (Q: What is the value of 40 minutes?)
Prompt 2
How will you use your Richmond Guarantee?

There’s probably one question that immediately springs to mind when reading this prompt: what on earth is a Richmond Guarantee?! Please, allow us to google it for you. (You’re welcome.) It’s a $4,000 grant to support summer research or internships, which every Richmond student is entitled to! Trust us, this is a sweet deal, and definitely a unique part of the Richmond experience.

Of course, this prompt isn’t really about how you’d spend $4k, it’s about your intellectual curiosity and motivation. What is the one thing you’d love to do if only you had the money? Apply for your dream internship across the world? Research a possible link between avocado consumption and superhuman strength? Brainstorm a few basic ideas and then do your research: What have students done in the past? What sorts of programs are available in your area of interest? How far will $4,000 really go? An attention to detail in both your vision and structure will show admissions that you are genuine not only about your academic pursuits, but also about Richmond as an institution.

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!
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