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University of Virginia (UVA) 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

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University of Virginia (UVA) 2022-2023 First-Year Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 1 essay of 100 words, 2 short responses of 50 words each

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Short Answer

The first prompt is still tied to the UVA school or college the student selects. We want students to answer the prompt in around 100 words. As always, the boxes on the Common App allow students to go a bit over, so we don’t expect students to write exactly 100 words.

College of Arts & Sciences: If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why? 

We at CEA love this question, because it’s a unique way of asking applicants: what do you care about and why? What’s important to you? What information do you wish other young minds had access to? Start by making a list. If nothing is immediately coming to mind, work backward. What advice or information do you wish you could share with other students? Maybe you’d like to create a course on media literacy for all students to to enrich their understanding of what we see online through the lens of the powers that dictate how and when and in what light we receive information. Perhaps you’d create a course on beading (your favorite way to relax and get creative) as an outlet for other stressed students, so they have a new tool to reach for when they need to unwind their minds. Whatever your course may be, be sure to double check that UVA doesn’t already offer one just like it! 


School of Engineering: How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better? 

Okay, future engineers, this is your opportunity to not only demonstrate your interest to admissions, but also highlight your creativity and vision. Start by brainstorming a few ethical dilemmas or challenges that bother you or impact your life. We’re willing to bet a few catapulted to the forefront of your brain upon reading this question. Maybe it’s the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat in our atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise, or the impact of diet culture on the minds, identities, and bodies of vulnerable teenagers. Although the scope and scale of your problem can vary, remember that UVA is looking to accept applicants who want to be a part of the solution. Show that you’re not only informed and concerned, but also actively engaged in addressing important world problems head on in a meaningful way.


School of Architecture: Describe a significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture. 

Why do you want to study architecture? Be specific. Admissions even goes so far as to ask you to describe a significant experience that deepened your interest. Maybe you’ve been sketching in notebooks since you were a little kid, and became entranced when you saw the Burj Khalifa for the first time in eighth grade. What was it about the building that caught your eye? How did it make you feel? Perhaps your neighbor once regaled you with his predictions on the future of architecture in a carbon neutral world. What about his vision inspired you to become an architect yourself? Whatever your significant experience may be, use details to draw the reader in. Make admissions feel like they’re with you in that building or listening to your neighbor. Invite admissions to see the world through your eyes.


School of Nursing: Describe a healthcare-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing. 

This is yet another prompt from UVA that asks students to detail a specific experience to prove interest in a field of study. It is a bit closer to a traditional why essay in that students should make sure, not just to discuss the experience that led them to pursue nursing, but also to connect that experience to their larger goals for the future. If there are elements of the UVA program that support your particular interest or connect to the experience you choose to highlight, definitely build those bridges to show admissions you are familiar with the programs UVA has to offer and have already connected how your experiences will help you achieve future academic success.


Kinesiology Program: Describe an experience that has deepened your interest in studying kinesiology.

This prompt asks you to describe an experience that led you to pursue kinesiology academically and professionally. Be sure to discuss a specific activity or experience from your past to showcase your commitment to the field. It also can’t hurt to highlight some of the elements of the UVA kinesiology program that are of interest to you (we’re talking professors, courses, clubs, labs). There is no better way to prove your interest in a school and your determination to master a subject than to show you understand a school’s offerings and have thought through how you will best use the resources at your disposal to accomplish your goals.

Students will then write responses to two prompts out of eleven options in about 50 words each. Again, the Common App boxes allow students to go a little over the stated limit. Some of these are old favorites and some are new.

1. What’s your favorite word and why?

2. We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. What is one of your quirks?

3. About what topic could you speak for an hour?

4. Take us to your happy place.

5. You can wake up tomorrow and a skill you already have will become expert-level. What skill is that?

6. What is the last gift you gave someone that wasn’t bought with money?

7. What website is the internet missing?

8. After a challenging experience, how do you recharge?

9. Tell us about a place you’d like to share with everyone, but also keep to yourself.

10. UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

11. Tell us about a time when, faced with an opinion or perspective that differed from your own, you responded as an empathetic speaker or generous listener.

In previous years, UVA has asked applicants to pen a 250-word essay addressing one of five prompts. This year, however, applicants can choose two of eleven prompts and respond in just 50 words or fewer to each. This is great news for students who favor brevity, and since you have eleven prompts to choose from, we recommend reading the list once or twice to determine which prompts jump out at you. From there, start jotting down notes about how you might like to answer a few of these prompts and what your answers will ultimately reveal about you (e.g. the internet is missing a catalog of native plants organized by region and local nurseries = you love to garden!). With questions like these, admissions officers are hoping to better understand who you are and what makes you tick. Don’t overthink your responses; instead, be authentic and don’t forget to proofread!

We try our best to make sure our guides are as up to date as possible, but we still recommend confirming each prompt and word count with the school in question.
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