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Washington University in St. Louis 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Washington University in St. Louis 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanation

The Requirements: One 200-word essay; one 250-word essay

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Community

Please tell us what you are interested in studying at college and why. (200 words)

Undecided about your academic interest(s)? Don’t worry—tell us what excites you about the academic division you selected. Remember that all of our first-year students enter officially “undeclared” and work closely with their team of academic advisors to discover their academic passions. You can explore all of our majors and programs on our website. 

This is WashU’s version of a classic “Why Essay.” Even if you’re not completely sure what you want to major in yet, admissions wants to both learn about your academic interests, and see how their offerings will suit your passions. If you can build a bridge between your own interests and the resources available at WashU, you’ll be well on your way to demonstrating your fit. So set aside an hour or two and commit to some serious research on the WashU website. (Sorry, there’s no way around this, folks!) Look up information about news and research coming out of your department of interest, the kinds of courses available, and the opportunities other undergrads have had studying in your area of choice. Even if you have a wide array of interests, consider explaining how two or three departments might complement each other or foster your interest in a larger theme or cross-pollinating kind of way. Your ultimate goal is to show that your interest in WashU (just like your intellectual curiosity) runs deep!

This optional question allows you to add another dimension to your application – something that the admissions committee might not learn by reading your transcript or your personal statement.
If you prefer, you may focus your optional 90-second video submitted through the WashU Pathway on addressing one of these three questions. (Students who choose to submit a written response to one of these questions may still opt in to sharing an optional video).
WashU is a place that values diversity of perspectives. We believe those perspectives come from a variety of experiences and identities. Respond to one of the following prompts to help us understand “Who are you?”: (250 words)

1) Discuss a fresh perspective or opinion you brought to a collaborative setting or project.

2) Describe a community you are a part of and your place within it.

3) Tell us how your life experiences have impacted the way you view or interact with your community.

With each of these prompts, admissions is hoping to learn more about who you are in a group setting. So choose the prompt that sticks out to you, or work backward by thinking about the communities you are a part of (whether that be your student government, your temple, your club soccer team, etc.) and consider your place within it. Maybe you’ve been thinking about writing an essay about your volunteer work within your small city and the ways in which it has expanded your perspective and introduced you to people from all walks of life who you may never have gotten the chance to get to know otherwise. An essay like that could work for any of these three prompts depending on the way you tell it. Perhaps you want to write about your experience advocating for greener waste management solutions at your high school (1) or connecting with other trans and non-binary individuals at queer meet-ups (2) or the ways your years of being the only person in the room who looks like you has impacted the way you interact with others (3). Ultimately, your goal here is to offer admissions deeper insight into the human behind the application. 

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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School Stats:

State: Missouri
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Undergrad Population: 8,058
Tuition: $61,720
Supplemental Essay Prompt Guides:
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