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The Community Essay

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The community essay is a standard supplemental rascal that mines for information about your social habits and favorite causes. Prompts that ask about a “community you belong to” often leave themselves open to interpretation: Are you part of a community of sports fans around the world who can connect with other strangers over the amazing play in a recent game? Maybe you belong to a group whose mission is to provide clean water to people around the world. Duke’s prompt this year provides a great example of how a community essay might be worded:

“Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better—perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background—we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.” 

As with every essay you ship off to admissions – think about something you want admissions to know that hasn’t been represented. What can you expand upon to show your versatility, passion and ability to connect with the world around you?

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