Prompts and Tips for Admission Essay

Admission Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track
of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


1. Please keep it short- a few paragraphs is perfect. Keep in mind that your entire application will
eventually be ten or more pages.
2. Ask your friends what they think is interesting and unique about you. Share your essay with them to make sure that it sounds like you.
3. We know what seventeen and eighteen-year-olds write like. We also know how parents, counselors, and teachers write.
4. If you’re funny, you can write a funny essay. If you’re not, please don’t try. If you are generally a thoughtful and reflective person, your essay will show that.
5. Make up a self-imposed deadline to write your essay. If you’re trying to write your essay the night before it’s due after a long day of school and play practice, plus having to study for a Physics exam, your creativity will suffer.
6. Spell check will not save you. You must proofread. Spell check will not catch that you were ‘abducted’ into National Honor Society. We realize that you were probably ‘inducted,
‘ but we notice those things that spell check did not.
7. Your essay is not a resume or an academic dissertation. Tell me something about your personality, and what makes you-you!
8. Keep the essay focused! Do not try to tell me everything, pick one narrow topic, and develop it with as much detail as you can. Use your words to help paint an image or picture in the reader’s mind so they come out of it feeling like they were there.

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