Welcome to the homepage for all essay prompt updates for the 2019-2020 college application season! 

Scroll down for a running list of every essay update – including a description of any changes from last year. Check back regularly as we will be updating this page frequently as schools announce prompts or release their applications.

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 List of Updated Schools

Prompt collects the essay prompts for more than 1,000 schools – including prompts for majors, programs, and scholarships. Below is a list of the updated schools in Prompt's system. The updated prompts within Prompt's Essay Management Software are labeled "Current." 

Week of July 7

Changes from last year:

 

Week of June 23

Same as last year:

Changes from last year:

 

Week of June 16

Same as last year:

Changes from last year:

 

Week of June 9

Changes from last year:

 

Week of May 27

Same as last year:

Changes from last year:

 

All of the Details

Below, you will find the essay prompts for the schools that have released or confirmed essay prompts for the 2019-2020 application season. We've included commentary on the specifics of the changes each school made, and noted the prompts that remained the same. You can click the school name to link to the source of the information. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to thank us for saving you a bunch of time, please reach out to Prompt at support@prompt.com 

 

  Boston College

Boston College has the same prompt options as last year

Choose one of four:

  1. Great art evokes a sense of wonder. It nourishes the mind and spirit. Is there a particular song, poem, speech, or novel from which you have drawn insight or inspiration?
  2. When you choose a college, you will join a new community of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. What is it about your background, your experiences, or your story, that will enrich Boston College’s community?
  3. Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?
  4. Jesuit education considers the liberal arts a pathway to intellectual growth and character formation. What beliefs and values inform your decisions and actions today, and how will Boston College assist you in becoming a person who thinks and acts for the common good?

 

 Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon has 3 supplements; two are the same as last year and one has changed.

Instructions: Please answer all of the following questions; each answer should be no more than 300 words.

  •  Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? [SAME]
  • Many students pursue college for a specific degree, career opportunity or personal goal. Whichever it may be, learning will be critical to achieve your ultimate goal. As you think ahead to the process of learning during your college years, how will you define a successful college experience? [NEW]
  • Consider your application as a whole. What do you personally want to emphasize about your application for the admission committee’s consideration? Highlight something that’s important to you or something you haven’t had a chance to share. Tell us, don’t show us (no websites please). [SAME] 

 

Chapman

Chapman has five supplements

  • How have you learned about Chapman University? [NEW]
  • What will your declared major be? [NEW}
  • There are thousands of universities and colleges. Please share with us why you are interested in attending Chapman. [SAME]
  • Fast Facts {CHANGES]
  • Choose 1 of 2  [NEW]

    Option 1:  “Chapman University is committed to providing an education of distinction by fostering inclusion for all campus members. These efforts can be seen throughout our community: Cross-Cultural Center, Fish Interfaith Center, and The Chapman Experience. What does inclusion mean to you and why is it important on a college campus?”

    This is an open-ended question with no “right” answer. Don’t overthink it! Think about your own communities (family, school, friend group, etc.) and how you practice inclusion. How would that translate on a college campus?

    Option 2: “The I Am Chapman campaign and the Chapman Diversity Project are just two of the examples of initiatives that promote and enhance these perspectives on campus. If one of these initiatives speak to you, how would you get involved? If not, can you suggest a new campus-wide initiative and explain how you would get this initiative off the ground? ”

 

 

Dartmouth

Dartmouth changed 3 of the prompts for their second supplemental essay.

Instructions: Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words

  1. The Hawaiian word mo’olelo is often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself. [SAME]
  2. In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it? [SAME]
  3. In The Painted Drum, author Louise Erdrich ‘76 wrote, “… what is beautiful that I make? What is elegant? What feeds the world?” Tell us about something beautiful you have made or hope to make. [NEW]
  4.  “Yes, books are dangerous,” young people’s novelist Pete Hautman proclaimed. “They should be dangerous—they contain ideas.” What book or story captured your imagination through the ideas it revealed to you? Share how those ideas influenced you. [NEW]
  5. “I have no special talent,” Albert Einstein once observed. “I am only passionately curious.” Celebrate your curiosity. [SAME]
  6. Labor leader Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist who co-founded the organization now known as United Farm Workers. She said, “We criticize and separate ourselves from the process. We've got to jump right in there with both feet.” Speak your truth: Talk about a time when your passion became action. [NEW]

 

  Emory

Emory has changed their supplemental prompts. Students will write two short essays, choosing one prompt from each category with a maximum word count of 150 words for each essay.

“Reflections” 

  1. Share about something you want to bring from your community to the Emory University community.
  2. Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.
  3. Emory University’s shield is a crossed torch and trumpet representing the light of learning and the proclamation of knowledge. It symbolizes our mission to impact the world through discovery. What truth or knowledge do you want to see shared?

“Tell us about you” 

  1. Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?
  2. If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why? 
  3. If asked to write a 150-word tweet to tell the world who you are, what would you say? (Yes, the actual Twitter character limit would likely be shorter than 150 words, but thanks for indulging us.)

 

Lake Erie College

Lake Erie has a personal statement that is optional for admissions buy required for placement and registration along with a required short answer. Test-optional students must also submit a graded writing assignment.

  • Essay (500 words): Essay is optional for admission, but is required for placement and registration. Applicants are encouraged to submit essay at the time of application.
  • What was the most influential factor in applying to Lake Erie College? (255 characters)

 

Tufts 

Tufts has made changes to their supplemental prompts for all schools.

School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree:

Required Essay 1:

[OLD]:  What excites you about Tufts' intellectually playful community? In short, "Why Tufts?" (200-250 words)

[NEW]: Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts?’ (100-150 words)

 

Required Essay 2:

Choose 1 of 2 is changed to Choose 1 of 3 with the following prompts:

A) From recognizing break dancing as a new Olympic sport, to representation in media, to issues of accessibility in our public transit systems, what is something that you can talk about endlessly? What do you care about and why?

B) Whether you've built circuit boards or written slam poetry, created a community event or designed mixed media installations, tell us: What have you designed, invented, engineered, or produced? Or what do you hope to?

C) We all have a story to tell. And with over 5,000 undergraduate students on our campus, that is over 5,000 stories to share and learn. What’s yours? 

 

BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree at the SMFA at Tufts:

Required Essay 1:

[OLD]: Which aspects of the Tufts curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (200-250 words)

[NEW]: Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)

 

Required Essay 2:

Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. Whether you think of Ai Weiwei’s work reframing the refugee crisis, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald’s portraits of the Obamas reimagining portrait painting on a national scale, or Yayoi Kusama’s fanciful Infinity Mirrors rekindling our sense of wonder, it is clear that contemporary art is driven by ideas. What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work? (200-250 words) 

 

 

University of Chicago

Chicago has two required supplements. The first prompt remains the same. The prompt choices for the extended essay have changed.

[same]

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

 

[new]

  1. Cats have nine lives, Pac-Man has 3 lives, and radioactive isotopes have half-lives. How many lives does something else—conceptual or actual—have, and why?
  2. If there’s a limited amount of matter in the universe, how can Olive Garden (along with other restaurants and their concepts of food infinity) offer truly unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks? Explain this using any method of analysis you wish—physics, biology, economics, history, theology… the options, as you can tell, are endless.
  3. A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a ______ a ______?
  4. “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Jessamyn West
  5. UChicago has international campus centers around the world, but we don’t have any interplanetary, interstellar, or interdimensional campuses… yet! Propose a spot in time or space, in this or any universe, for a new UChicago campus. What types of courses would be taught at this site? What cultural experiences await students who study there?
  6. “Don’t be afraid to pick past prompts! I liked some of the ones from previous years more than those made newly available for my year. Also, don’t worry about the ‘correct’ way to interpret a question. If there exists a correct way to interpret the prompt I chose, it certainly was not my answer.”

 

University of Georgia

UGA had made a single prompt change to their Choose 1 of 4 supplemental essay. 

  • UGA’s 2017 Commencement speaker Ernie Johnson (Class of ’79) told a story from his youth about what he refers to as blackberry moments. He has described these as “the sweet moments that are right there to be had but we’re just too focused on what we’re doing …, and we see things that are right there within our reach and we neglect them. Blackberry moments can be anything that makes somebody else’s day, that makes your day, that are just sweet moments that you always remember.” Tell us about one of your “blackberry moments” from the past five years. [SAME]
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give to a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)? [NEW]
  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. [SAME]
  • Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue. [SAME]

 

University of Kansas

UK has changed their Choose one of three prompts for the Honors College

  1. When did you know?
  2. It has been said that there are two types of people. What are they? Which one are you?
  3. Write a letter to someone you consider to be a leader.

 

UC Boulder

UC Boulder has changed their required supplemental essay.

  • At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance. (250-650 words)

 

UNC - Chapel Hill

UNC has the same require supplement as last year. Choose two of the prompt options, 200-250 words.

  • Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.
  • What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
  • What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want us to know?
  • What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?

 

  UT - Austin

UT Austin changed their three supplemental essays:

Instructions: All applicants must submit three required short answers and may submit one optional short answer responding to prompts in your admissions application. Answers are limited to no more than 40 lines, or about 250–300 words, typically the length of one paragraph.

REQUIRED [new]

  1. Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major?
  2. Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways. Please share how you have demonstrated leadership in either your school, job, community, and/or within your family responsibilities.
  3. Please share how you believe your experiences, perspectives, and/or talents have shaped your ability to contribute to and enrich the learning environment at UT Austin, both in and out of the classroom.
     

    OPTIONAL [same]

    Please share background on events or special circumstances that may have impacted your high school academic performance.

 

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh has changed 2 of their 3 recommended supplements.  There is no required word limit, but they recommend 200-300 words.

  • Tell us about something you have read/watched/listened to that made an impact on you. Tell us why it made an impact. [ NEW ]
  • If you could create a new product, process, business, or organization, what would this entity look like? (We especially encourage applicants interested in the College of Business Administration or the Swanson School of Engineering to respond to this question.) [ SAME ]
  • What else should we know about you? Take this opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee anything else you think we should know as we review your application for admission. [ NEW ]

 

University of Virginia

UVA has kept most of their essays the same.  One of the Choose one of 5 prompts have changed.

  • [OLD] - UVA students are charged with pushing the boundaries of knowledge to serve others and contribute to the common good. Give us an example of how you’ve used what you’ve learned to make a positive impact in another person’s life.
  • [NEW] - UVA students are charged with living honorably and upholding a Community of Trust. Give us an example of a community that is important to you and how you worked to strengthen that community.

 

University of Washington

University of Washington has two required essays and has changed the wording of one of the optional prompts.

REQUIRED [NEW}

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. (500 words)
  • Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW. (300 words)

Change of wording:

OPTIONAL

You are not required to write anything in this section, but you may include additional information if something has particular significance to you. For example, you may use this space if:

  • You have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education
  • Your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations
  • You have experienced unusual limitations or opportunities unique to the schools you attended

 

Villanova

Villanova has three new prompts for their Choose 1 of 3 supplement.  (250-1000 words)

  1. In the spirit of Saint Augustine, we believe that everyone in the Villanova community learns from each other. What is a lesson that you have learned in your life so far that you will share with others?
  2. You may live in one of the busiest cities in all the world or come from a small town with just one traffic light. The place that you call home has probably shaped who you are in some way. Tell us about where you are from and what, from there, you will bring to Villanova.
  3. Please describe a choice for change that you have made in your life that has greatly affected your life or the lives of others.

 

Wake Forest

Wake Forest has made wording changes to two short answer questions and changed the prompts for four short essays.

Change of wording:

  • Tell us how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.
  • What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

Change of prompt:

  • As part of our “Voices of Our Time” series — which allows students, faculty, and staff to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers — Wake Forest has hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Eboo Patel, and Thomas Friedman. If you could choose the next series speaker, whom would you pick, and why? (150 words)
  • At Wake Forest, we gather our students in “Calls to Conversation,” congregating small groups around dinner tables in faculty’s and administrators’ homes to discuss topics organized around a theme, for example “arts for social change,” “gender in society,” and “leading a meaningful life.” If you could design a theme for a “Call to Conversation,” what would you choose, and why? (150 words)
  • We live in an age intensely interested in heroes. Professor Joseph Campbell defined “hero” as “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Describe a hero in public life and how and why, in your opinion, they meet Professor Campbell’s definition. (150 words)
  • We are all different, and our lived experiences — influenced by our culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion — shape our understanding of the world. How have your experiences shaped your development, and how do you plan to use those experiences to interact and engage with others who might be different from you within our Wake Forest Community? (no word limit)

 

Main Application Essays

 Common Application

The Common Application personal statement has the same prompts as last year. 

  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 more? 
  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. 

Coalition Application

The Coalition Application has changed their word count requirements.  They recommend 500-550 words, but there is no specific word limit.

  1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  2. Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  3. Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  4. What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  5. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

 

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