Welcome to the homepage for all essay prompt updates for the 2020-2021 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 August 2

Same as last year:

  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Belmont University
  • Bentley University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Butler University
  • Caltech
  • Carleton College
  • Catholic University America
  • Christopher Newport University
  • College of Wooster
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Connecticut College
  • Davidson College
  • Denison University
  • DePaul University
  • DePauw University
  • Evergreen State College
  • Fairfield University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia State University
  • Gettysburg College
  • Grinnell College
  • Guilford College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hamilton College
  • Haverford College
  • High Point University
  • Hofstra University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Ithaca College
  • James Madison University
  • Juniata College
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Kenyon College
  • Knox College
  • Lake Forrest College
  • Luther College
  • Manhattan College
  • Marymount Manhattan College
  • Merrimack College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pace University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Regis University
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Saint Louis University
  • Salisbury University
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle University
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Skidmore College
  • SUNY Binghamton
  • SUNY New Paltz
  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • SUNY University at Buffalo
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Stetson University
  • Temple University
  • Trinity College
  • Trinity University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Maine
  • University of Massachusetts - Boston
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of North Carolina  - Asheville
  • University North Carolina - Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  • University of North Carolina - Wilmington
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Redlands
  • University of Tampa
  • West Virginia University
  • Whitman College
  • Whittier College
  • Willamette University
  • Wofford College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Xavier University


Changes from last year:


Week of July 26

Same as last year:



Week of July 19

Changes from last year:




Week of July 12

Same as last year:

  • Abilene Christian University (Apply Texas)
  • Case Western (no supplements)
  • Concordia University Texas (Apply Texas)
  • Hardin-Simmons University (Apply Texas)
  • McMurry University (Apply Texas)


Changes from last year:


Week of July 5

Same as last year:


Changes from last year:


Week of June 28


Changes from last year:


Week of June 21

Same as last year:

  • Georgetown
  • UT Austin
  • University of Washington


Changes from last year:



Week of June 14

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 2020-2021 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 




American University

American made a change to one of their Honor essays.  

[same] AU Honors students are distinguished by their sense of intellectual curiosity, both inside and outside of the classroom. Tell us what you are most curious about, and how that curiosity has influenced your life thus far. (300 words)

[new] What do you hope to gain from joining the AU Honors Program? What do you think you will contribute? (300 words)

[same] Describe a time when a belief or deeply held value was challenged. How did it make you feel, how did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome? (300 words)






Amherst has added another option to their supplemental essay

  • [NEW] Option C: If you were an applicant to Amherst’s Access to Amherst (A2A) program, you may use your A2A application essay in satisfaction of our Writing Supplement requirement. If you would like to do so, please select Option C on either the Common Applications or the Coalition Application. However, if you would prefer not to use your



Babson College

Babson has added a new optional prompt:

Historically marginalized and oppressed identities experience racism, prejudice, and discrimination at an alarming rate. As One Babson, we are taking action to stand against injustice and to ensure students have the community, support and resources they need. If you have ever experienced discrimination, in any form, due to your racial, religious, gender, or sexual identity, please select yes.
If comfortable, you may also opt to share that experience. Additionally, please know we are here to support you. In whatever way feels meaningful to you, please let us know what support looks like for you.


Barnard College

Barnard has made changes to their supplements.

[ word count ] What factors influenced your decision to apply to Barnard College and why do you think the College would be a good match for you? (100-250 words  300 words max)

[ word change Pick one woman — an historical figure, fictitious character, or modern individual — to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. Why does this person intrigue you? What would you talk about? What questions would you ask them? (300 words max) Required Optional

[ NEW ]  At Barnard, academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited, and why do they interest you? Tell us how you would explore these questions at Barnard. (300 words max)



Baylor University

Baylor has the same Common App supplement with a word count change to 450.  Common App lists 750 words max.  Also, this supplement is required for Early Decision students.

What are you looking for in a university, why do you want to attend Baylor, and how do you see yourself contributing to the Baylor community?






Boston College

BC has added a Human-Centered Engineering specific essay prompt to their supplement.

All applicants, except those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) major, should respond to one of prompts #1-4 listed below. Students applying to the HCE major must respond to prompt #5 only

  1. [ SAME ] 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. [ SAME ] 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. [ SAME ] 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. [ SAME ] 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? 
  5. [ NEW ] For Human-Centered Engineering major applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College strives to develop people who will integrate technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. How would a Boston College engineering education enable you to contribute towards these goals? 


Boston University

BU has two new Trustee Scholars prompts.

Choose 1 of 2

1. [ new ] The Trustee Scholars at Boston University form a diverse and inclusive community of students. Please tell us about a time where you proactively advocated for, or experienced, inclusivity in your school or community. What did you learn and how would you put that into practice at Boston University?

2.  [ new ] Howard Thurman, who was the dean of BU's Marsh Chapel from 1953-1965, once wrote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Can you describe a particular experience you have had or an activity that you participate in that makes you come alive? How would you try to integrate that experience or activity into your time at BU?



Brandeis University

Brandeis has made a word change to one of their Choose 1 of 3 prompts and has a revised prompt for the business school.

Choose 1 of 3:

[same ] Why would you like to attend Brandeis?

[new wording] Justice Brandeis said, "If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold." Tell us about something bold that you've recently done.

[same ]There are approximately 171,476 words in the English dictionary. Pick your favorite word and tell us why you picked it.


[new] Brandeis International Business School offers a unique Scholars program for Brandeis undergraduates. Upon admission to Brandeis University, Scholars are provisionally admitted to select specialized master’s degrees or considered for fast track admissions to the MBA degree. During their junior year, the student then selects their graduate program of interest and receives a guaranteed scholarship for this graduate program.  How do you feel this Scholars program would be beneficial to you?



Brown University

Brown University has the same required supplements as last year.

  • [SAME] Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)
  • [SAME] At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (250 words)
  • [SAME] Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (250 words)
  • [SAME] Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.



Chapman University

Chapman has added a new short answer supplement.

  • Fast Facts [ CHANGES ]
  • Choose 1 of 2:
    1. [ NEW ] "Our campus is committed to listening to and learning from our students. With your knowledge of Chapman, what ways would you implement a more welcoming and diverse campus culture through physical spaces, programming, classes, etc.?"

      [ OLD ] 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?

    2. [ NEW] Knowing what it means to be a Chapman Panther, how do you see yourself engaging with and growing in our community that continues to strive for diversity, equity and inclusion?

      [ OLD ] 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?



Claremont McKenna College

CMC has one new prompt.

For the purpose of this essay prompt, pick one FHS or FWS seminar to study at CMC. What part of your personal experience—or your desire to know more about an area outside of your experience—best explains your seminar choice?  View the full list of FHS and FWS topics.




College of Charleston
Charleston has altered their optional Why Us prompt.

[new] Many students apply to the College of Charleston based on our location, size, reputation and the beauty of our campus (temperate year-round weather also comes up frequently). While these are all important considerations in choosing a college, why is the College of Charleston a particularly good match for you?


Columbia University

Columbia has many multiple word changes to supplements.

[ OLD ] List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year. 
[ NEW ] List the titles of the required readings from academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.

[ OLD ] List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. 
[ NEW ] List the titles of the books, essays, poetry, short stories or plays you read outside of academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.


[ OLD ] List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly. 

[ NEW ] List the titles of the print or digital publications, websites, journals, podcasts or other content with which you regularly engage.


[ OLD ]  List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year. 
[ NEW ] List the movies, albums, shows, museums, lectures, events at your school or other entertainments that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school (in person or online).


[ OLD ] Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)

[ NEW ]  Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? (200 words or fewer)

[ REMOVED ] List a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community. (150 words or less)


[ NEW ] Columbia students take an active role in improving their community, whether in their residence hall, classes or throughout New York City. Their actions, small or large, work to positively impact the lives of others. Share one contribution that you have made to your family, school, friend group or another community that surrounds you. (200 words or fewer)


[ OLD ] For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time. (300 words or less)

[ NEW ] For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you previously noted in the application. (200 words or fewer)


[ WORD CHANGE ] For applicants to Columbia Engineering, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you previously noted in the application. (200 words or fewer)


Cornell University

Cornell has made changes to five of their major-specific supplements.


College of Human Ecology:

  • How have your experiences influenced you to consider the College of Human Ecology and how will your choice of major(s) impact your goals and plans for the future?
  • [ NEW ]  How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future? 


School of Engineering:

  • Tell us about your interest in engineering or what you hope to achieve with a degree in engineering. Describe what appeals to you about Cornell Engineering and how it specifically relates to your engineering interest or aspirations.
  • [ NEW ] Tell us about what excites you most about Cornell Engineering and/or studying engineering at Cornell University. How do you see yourself becoming a part of the Cornell Engineering community?


School of Industrial and Labor Relations: 

  • Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.
  • [ NEW ] Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.


Cornell SC Johnson College of Business:(single prompt for both school options)

  • How have your interests and experiences influenced your decision to apply to the School of Hotel Administration? How does this decision relate to your future plans and aspirations?
  • The Dyson School is unique by design. What motivates you to apply to Dyson and where do you plan to go from here?
  • [ NEW ] What kind of a business student are you? The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business offers two distinct business programs, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the School of Hotel Administration. Please describe how your interests and ambitions can be met through one or both of the Schools within the College.


Dartmouth College

Dartmouth has new prompts for the Choose 1 of 6 (250-300 words):

  1. [same] 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.
  2. [ new ] What excites you?
  3. [new] In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba, Class of 2014, reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power the electrical appliances in his family’s Malawian house: “If you want to make it, all you have to do is try.” What drives you to create and what do you hope to make or have you already made?
  4. {new} Curiosity is a guiding element of Toni Morrison’s talent as a writer. "I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost...magnificent, when I write,” she says. Celebrate your curiosity.
  5. [new] “Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” observed Frida Kahlo. Apply Kahlo’s perspective to your own life.
  6. [same] 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?



Duke University

Duke has made slight word changes to its supplements:

  • [ word change ] 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 that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words maximum)
  • [ word change ] Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about your identity, you can do so here, or use any previous essay prompt you feel is appropriate. (250 words maximum)



Elon University

Elon has replaced the Why Elon prompt with a new prompt and made changes to two of their three Think Fast questions.

Think Fast:

  1. [new] What brings you joy? (30 words)
  2. [new] We’re in your hometown. Where should we eat and what should we order? (30 words)
  3. [same] Name three songs from your perfect playlist. (30 words)


[removed] Why Elon University? (200-250 Word Limit)

[new ] As you look into the future, what gives you hope? (200-250 Word Limit)


Emory University

Emory has two Choose 1 of 3 essays. There are changes to the prompts this year:

Reflections Category:

+ Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.
+ If you could go back in time, what advice would you offer yourself at the beginning of secondary/high school?
+ Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.

Tell Us About You Category:

+ Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?

+ If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why?

+ Introduce yourself to your first-year Emory University roommate.




Furman University

Furman removed their Why Us supplement.

The Furman Advantage guarantees every student an educational experience that combines excellent academics with real-world experiences and self-discovery. Describe how you believe The Furman Advantage will prepare you for a life of purpose, community impact, and career success. Maximum word count of 350 words.



Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech will not consider theCommon Application Personal Statement this year instead opting for two shorter supplements.

  • Why do you want to study your chosen major at Georgia Tech, and what opportunities at Georgia Tech will prepare you in that field after graduation?

[ word change ] Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech? (50 - 300 words)

  • [ NEW ]  Choose 1 of 2.

OPTION 1: Georgia Tech is committed to creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Tell us how you have improved or hope to improve the human condition in your community.

OPTION 2: If you feel that your personal or community background can provide additional insight to your application that we have not already seen elsewhere, please take this opportunity to share that information with us.



Hillsdale has reworded 2 supplement essays and added a Choose 1 of 4 essay

  • [SAME/REWORD] Hillsdale’s classical liberal arts curriculum teaches students “the best that has been thought, written, and said” throughout Western history and across disciplines. How do you hope this approach to education will prepare you for life after college? (250 Words)
  • [SAME/REWORD]  Since its founding in 1844, Hillsdale College has aimed to develop the minds and improve the hearts of its students. How will your partnership in our community aid us in this work? 
  • [NEW] On separate paper to supplement this application, please prepare an answer to one of the essay prompts below. Please include the prompt with your response. Your essay should be 650 words or less in length.
    1. Hillsdale College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s spiritual and intellectual inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law. Hillsdale students study timeless, centuries-old wisdom and what it means to live by it. What have you inherited? How does that inheritance manifest itself in your life? 
    2. The Hillsdale College Honor Code asks students to be “honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service, and respectful of the rights of others.” These habits, and the education that accompanies them, help students rise to “self-government.” Using personal experience, or historical, literary, or artistic examples, discuss the necessary connection between virtue and a self-governed life. 
    3. Discuss how an event or circumstance, literary or artistic work, or personal experience has significantly influenced your life.
    4. What is good character and why is it important? You may cite examples from literature, the arts, science, politics, history, athletics, business, education, or your own personal experience.



Johns Hopkins University

The supplement for Johns Hopkins has changed:

[ new ] Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. (300-400 words)




Lafayette College

Lafayette College has added a supplement and a recommended essay

  • [NEW]  Students identify Lafayette as an excellent fit for countless reasons. In your response, be deliberate and specific about your motivation for applying to Lafayette.  Why Lafayette? (20-200 words)
  • [NEW]  There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations. In response to the prompt below, keep it simple – choose one activity and add depth to our understanding of your involvement.  What do you do? Why do you do it? (20-200 words).



Lehigh University

Lehigh has added a racism question and removed the community prompt.

[new] A compelling characteristic of Lehigh’s community is that our students want to be actively engaged in their learning, their community, and the world. Our students look to make a difference and have a real-world impact. We expect our community to challenge your viewpoint, your naturalized assumptions, and the way that you see the world around you. In the words of students from Lehigh’s Black Student Union: “We must continue to disparage those who promote racism and police brutality in our country. We must also call out the idle individuals who have become complacent in a time where their voice is paramount." (Choose one question and reply with 300 words or less)
1. Tell us how you have taken steps to educate others and/or yourself on anti-racism?
2. What’s one way you think your life would have been different had you been born another race?
3. What would you want to be different in your own country or community to respond to issues of inequality, inequity, or injustice?

[removed] Your time at Lehigh will be shaped in large part by others. What personal perspective will you contribute based on your unique interests, experiences, and background?



Lewis and Clark College

Lewis and Clark has a single required supplement this year.

[new ] Discuss how, as a student at Lewis & Clark, you will embody the concepts of the college's motto: Explorare, Discere, Sociare—to explore, to learn, to work together. (about 300 words)


Loyola Marymount University

LMU has changed their three prompt options for the Choose 1 of 3:

Prompt 1: In December 2019, LMU became an observer to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change to provide opportunities for students and faculty members to participate in discussions about global warming, greenhouse gases, and other environmental issues. Pope Francis, a leading Jesuit scholar on environmental activism, inspired LMU to act when he stated in Lautato Si, his 2015 encyclical on climate change: “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
Prompt 1 question: What role do you believe institutions like LMU should play in addressing climate change? What is your personal responsibility to respond to climate change?

Prompt 2: Speaking about education, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.’’ Critical thinking is a central goal of Jesuit education, and at LMU you will be asked to think critically and intensively.
Prompt 2 question: Please write about a situation that demanded critical thinking from you, and how your choices or decisions integrated intelligence and character.

Prompt 3: A central component of Jesuit and Marymount schools is ‘‘Educating men and women for others” and one pillar of the LMU mission is “the service of faith and the promotion of justice.” LMU students create the world they want to live in by being generous with their time, talents, and abilities, contributing over 200,000 community service hours annually to organizations around the world.
Prompt 3 question: What person or experience comes to mind when you consider these statements? Please give an example of someone who works for justice for the least of their neighbors or a service opportunity that was particularly inspiring for you.



Marquette University

Marquette removed one supplement.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If yes, please explain your conviction.



Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is using the same prompts as last year. At Prompt, we love MIT because our founders went there. Three MIT engineers founding a writing company – a bit ironic; isn't it? (Portfolio information will be updated once MIT releases that via Slideroom)

Essay 1: [same] We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)

Essay 2: [same] Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)

Essay 3: [same] At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. (200-250 words)

Essay 4: [same] Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)

Essay 5: [same] Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)




Northwestern has wording changes for the Why Northwestern prompt?

[ old ] Other parts of your application give us a sense for how you might contribute to Northwestern. But we also want to consider how Northwestern will contribute to your interests and goals. In 300 words or less, help us understand what aspects of Northwestern appeal most to you, and how you'll make use of specific resources and opportunities here. 

[ new ] While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.  In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.


Occidental College

Occidental made changes to multiple supplements and added a Choose 1 of 2:

[old] Quirks, idiosyncrasies, peculiarities. They help differentiate us. What is one of yours, and how is it a reflection of your character?

[new] Quirks, idiosyncrasies, peculiarities. They help differentiate us. What is one of yours? (134 words max)


Removal of one short answer

What is your favorite word (in English or another language) and why? (50 characters)
[same] What is the first song you would play for your roommates on move-in day? (150 characters)
[same] If you had your own food truck or restaurant, what would it be called? (150 characters)


[new] Please answer one of the following questions (300 words max):
A. Research is an integral part of an Oxy education. Completing a senior comprehensive is a requirement of every Oxy student. Additionally, there are opportunities with the Institute for the Study of Los Angeles, the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, the International Richter Grant, the Summer Undergraduate Research Center, and other departments to conduct research. What is something you would like to research and why?
B. Briefly describe a current event or social movement that is affecting a city, town, or place that is important to you. Describe its significance to the community as well as its future implications for that community.


Oklahoma State University

OSU has all new prompts for their Choose 2 of 4 and a new honors prompt

  1. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome,” Booker T. Washington said. Describe an obstacle you have faced and the steps you took to overcome it.
  2. “Sometimes we need someone to turn the flashlight on for us. Other times we need to turn it on for others,” Lizzie Velasquez said. How have you acted as a guiding light for others?
  3. Choose one quotation that defines who you are and explain why that quotation describes you so well.
  4. Studies have demonstrated that smells trigger more vivid emotional memories than other senses. Describe a favorite smell of yours and the imagery it evokes.
    Honors: [new]  Please respond to the following question in 50 words or less. There are no wrong answers.  What T.V. show character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week and why?



Oregon State University

OSU has removed all prior supplements and has expanded their Honors writing requirements.

[new] The Honors College would like to better understand your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and diverse talents. When responding to each of the prompts below, keep in mind that Oregon State University and Honors College employees are required by law to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse to law enforcement or the Oregon Department of Human Services per ORS 419B.005. Other knowledge of illegal activity may also be reported by OSU or the Honors College, pursuant to other reporting requirements.

“I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.” – Rita Dove

Drawing insights from the connection of multiple subjects or perspectives is the basis of interdisciplinary thinking, a central part of the Honors College curriculum. In the quote above, the poet Rita Dove observes that poetry gets its particular power from the combination of language and music. Choose something that is important to you, identify two of its components, characteristics, features, or attributes, and write an essay in which you examine how the two parts work together to make an outcome that is uniquely meaningful or important.

Be creative with this! “Something” can be anything – you can choose an academic subject, concept, activity, or a passion of yours. Successful responses will offer a unique and specific perspective that will stand out among the many essays the admissions committee will review.

All Honors College applicants must complete this essay in 450-500 words.
This essay is an important part of your HC application and should represent your best writing. While many college admissions essays invite you to share a personal story, this HC essay has a different focus: we ask you to respond effectively to the prompt above. We will evaluate your writing skills and ability to think deeply and creatively.

[new] Knowledge in a field/creativity: Describe any special interests and how you have developed knowledge in these areas. Give examples of your creativity- the ability to see alternatives; take diverse perspectives; come up with many, varied, or original ideas; or willingness to try new things. (100 words)

[new] Dealing with adversity: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to address this challenge. Include whether you turned to anyone in facing the challenge, the role the person played, and what you learned about yourself. (100 words)

[new] Handling systemic challenges: OSU remains committed to creating an inclusive environment and dismantling systems that perpetuate discrimination at various levels. How, specifically, will you contribute to furthering this commitment? (100 words)

[new] Goals/task commitment: Articulate the goals you have established for yourself and your efforts to accomplish these. Give at least one specific example that demonstrates your work ethic/diligence. (100 words)





Penn State

Schreyer Honors College has changed their three essay prompts.

[OLD] Describe a situation in which you moved outside your comfort zone, interacting with people whose experiences and/or beliefs are different from your own. What was your initial response and how did you adapt? Walk us through the situation and explain what impact it had on you.
[NEW] "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." What does this statement mean to you and can it affect what you do?


[OLD] Describe a typical day in your life in 2050. Consider what your professional life will look like, what technologies you might use, and how you will interact with your personal network (friends, family, etc.) and the world at large.
[NEW] What is fairness in the world? Is merit always the pinnacle of fairness in education?


[OLD] "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture. If you could submit a selfie from anywhere in the world that would tell us about your beliefs and passion, where would you take this photo? What insight would this photo provide about you?
[NEW] We hear a lot about effective leadership but typically, leadership implies that there are followers. What is effective followership?




Pomona College

Pomona has three required prompts as well as short-answer optional prompts.


  • Students at Pomona are encouraged to take a variety of classes before declaring their major(s) in their second year. Tell us what gets you excited about the academic interest(s) you selected or any other fields of study you hope to explore in college.
  • Helen Keller once said, “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Whether you aspire to be a hero or an honest worker, what impact do you want to have in the Pomona community, your community back home, or any new community?
  • Choose 1 of 2:
    • Tell us about an experience when you dealt with disagreement or conflict around different perspectives within a community.
    • Tell us about one of the communities you belong to and what it means to bring that shared belief and/or perspective to Pomona.



  • If not captured elsewhere in your application, please share with us how you have overcome challenges in your life. (50 words or less)
  • If there are aspects of your identity that you feel are not captured elsewhere in this application, please provide that information below in no more than 50 words.
  • Before jumping into the required essays, you have the option to show us a little more of your personality. You can answer one, two, three, or none of the following questions. (1-50 words each)
    • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
    • What’s your favorite way to eat a potato?
    • You’re relaxing on a Friday night. Suddenly, your favorite song pops into your head. What is it?





Providence College

Providence has added an optional essays.

  • [NEW] Should you choose to complete an optional essay, please select one of the following prompts and limit your response to 250-500 words.
    1. As a liberal arts school, Providence College provides students with the opportunity to explore several different academic areas. While you may not be ready to declare a major, what have you experienced, inside or outside of the classroom, that has led you to an interest in a particular field of study?
    2. Diversity, Inclusion, and Democracy is a class on campus that encourages conversation with people from different perspectives. There are several spaces on campus where this class posts questions to the PC community, and dialogue forms from there. One of the questions this class posted recently was “Name a time where you’ve felt empowered or represented by an educator.” What question would you like to pose to the PC community and why?
    3. If you could have a theme song, what would it be and why?



Purdue University

Purdue made a change to their Honors essays

[new] Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at Purdue. Please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the Honors College.

[same] Please describe the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study and how it complements or supports other fields. (Examples: You might describe how your work in a liberal arts career may impact or inform the work of an engineer.) 



Rice University

[ old ] What aspects of the Rice undergraduate experience excite you and led you to apply? (150 word limit)
[ new ] Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 words)

[ old ] There is a breadth of intellectual opportunities here at Rice. Further explain your intended major and other areas of academic focus you may explore.
[ new ] Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above.

[ same ] Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspectives would you contribute to life at Rice? (500 word limit)



Rochester Institute of Technology

RIT has added 75 word optional prompt.

[ new ]  If RIT could create any course tailored to your interests, what would that course be about and what would you give as its title?
Please provide a course title and brief description.



Rutgers - Newark

Rutgers has changed one of their Choose 1 of 5 prompts.

Choose 1 of 5:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • 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?
  • 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)?.   [new] What is the hardest part of being a student now? What's the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on the topic of your choice.



Saint Mary's College of California

Saint Mary's has changed their two required supplements.

[new] Saint Mary’s College is guided by the five Lasallian Core Principles. Which core principle inspires you most, and why?

[new] If you had the opportunity to meet any person for coffee—past or present, fictional or nonfictional—who would it be and why?





Santa Clara University

SCU made word changes to both supplements

[ old ] Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. If you have had the opportunity to visit campus, please describe what aspect of your experience most influenced your impression of SCU. (Maximum 200 words)

[ new ] Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. If you have had the opportunity to visit campus or experienced Santa Clara virtually, please share your impression of SCU. (Maximum 200 words)

[ old ] Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement, Santa Clara University promises to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. We strive to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. Write about an experience from your life that embodies an aspect of our mission. (between 150 - 300 words)
[ new ] Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement, Santa Clara University promises to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. We strive to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. How do you plan to live out and implement these values in your own life to create a more equitable society? (between 150 - 300 words)



Smith College

Smith has changed up their supplement this year:

[old] We know that colleges ask a lot of hard questions on their applications. This one is not so hard and we promise, there is no hidden agenda - just have fun! If you had a theme song - a piece of music that describes you, what would it be and why? Please include the name of the song and the artist.

[new]  Music means so many things to so many people. It can bring us joy, inspire us, validate us or heal us. Please tell us about a song or piece of music that is particularly meaningful to you and why. Please include the name of the song/piece and the artist.


Southern Methodist University

SMU has added an Extracurricular Resume essay. 

  • [NEW] The SMU Admission Committee wants to learn more about your interests, hobbies, and how you spend your time. Please include the following information in your personal résumé: Extracurricular, volunteer, and summer activities. List in order of importance and indicate the amount of weekly time involved in your participation. Work experience. Include position, company/employer, dates of employment, and weekly time involved. Honors, awards, and leadership positions. List honors and awards and indicate grade level in which they were received. List leadership positions and include details on the responsibilities the position required.



Stanford University

Stanford reduced their short answer question count to 5.

Short Answers

  • [same] What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 word limit)
  • [same] How did you spend your last two summers? (50 word limit)
  • [same] What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 word limit)
  • [new] Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (50)
  • [same ] Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (50 word limit)

[same] Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

[same] The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words)

[same] Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate -- and us -- know you better. (100 to 250 words)



SUNY Albany

Albany has added a new Why Us prompt.

[new] The University at Albany is noted for attracting students who seek careers that will enable them to lead and to serve. Please share in one or two paragraphs how you believe a UAlbany education would empower you to achieve your goals. (800 words max)


Syracuse University

Syracuse has changed their Why Us essay and removed a Goals prompt

[old ] Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University?

[new ] Please be sure to respond to both parts of the following question:  Why are you interested in Syracuse University and how do you see yourself contributing to a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus community?

{old ] Who is the person you dream of becoming and how do you believe Syracuse University can help you achieve this?



Tufts University

Tufts has changed their Choose 1 of 3 prompt options for SAS, Engineering and 5-year program as well as the second required prompt for BFA degrees.

School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer the following two questions:

1. [ SAME] Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, "Why Tufts?" (100-150 words)

2. Now we'd like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words):

A) [ OLD ] 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?

[ NEW] It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity?

B) [ OLD ] 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?

[ NEW] How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – shaped the person you are today?

C) [ OLD ] 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?

[ NEW]  Where are you on your journey of engaging with or fighting for social justice?

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

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

2. [ OLD ] 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?

[ NEW]  Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world.  What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work? (200-250 words)


University of Delaware

The University of Delaware has added 3 essays for students who do not submit a standardized test and go through their Test Optional Admissions Program

  • [NEW] Anticipate what it will be like for you as a student at the University of Delaware. Both in and out of the classroom, where do you expect to feel most comfortable and where will you need to stretch? (250 words maximum)
  • [NEW] Relate a personal experience in which you were denied an opportunity or treated unfairly. How did you resolve the situation? If that were to happen during your college experience, what would you do? (250 words maximum)
  • [NEW]  Describe an accomplishment that took a great deal of time and/or effort on your part. What motivated you to continue when it got challenging? Who or what did you turn to for support, and how was that helpful? (250 words maximum)


University of Maryland

The University of Maryland has added a supplement essay.

  • [NEW] Please answer one of the following essay questions. Make sure to include the question itself at the start of your essay. Your essay should be no more than 550 words; the question will not be included in the essay total word count. 
  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 student 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.


University of Miami (Ohio)

University of Miami (Ohio) has a new honors prompt.

The Code of Love and Honor is a personalized pledge derived from our Values Statement. Its first line is "I am Miami," signifying that each and every one of us, through our choices, and supporting and caring for each other, contributes to who we are and what we aspire to be — individually, yes, but also collectively — as Miamians.  Please explain what this aspirational statement means to you. Then, by using examples from your own experience, please share the ways you plan to contribute as a Miamian that embody the ideals of Love and Honor.  Your essay should be 500-1,000 words long.



UNC - Chapel Hill

UNC has changed their Choose 2 prompts. 

[ OLD ]

  • 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?

    [ NEW ] Choose 2 (200-250 words)
  • Expand on an aspect of your identity  – for example, your religion, culture, race, sexual or gender identity, affinity group, etc. How has this aspect of your identity shaped your life experiences thus far?
  • If you could change one thing about where you live, what would it be and why?
  • Describe someone who you see as a community builder. What actions has that person taken? How has their work made a difference in your life?


University of Chicago

Chicago has two required supplements. The first prompt remains the same. The prompt choices for the extended essay have changed and a 7th prompt has been added.

[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.


Choose 1 of 7: [new]

    1. Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics... it's all up to you (or your woodchuck).
      —Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024

    2.   What can actually be divided by zero?
      —Inspired by Mai Vu, Class of 2024

    3.  The seven liberal arts in antiquity consisted of the Quadrivium — astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music — and the Trivium — rhetoric, grammar, and logic. Describe your own take on the Quadrivium or the Trivium. What do you think is essential for everyone to know?
      —Inspired by Peter Wang, Class of 2022

    4. Subway maps, evolutionary trees, Lewis diagrams. Each of these schematics tells the relationships and stories of their component parts. Reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. If your work is largely or exclusively visual, please include a cartographer's key of at least 300 words to help us best understand your creation.
      —Inspired by Maximilian Site, Class of 2020

    5.   "Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so.
      —Inspired by Chris Davey, AB’13

    6. Engineer George de Mestral got frustrated with burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and applied the same mechanic to create Velcro. Scientist Percy Lebaron Spencer found a melted chocolate bar in his magnetron lab and discovered microwave cooking. Dye-works owner Jean Baptiste Jolly found his tablecloth clean after a kerosene lamp was knocked over on it, consequently shaping the future of dry cleaning. Describe a creative or interesting solution, and then find the problem that it solves.
      —Inspired by Steve Berkowitz, AB’19, and Neeharika Venuturupalli, Class of 2024

    7.  In the spirit of adventurous inquiry (and with the encouragement of one of our current students!) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun!



University of Colorado

University of Colorado has one essay that is the same. 

  • [ SAME ] 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)

University of Georgia

UGA will be accepting the Common App starting this year! Their short supplement will remain the same and the Choose 1 of 4 is no longer required.:

[ SAME ] The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application. (200 - 300 words)



University of Illinois - Urbana

UIUC amended their Why Major? prompts to include an alternative question for Division of General Studies.

  • [ OLD ] Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest, inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals.

[ NEW ] Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. If you're applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you're currently considering. Limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

  • [ OLD ]  You have selected a second choice major. Please explain your interest in this major.

[ NEW ] If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. Again, limit your response to 300 to 400 words.



University of Kansas

UK has added prompts for the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program, updated the Honors prompt and removed the Architecture(M.Arch) 5-year program prompts. 

Choose 1 of 3 (For both Honors and SELF:

  1. The Kansas state motto “Ad Astra per Aspera” is Latin for “To the Stars through Difficulties.” What stars are you aiming for, and how have you learned/prepared to face challenges along the way? When did you know?
  2. There are many questions to ask and problems to explore. If you were to choose a question, problem, idea, or issue (personal, systemic, local, or global) to explore during your undergraduate years at KU, what would it be? What might you create, design, invent, or engineer to explore this topic?
  3. As Jayhawks, our community is committed to a set of core values: To actively foster unity, strive for innovation, advocate for inclusion, and value engagement. 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 KU community.

Short Answer: The SELF Program’s primary goal is to develop passionate future engineering leaders in business, industry, and entrepreneurship. Keeping that in mind, tell us why you are interested in becoming a SELF Fellow and what you feel you would contribute. Limit your response to 500 words.


Honors Short Answer:   Please upload your short-answer question responses as a single Word or PDF document and limit your total word count, for all three questions combined, to no more than 1,200 words. Your short-answer questions should be a concise snapshot of what has shaped your educational experience — and an illustration of your ability to convey those influences with clarity and brevity (prompts below).

  1. Help us learn about you, your life, and your experiences. List no more than five items (clubs and organizations, work experience, community service, awards and recognition, extra-curricular interests, personal or family obligations, etc.) in descending order of significance (list the most significant item first). For each item, explain your role, time commitment (both amount of time you devote to the activity and the year(s) in which you were involved), and responsibilities. 
  2. How have your experiences affected your sense of who you are and what you hope to accomplish? There are no wrong answers. 
  3. The Honors Program intends to attract students who make the most of the opportunities available to them. Based on the availability of courses at your school, how did you select the courses you chose to take? Is there anything you want the admissions committee to know about your transcript?



University of Miami

Miami has added a required supplement on resiliance.

  • The University of Miami's official mascot is the ibis. Folklore maintains that the native marsh bird is the last to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to emerge once the storm passes, making it an apt symbol of courage and resilience.  Considering your ability to control your own motivation and behavior, how have past experiences helped build your courage and resilience to persist in the face of academic and life challenges so that, once these storms pass, you can emerge in continued pursuit of your goals?  (250 words max)


University of Michigan

Michigan has two supplements this year.

  • Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (Required for all applicants)
  • Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (Required for all applicants)



University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame has made changes to their supplements this year.  They have added a fifth prompt to their Choose 2.

[ OLD ] What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions? (200 words) 

[ NEW ] The founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Moreau, wrote, “We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” How do you hope a Notre Dame education and experience will transform your mind and heart?


Choose 2 of 5 (all new prompts):

  1. A Notre Dame education is not just for you, but also for those who will benefit from the impact you make. Who do you aspire to serve after you graduate?
  2. In response to the rising momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement during June 2020, G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of the Notre Dame Law School, penned an open letter entitled, “I am George Floyd. Except I can breathe. And I can do something.” He issues a call to the Notre Dame community saying, “Each of us must do what we can, wherever we are.” What is one action you are taking “to change this world for the better?”
  3. God and the Good Life is an interdisciplinary course created by the departments of Philosophy and Film, Television, and Theatre that asks students to consider moral questions about what they believe and how they want to live their lives. What do God and a good life mean to you?
  4. Notre Dame has a rich history deeply rooted in tradition. Share how a favorite tradition from your life has impacted who you are today.
  5. What brings you joy?


University of Oregon

Oregon changed one of their Choose 1 of 3 prompts for the Honors College

Select one of the three quotes listed below. (650 word maximum).
1. Hannah Arendt: "Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from the ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable."
2. Maya Angelou: "Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible."

3. [ old ] John Steinbeck: "I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.”

     [ new ] Mary Oliver: "Instructions for living a life: 1. Pay Attention. 2. Be astonished. Tell about it."


University of Pennsylvania

Penn has a number of new essay prompts.

  • [ same ]  How did you discover your intellectual and academic interests, and how will you explore them at the University of Pennsylvania? Please respond considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected. (300-450 words)
  • [ same ] At Penn, learning and growth happen outside of the classroom, too. How will you explore the community at Penn? Consider how this community will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape this community. (150-200 words)

Program specific prompts:

Computer and Cognitive Science: Artificial Intelligence: Why are you interested in the Computer & Cognitive Science: Artificial Intelligence program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)

: Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)  [ same]

: The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)  [ same]

[ new ] “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” (attributed to Winston Churchill). Tell us about the failure from which you’ve learned the most. (200-250 words)


Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words) [ same]

Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words) [ same]

: Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words) [ same ]

: Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)[ same ]


  • Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry. [ same ]
  • List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands. [ same ]
  • What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people? [ same ]
  • Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least. [ same ]
  • Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.  [ same ]

: Describe your interests in energy science and technology drawing on your previous academic, research, and extracurricular experiences that allow you to appreciate the scientific or engineering challenges related to energy and sustainability. If you have previous experience with research, describe your research project (outlining the goals, hypotheses, approach, results, and conclusions). Describe how your experiences have shaped your research and interests, and identify how the VIPER program will help you achieve your goals. Also, please indicate which VIPER majors in both science and engineering are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words) [ same ]



University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has changed their Honor Essay and is going with a Choose 2 of 4 recommended supplement for the main application.

Choose 2 of 4:

      1. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to the Pitt community. Please identify and describe one element of your personal identity, and explain how that element would positively impact and/or progress the Pitt community.
      2. Resumes and lists of activities provide the Admissions Committee with an overview of your accomplishments. Please use this opportunity to provide more information by identifying one of your accomplishments and explaining how it has prepared you for a transition into collegiate life.
      3. If you could create a new product, process, business, or organization, what would it be? Please describe its purpose and how it would function. (We especially encourage applicants interested in the College of Business Administration or the Swanson School of Engineering to respond to this question.)
      4. With thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone, discuss why the University of Pittsburgh is a good fit for you.


[ OLD]  An important emphasis of PittHonors is working for the public good. Please describe how you have worked for the public good in the past and how you expect to continue to do so as a student at the University of Pittsburgh and after graduation.

[ OLD ] A hallmark of students in PittHonors is intellectual curiosity. Please describe how you have demonstrated intellectual curiosity in the past and how you expect to manifest that intellectual curiosity as a student at the University of Pittsburgh.

{ NEW ]If you could change anything in the world, what would it be? Explain why and how you would change it. Responses should be stated in 500 words or less.


University of Portland

Portland has added a new Describe an Activity prompt:

  • Please briefly describe one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.



University of Rochester

Rochester has changed their Why Us prompt

[new] The University of Rochester benefactor, entrepreneur, photography pioneer and philanthropist George Eastman said, “The progress of the world depends almost entirely upon education.” With that statement in mind, how will you use your University of Rochester experience to foster positive change in order to make the world, your community and those around you “ever better?”


University of Southern California

USC has the same prompts as last year.  Portfolio information will be added to the Prompt platform.

Short Answers:

Answer the following:

  • Describe yourself in three words. First Word: (25 characters)
  • Second Word: (25 characters)
  • Third Word: (25 characters)
  • What is your favorite snack? (100 characters)
  • Best movie of all time: (100 characters)
  • Dream job: (100 characters)
  • If your life had a theme song, what would it be? (100 characters)
  • Dream trip: (100 characters)
  • What TV show will you binge watch next? (100 characters)
  • Which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate? (100 characters)
  • Favorite book. (100 characters)
  • If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be? (100 characters)


Choose 1 of 3: (same prompts)

  1. USC believes that one learns best when interacting with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Tell us about a time you were exposed to a new idea or when your beliefs were challenged by another point of view. Please discuss the significance of the experience and its effect on you. 
  2. USC faculty place an emphasis on interdisciplinary academic opportunities. Describe something outside of your intended academic focus about which you are interested in learning.
  3. What is something about yourself that is essential to understanding you? 
  • Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words) [ same ]



University of Utah

Utah changed their BSP essay.

[old] Exploration of and passion for the world of business are pivotal parts of being a Business Scholar. Describe a time in your life when you experienced something impactful, challenging, or new and how that experience encouraged you to be the person you are today.
[new] Exploration, perpetual learning and development, and a passion for the world of business are essential traits of Business Scholars. Describe a time in your life when you experienced something impactful, challenging, or new and how that experience encouraged you to be the person you are today and will help you be successful in business.



University of Virginia

UVA has made changes to multiple supplements.


Choose 1 of 5: Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

    1. [ SAME ] What’s your favorite word and why?
    2. [ SAME ] We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are. 
    3. [ SAME ] Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?  
    4. [ SAME ] 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? 
    5. { NEW ] Rita Dove, UVA English professor and former U.S. Poet Laureate, once said in an interview that "...there are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints." Describe a time when, instead of complaining, you took action for the greater good. 


College of Arts and Sciences:

  • What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way? 
  •  What work of art, music, science, mathematics, literature, or other media has surprised, unsettled, or inspired you, and in what way? [ WORD CHANGE ] 


  • If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?
  • Describe an engineering feat that serves the common good and why it inspires you to study engineering. [ NEW ]

School of Architecture:

  • Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • Describe significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.  [ NEW ]


  • School of Nursing applicants may have experience shadowing, volunteering, or working in a health care environment. Tell us about a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.
  • Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing. [ NEW ] 

Kinesiology Program:

  • Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
  • Discuss experiences that led you to apply to the kinesiology major. [ WORD CHANGE ] 



University of Wisconsin

All campuses will share a common prompt for the UWisconsin application and the La Crosse changed their supplement.

  • [ NEW ] This part is all about you. Tell us about something you’ve done—academically or personally—and what you’ve learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?
  • [ NEW ] La Crosse campus has removed their Choose 1 of 2 and replaced it with: Please respond to the following: How will your life experiences, commitments, and/or characteristics enrich the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse campus community? Tell us why you are interested in attending UW–La Crosse and what aspects of the campus are especially important to you?


University of Vermont

Vermont has replaced 4 of their 5 essay options for their Choose 1 of 5.

  1. [ SAME ]  Why UVM?
  2. [ NEW ]  Which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (real or imagined) best describes you?
  3. [ NEW ] Whether they’re building a robot, a stronger sense of community, or an identity. UVM students are builders. What do you want to build?
  4. [ NEW ] UVM learning experiences go far beyond the walls of our classrooms. From student lead organizations, to internships, to study abroad, UVM students are encouraged to learn in any environment. Describe a time when you’ve learned in a non-traditional setting.
  5. [ NEW ] Communities are stronger when they incorporate many differing opinions, how do you create meaningful connections or conversations with others who have differing opinions than yours?"




Nova has added a Why Us and a fourth prompt to their Choose 1 essay.

[ NEW ]  In addition, the Admission Committee would like to know why you want to call Villanova your new home and become part of our community? Please respond in about 100 words.


Choose 1 of 4:

    1. [ NEW ] What is the truest thing that you know? How did you come to this conclusion?
    2. [ NEW ] Villanovans are known for "holding doors open" because inclusion is at the core of who we are. Take us on a journey through your background and describe how your life experience has shaped your understanding of the word "inclusion".
    3. [ NEW ] Generation Z is arguably the most technologically savvy cohort in history. They find answers to questions, discover troves of new music, or even start the next global social movement, all within seconds. How has this seemingly limitless connectivity influenced the person you have become?
    4. [ NEW ] In St. Augustine's book Confessions, one of the themes is the idea of redemption and second chances. Tell us a story about second chances. It can be your experience or one that you have come across through others or through media.


Wake Forest

Wake has made changes to multiple supplements. (We will confirm the removal of certain supplements when the application opens)

  • [ OLD ] How did you become interested in Wake Forest University and why are you applying?

[ NEW ] How did you become interested in Wake Forest University? Feel free to tell us about any contact that you had with Wake Forest that was important to you.

  • 1a. [ SAME ] List five books you have read that intrigued you. Author. Title.

1b. [ NEW ] Explain how a book you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words)

  • [ OLD ]What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

[ NEW ] Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words)


School Application

[ OLD ] 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?

[ NEW ] Describe a community that is important to you. How has that community prepared you to engage with, change, or even build the Wake Forest community? (150 words)



Williams College

Williams has made their supplement optional.  Three new prompt options.

You can respond to one of the prompts below in an essay of no more than 300 words, OR upload an academic paper (preferably from the humanities or social sciences) completed in the last academic year.

1. The first-year Entry–a thoughtfully constructed residential microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience–brings together students from around the world with different perspectives, interests and backgrounds. Imagine having a late-night conversation with your Entrymates about a community that you value. Describe that community and why it’s important to you.

2. All-Campus Entertainment (ACE), a student organization, hosts events called “Stressbusters”–an opportunity for students to focus on self-care by stepping away from their typical routine and enjoying some unscheduled time (and snacks!) with friends. Weekly Stressbuster activities might include a concert, playing with a therapy dog, painting pumpkins, building with Legos, etc. What’s your version of a “stressbuster,” and how does it help you rejuvenate in the midst of a hectic week?

3. At Williams we believe that bringing together students and professors in small groups produces extraordinary academic outcomes. Our distinctive Oxford-style tutorial classes—in which two students are guided by a professor in deep exploration of a single topic—are a prime example. Each week the students take turns developing independent work—an essay, a problem set, a piece of art—and critiquing their partner’s work. Focused on close reading, writing and oral defense of ideas, more than 60 pre-determined tutorials are offered across the curriculum each year. Imagine yourself in a tutorial at Williams. What topic would you be most excited to study in that setting and why?

4. I would like to upload my own essay (from a humanities or social science course and ideally 3-5 pages in length).



Yale has changed the supplemental prompts for this year. 

  • Think about an idea or topic that has been intellectually exciting for you. Why are you drawn to it? (250 words or fewer)

[ NEW ] Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it?

  • Choose 1 of 2 --> Choose 1 of 3
    1. [ NEW ] Reflect on your membership in a community. Why is your involvement important to you? How has it shaped you? You may define community however you like.
    2. [ NEW ] Tell us about your relationship with a role model or mentor who has been influential in your life. How has their guidance been instrumental to your growth?
    3. [ SAME ] Yale students, faculty, and alumni engage issues of local, national, and international importance. Discuss an issue that is significant to you and how your college experience might help you address it.


Main Application Essays

 Common Application

The Common Application personal statement has the same prompts as last year and has added an optional Covid-19 prompt that will appear in the Additional Information section of the application.  The current Additional Info prompt will remain.

  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. 


Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.  Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you. (250 words)

Coalition Application

The Coalition Application has added a COVID-19 optional essay. Their personal statement remains the same.

Personal Statement: Recommended 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.


Natural disasters and emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the lives of many students and their families.  While entirely optional, you may share information here regarding how any of these events have affected your or your family circumstances. (300 words)


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