Category: College Essays

2023-24 Cornell University Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Thursday, December 7, 2023
High school student preparing for college considers how to choose a major

Is Cornell University on your college list? Because it’s an Ivy League institution with a low admissions rate, your application needs to be extremely competitive. Your responses to Cornell’s supplemental essay prompts can help set you apart if they are compelling, thoughtful, and authentic. Keep reading for some insights into Cornell’s 2023-24 supplemental essays.   

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UCLA Personal Statement: FAQ, Examples & Insider Tips

Monday, October 30, 2023
Los Angeles, APR 4: Aerial night view of UCLA campus on APR 4, 2019 at Los Angeles, California

UCLA is part of the University of California system, which is comprised of nine campuses throughout the state. Students applying to UCLA must use the UC application — the University of California system does not use the Common App or Coalition Application. The application process includes several personal statement prompts, or what UC refers to as personal insight questions. Keep reading to learn more about these prompts and tips for responding to them.   

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Harvard University Supplemental Essay 2023-24 Prompt Guide

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

What Is the Harvard Graduation Rate?

If Harvard is one of your top-choice schools, you may be wondering how you can make your application stand out to the admissions committee. This is where your college essays come in. If done well, they can set you above other applicants. However, these essay prompts require short, creative answers, which is not an easy task. Keep reading to learn more about Harvard’s supplemental essays for the 2023-24 admissions cycle and how to craft them.    

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Stanford University Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide 2023-24

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

majors at stanford

If Stanford is one of your top-choice schools, you may be wondering how you can make your application stand out. Your responses to Stanford’s supplemental essay questions are a significant way to set yourself apart from other applicants. However, these essay prompts require you to be both concise and creative, which is not an easy task. Keep reading to learn more about Stanford’s supplemental essays for the 2023-24 admissions cycle and how to craft them.   

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12 College Essay Prompts and Topics 2023

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Quirky Essay PromptsThe Common Application is officially open, and many college-bound high school students are hard at work on their college applications. In addition to the main Common App essay, many schools might also require supplements that include some thoughtful — and downright quirky — essay prompts and short answer questions.

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What Vanderbilt Admissions Officers Look for in Essays

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Beautiful casual student using laptop indoors.

If Vanderbilt University, also known as Vandy, is one of your top-choice schools, you may be wondering how to craft your admissions essay to help you stand out. Vanderbilt is incredibly selective, so they look for students who demonstrate what they can contribute to the diverse campus community academically and otherwise. Your response to these essays contributes to the holistic review of your application, so it’s important to put a lot of thought into them. 

Keep reading for more information about the Vanderbilt essays and some strategies for writing them, including tips from one of our IvyWise counselors.   

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How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essays

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How to Write the Brown Supplemental EssaysBrown is at the top of plenty of students’ best-fit lists, so it’s no surprise that most prospective applicants want to do everything they can to stand out in their applications. While grades and course rigor carry the most weight in admissions decisions, students also need to write compelling essays that demonstrate their interest in attending the college.

In addition to the personal statement, students must prioritize the Brown University supplemental essays when compiling their application. Keep reading to learn more about the supplemental essays that Brown requires, as well as what it takes to write a top-tier personal statement.

What Essays Does Brown Require?

Like most colleges, Brown University requires applicants to submit a personal statement as part of the Common Application. Students can choose from the Common Apps’ list of prompts and compose a response of approximately 650 words.

Brown University has a series of supplemental essays that students must answer in addition to the required Common App essay. For first-year applicants, there are three questions, and each response should be approximately 200-250 words. For students applying to Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), there

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How to Write a College Application Essay That Makes an Impression

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

AdobeStock_248652443

If you’re under the impression that grades and standardized test scores are the only admissions criteria that really matter, think again. While it is true that these types of hard factors carry significant weight throughout the admissions process, well-written essays that reveal your true personality are also extremely important.

When it comes time to start writing your personal statement and supplements, you need to work diligently and develop several drafts so you can create content you are genuinely proud of.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of application essays and what you can do to stand out!

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ChatGPT in College Admissions

Thursday, March 30, 2023
ChatGPT in college admissions writing an essay

If you’ve been paying attention to education or technology news lately, you’ve likely heard a lot about ChatGPT, the new tool from OpenAI that generates astonishingly human-like text based on prompts and questions submitted by the user. We have been getting a lot of questions about this tool and how it should or should not be used in the college application process. Because this is a new advancement and I am far from a technological expert, I thought it would be best to pose these questions to the tool itself.

The italic text below represents the responses I received when I submitted the following questions to the ChatGPT tool. Some responses have been shortened for space and relevancy, but otherwise no changes have been made.

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When to Use a Comma to Separate Phrases — and Other Comma Questions

Friday, February 10, 2023

Student writing an essay considers her comma usage

By Carolyn, IvyWise College Admissions Counselor

In eighth grade, my English teacher Mrs. Houlihan told me that I was the only student in my class who knew how and when to use a comma. That feedback stuck with me, not just because it made me feel like the greatest student of all time (which, let’s be honest, I totally was), but because it made me realize the awesome power of the comma. For such a tiny piece of punctuation, the comma packs a mighty punch, in that using it correctly or incorrectly is one of the most glaring signs that a writer either does or does not know what they’re doing.

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Grammar and Spelling Mistakes to Avoid in Your College Essay

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Few things are scarier to students than submitting their college application only to find grammar and spelling mistakes afterward. This can lead to panicked calls to counselors and colleges, asking to resubmit their essays or correct an error. While small grammar and spelling mistakes won’t kill your college admission chances, they can lead to a lot of additional headaches for already stressed-out students.

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How to Answer the “Why This College?” Essay Prompt

Friday, October 7, 2022
High school student writing a "why this college" essay for college applicationsThe questions typically address certain aspects about the school or the applicant’s intended major, and while they’ve tended to grow a little quirky over the years, one question that typically pops up is some form of the “why [this college]?” prompt.

This essay, while seemingly simple, can help take an application from the “maybe” pile to the “accepted” stack. It is also a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their interest, knowledge of the school, and make a lasting impression on the admissions office. So, how do you write a killer “why this college” essay?

Research, Research, Research

This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your interest in a college and highlight that you’ve done your research in the schools to which you apply. If tens of thousands of other applicants all chose to apply to Brown University, for example, what makes you so special? This is where admissions officers will turn to the supplement prompts. After all, if you were in their shoes, would you be more likely to admit the student that answers the “Why Brown?” question with deep consideration about their academic future,

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How to Write the Yale Supplemental Essays

Friday, August 26, 2022

With its lengthy history and unparalleled academic rigor, it’s no surprise that Yale tops many students’ best-fit lists, with an acceptance rate that has dipped below 5% in recent years.

Given the competitive nature of Yale’s admissions process, every component of your college application is going to be crucial, including supplemental essays. Like many colleges, Yale has a number of writing prompts that students are required to answer as part of their submission. Keep reading to learn more about the Yale supplemental essay to make sure your writing sets you apart from the pack.

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How to Write the NYU Supplemental Essay

Thursday, August 4, 2022

NYU has long been a top choice school for many students. New York University’s application volume has now reached a new level. Last year, more than 100,000 students submitted applications, marking a new record for the college.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that gaining a seat at NYU is exceptionally competitive. To boost your admissions odds, you must ensure that each component of your application presents you in the best possible light, including your NYU supplemental essays. Read on to learn what you can do to make sure your writing sets you apart for all of the right reasons.

How to Write the Why NYU Essay

If you think you only need to worry about your personal statement, think again. Supplemental essays matter, particularly at highly competitive colleges like NYU where students are applying amidst tens of thousands other applicants.

One of the most important questions you will need to answer as part of the NYU supplemental essay process is about the college itself. Many schools include a supplemental essay question that asks the applicant why they are choosing to apply to their institution. They ask this question because they want to gauge an applicant’s

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How to Write the Columbia University Supplemental Essays

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Columbia University is a popular choice for many students’ best-fit lists. There are many reasons why the Ivy League university appeals to thousands of applicants each year, from a prime location in the heart of New York City to its renowned Core Curriculum,

Given its popularity and unparalleled academic rigor, it’s no surprise that Columbia is one of the most selective schools in the country. To gain a seat, students should ensure that every component of their application, including their supplemental essays, are top notch. Read on to learn best practices that will help your writing stand out to Columbia’s admissions officers.

How Many Supplemental Essays Does Columbia Have?

The first question you might ask yourself is: “How do I get into Columbia University?”. When it comes to supplemental admissions essays, their second is probably going to be “How many will I have to write?”

Every college has different essay requirements and guidelines. At Columbia University, applicants are asked to answer three short-answer questions with a 200 word maximum, as well as three list questions with word limits ranging between 75 and 125 words.

2022-2023 Columbia-Specific Application Questions

If you want to write the

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How to Write Princeton Supplemental Essays

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Young girl writing her princeton supplement essays on notebook

If Princeton is at the top of your list for best-fit colleges, you know that every component of your application counts. With a record-low acceptance rate of less than 4% for the University Class of 2025, it’s clear that applicants are going to have to submit their best work to be competitive, and that includes writing compelling supplemental essays.

While grades may pull the most weight in admissions decisions, supplemental essays give students an opportunity to highlight what makes them unique, demonstrate their knowledge of Princeton, and articulate the impact they will have on campus. Keep reading to learn how to write Princeton supplemental essays that will help you stand out for the right reasons.

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How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Number of Colleges Students Should Apply To

More Students Are Applying to Dozens of Colleges, But Is That a Smart Strategy?

With colleges receiving more applications than ever before and admissions rates dwindling each year, many college-bound students are deciding to hedge their bets and apply to as many schools as possible in order to secure sufficient offers of admission. There have been reports over the years of students applying to dozens of colleges ­– sometimes 30, 40, even 50. But is this really beneficial? How much is too much when it comes to college applications?

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6 Tips For Recording a College Application Video Essay

Thursday, November 19, 2015
College Application VideoHere’s How to Record an Outstanding College Application Essay Video

Many colleges are known for getting creative with their essay prompts, sometimes asking weird and wacky questions to encourage students to dig for thoughtful, creative responses. Another way some colleges are shaking up the college admissions process is with college application essay videos.

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5 Common College Application Essay Myths

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Common College Essay MythsMake Sure You Know The Truth About College Application Essays Before Starting On Your Common Application

The Common Application opens this weekend on August 1, and for many rising seniors this is the perfect opportunity to get a head start on their college applications before the start of the school year. However, before students dive into their college application essays, they need to know what’s true, and what’s false, about these common application essay myths.

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