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How to Respond to the Brandeis University Supplemental Essay Prompt 2022/2023

Brandeis University is a private research university located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Founded in 1948 with a mission to provide education to everyone, Brandeis has become a prominent liberal arts college. If this university is at the top of your list, keep reading to learn how you can best respond to the Brandeis supplemental essays!

A little history before we start…

Before you start on your Brandeis supplemental essays, it’s a good idea to get some background on how the school started. This way, you can tailor your responses to their mission and values.

Founded by Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the first Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis University is steeped in history. Since opening their doors in 1948, Brandeis has accomplished a lot. In 1961, Brandeis achieved Phi Beta Kappa accreditation, a prestigious honors society that began in 1776. Only 10 percent of colleges or universities ever receive this accreditation. In addition, Brandeis is home to the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The Heller School was one of the first educational institutions to make a connection between social policy and social welfare.  

The Brandeis prompts

Prompt #1

The Brandeis community is a diverse group of critical thinkers defined by their ability to dive deeper into their learning by questioning, analyzing, evaluating, creating, critiquing and seeking other perspectives. Share an example of how you have used your own critical thinking skills on a specific subject, project, idea or interest. (250 words max)

This prompt is a great chance to show Brandeis who you are by sharing a story about something important to you. However, with such a broad prompt, it can be challenging to know where to start.

So, let’s start simple by identifying a topic you want to share. This first prompt allows you to talk about more than just a topic. Rather, the prompt asks about a specific example. 

An important thing to note in this essay is that they specifically want to know about something that you learned about through critical thinking. Brandeis defines critical thinking for you in the prompt. Anything that causes you to ask questions, analyze, critique, or cause you to seek out more information involves critical thinking. 

Questions to consider

  • Was there a time that you could not stop working on a particular project due to a passion to “get it right?’
  • What is your “go to” activity that you have to pull yourself away from? Why do you engage as you do?
  • Have you had a “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” experience? Share it!

International students only prompt

Brandeis attracts students from many corners of the world. As an international student at Brandeis, how would you enrich the campus community? (250 words or fewer)

If you’re not an international student, then you don’t need to worry about answering this prompt. However, if you are an international student, this question is an important part of your application. You may want to roll your eyes about answering another prompt, but this can be a really great opportunity. You have not one, but two places where you can let the admissions department get to know you!

While this question should tell Brandeis more about you, it basically asks what you will bring to the university. The first thing you need to identify is how you’re going to add to the campus around you. This means you need to have knowledge of what resources they offer. 

Questions to consider 

  • Are there clubs/organizations you want to be a part of?
  • Do you plan to be involved in campus housing?
  • Are there campus jobs you plan to apply for?
  • Does your major offer specific research or internship opportunities that you intend to take advantage of?

After you’ve identified ways to be involved, you need to answer the second part of this question. Depending on what aspects of campus you want to be involved in, how is your involvement going to improve the campus community?

Questions to consider

  • Are there specific research topics you would like to propose be studied?
  • Do you want to be an RA in order to help other international students feel welcome?
  • Do you want a certain job on campus because it’s a place where you could provide real change and improve community?

By this point, you hopefully have done some basic research about Brandeis that, along with this article, gives you some direction for your response. Make sure that what you write is specific to the Brandeis prompts. A generic response won’t show them that you are excited about their school specifically! 

Remember, the admissions team is not asking for a detailed plan about how you’re going to fundamentally change campus. They want to see that you would be an engaged student who put authentic thought into applying to their college (which you clearly have done by reading this article!). 

Additional resources

Submitting your Brandeis supplemental essays might only be one of the many aspects you want help with on your college application journey. If that’s the case, look no further! We’ve got you covered with articles about how to create a successful application, how many colleges you should apply to and what to do after you’re done applying. 

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