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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Emory Supplemental Essay Prompts

By Cait Williams

Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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Reviewed by Bill Jack

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: November 2nd, 2023
How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Emory Supplemental Essay Prompts

Emory University is one of the country’s leading liberal arts research schools. If you are hoping to gain admission to Emory, it’s a good idea to focus on acing your Emory supplemental essays. Emory requires each student to write a 200-word essay on what academic areas interest them. For the second essay of 150 words, students can choose their topic from six prompts. We will help you stand out with your responses and identify the prompt best suited for your story. Let’s begin!  

Prompt #1

What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college? (200 words)

This prompt is pretty common as far as supplemental essays go. Beyond indicating your intended major, schools want to know why you are drawn to that subject. A solid way to organize your response is to start by describing your academic interest. Think of when your curiosity with the topic first began. What story can you provide to invite readers in and make it personal? 

Next, discuss the ways you have pursued this interest since. Did you start a club in high school centered around this topic? Have you shadowed anyone who also does what you’re interested in? Does your high school coursework reflect this interest? 

Finally, connect this passion to Emory. What about this school will help you accomplish your goals in this academic field? Is it a class? A certain professor? Internship opportunities? In addition to connecting Emory to yourself, this section can help an admissions counselor know that you have done your research, that Emory is not just a random school you picked, but rather one that you have heavily invested in getting into. 

Also see: Top 15 college majors for the future

The “Getting to Know You” short answer section

For this section of the Emory application, you will be allowed to choose to respond to any one of the following prompts in 150 words. 

1. Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why? (150 words)

Any piece of media is on the table here. Select something that is emblematic of a key piece of your identity. Your chosen work should be genuinely meaningful to you! Have fun with this question! You can use the questions below to get some ideas flowing! 

Questions to consider: 

  • Is there a character from a book or movie that you can relate to? 
  • If you had to write your biography, what famous quotes or writings would you draw on?
  • Is there a book, song, or tv show that you routinely go to for comfort/entertainment/inspiration? 

2. Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness (150 words)

When have you taken educating yourself and broadening your perspective into your own hands? The admissions team wants to hear about it! 

You could write about a current event that sparked your curiosity and pushed you to learn more, a time that you learned about another culture before traveling there, a historical event that you learned about and moved you to learn more, or anything you can think of really. The point of this question is to speak about intentionality. Good students don’t just let what they learn wash over them, they are intentional and colleges want to see that you have exemplified that. 

Questions to consider: 

  • When did you realize your ignorance about a social issue and took steps to address it?
  • Have you ever exposed yourself to people of a different cultural, socioeconomic, religious, etc. background? 
  • What tough conversations have you had to initiate in order to gain greater awareness? 

3. Emory University aspires for all students to flourish on campus. Reflect on what flourishing at Emory means to you. (150 words)

This is a great question to answer because there are no right or wrong answers! Emory wants to know what flourishing looks like to you. This may mean partaking in clubs and activities during your first year, making stellar grades, or a mix of several things. Take some time to assess for yourself what flourishing means to you!

4. Emory University’s unique mission calls for service to humanity. Share how you might personally contribute to this mission of service to humanity. (150 words)

If you’ve spent any time in high school volunteering or giving back to your community in other ways, then this might be a great question for you to answer. If you know of a specific organization you’d like to volunteer with on campus, this might also be a good place to speak about that. Be careful with being too vague with this question. Your answer should be specific to show that this isn’t just something you’ve thought about in theory, but also something you’ve made actual steps toward working towards. 

5. Emory University has a strong commitment to building community. Tell us about a community that you have been part of where your participation helped to change or shape the community for the better. (150 words)

This is a question that you should only answer if you have a strong answer to it. That being said, the community you may have been impactful in does not need to be a big one. Maybe you were very influential in a club that you participated in at your high school, a sport either at your school or in your community. Take some time to think about the communities you are a part of, big or small, reflect on the impact that you have had on them and that they have had on you. 

6. Reflection is a central tenet of Emory University’s values. Craft a personal email providing advice to yourself in your first year of high school. (150 words)

This prompt is one that you can certainly have fun with! Take some time to reflect on this question. There is no right or wrong answer, but it certainly will be noticeable which students put thought into this question and which did not. Think about how you’ve grown and matured since the start of high school, as during college you will likely also experience a tremendous amount of growing and maturing.

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Summing up the Emory supplemental essays

Phew! We made it through all of the prompts for your Emory supplemental essays. Fortunately, you only have to select one of the last six. We recommend choosing a few questions that stick out to you and brainstorming ideas for each. Land on the prompt that you believe best conveys your core attributes. Also consider which prompt most lends itself to a unique response. 200 words and 150 words are tricky word limits. We recommend you get your thoughts down, no matter the length. You can cut them down later to share your powerful story succinctly!  

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Emory only has two required supplemental essay prompts
  • For the second prompt, make sure you take time reading through all of your options before choosing one
  • Be sure to use some additional resources from our website as well to help you write the best application possible
  • For more help with your application, you can also check out some of our top ten tips for a successful application
Key Takeaways

Other supplemental essay guides

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