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    How to Respond to the 2023-2024 George Washington University 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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    Updated: August 9th, 2023
    How to Respond to the 2023-2024 George Washington University Supplemental Essay Prompts

    The George Washington University supplemental essay prompts are in, and we’ve got all the tips you need to nail them on the head! Applying to a school located in our nation’s capital might seem a bit daunting, but don’t let that discourage you from giving it your all. Let’s jump in!

    Who they are

    According to their website, George Washington University is dedicated to helping their students become the best they can be in whatever field they choose. They offer degrees in liberal arts, business, engineering, international affairs and more. GWU’s mission is for students to cultivate a passion for the things they are learning and apply that knowledge to better the world around them. 

    Education means more than just learning in classrooms at George Washington University. Students also have the chance to participate in over 12,000 internships around the D.C. area, including internships with the White House, National Institutes of Health, and World Bank. Take a look at GWU’s notable alumni to see how their students are making a difference!

    Now, let’s jump into the supplemental essay prompts. George Washington University gives you two options to choose from. You only have to respond to one, so let’s read through both and see which one works best for you!

    Check out: How to write a 500 word essay

    Prompt #1

    At The George Washington University, our students frequently interact with policymakers and world leaders. These experiences and those of our alumni can shape the future of global affairs. If you had the power to change the course of history in your community or the world, what would you do and why? (500 words)

    Okay, George Washington University comes out swinging with their first supplemental essay prompt! They want to see you use critical thinking, while also applying your values, to come up with ideas for how you would change things about our world. That may seem like a lot, but we can break it down into three parts!

    Part one is defining a personal experience you can use for this question. This prompt is to help George Washington University get to know you better, so the more personal your answer, the better! So, let’s answer some questions about you first. 

    Questions to consider

    • Have you had any interactions with policy makers, government officials or world leaders of any kind?
    • What would you like to change about society, globally or locally? 
    • Are there any historical topics you especially enjoy or have spent time studying? 

    The questions above may not have highlighted a specific experience for you, but hopefully, they got you thinking. Building off a personal experience first and then tying that to a historical or social idea will help you shine through on your application.

    Part two of this question is about “bigger picture” ideas. This is where you’ll come up with a historical event, person, or social tie that you can link back to a personal experience. 

    Questions to consider

    • What choices, laws, policies, or leaders have impacted your life, locally or globally?
    • Have you, or those close to you, ever faced issues not because of laws, but because of stigmas in society or outdated views from history that still remain in society?  
    • Is there anything in your life that you recognize has happened, or been a result of, historical events? 

    For the final section of this prompt, think about values. If you haven’t spent any time on the George Washington University website, take some time now to read about their mission and values. 

    Questions to consider

    • How do we make choices differently knowing they will have an impact on more than just the current times?
    • What values do you think are important for a healthy society?
    • How do you uphold those values?

    It’s not just about seeing history and thinking about how you would change it now that you have a birds eye view. This prompt is highlighting that you are part of a generation that is also going to make long lasting decisions, policies, and laws, just like those who came before you. 

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    Prompt #2

    The George Washington University encourages students to think critically and to challenge the status quo. Thus, civil discourse is a key characteristic of our community. Describe a time when you engaged others in meaningful dialogue around an issue that was important to you. Did this exchange create change, new perspectives, or deeper relationships? (500 words)

    Prompt two isn’t all that different from the first in that you are asked to talk about similar themes, such as community, critical thinking and how your values apply. The great thing about this prompt is that you are asked to talk about personal experiences specifically. Let’s break this prompt into three parts as well!

    Once again, personal experience will be our starting point. Below are some questions that ask about where and when you may have had meaningful interaction with someone about important issues. 

    Questions to consider

    • Were you a part of any organizations or clubs in high school that dealt with social or school related issues?
    • Have there ever been times where you have challenged the status quo? 
    • What situations do you find yourself applying critical thinking to? 

    Instead of part two of this prompt asking for historical context, you get to provide context about your experience. Based on the personal experience you want to share, answer the questions below to give the reader of your essay some more context about the situation and who you are.

    Questions to consider

    • What social issue or status quo did your experience highlight?
    • What is your goal during your experience? Were you seeking to educate someone, learn more, build relationships? 
    • What brought about this experience? Was it planned, did it just come about? 

    Finally, for the last portion of this prompt, talk about the outcome and the impact. Note, that there doesn’t have to be a profound, positive impact for an experience to be meaningful. You may have had a really difficult conversation about race or gender with someone that left you feeling like nothing had changed, but that’s okay. Let’s take a look at our last set of questions for this article. 

    Questions to consider

    • What was the outcome of the experience you shared? 
    • How did it make you feel to discuss meaningful, impactful issues with someone?
    • How did your values push or influence you in your personal experience?

    Related: How to write a great college supplemental essay

    Wrapping up

    Regardless of which essay prompt you chose, you should have shared a personal experience of yours with George Washington University and how it tied to something bigger. There is no right or wrong answer to the questions asked. So, take a deep breath and know that you did your best!

    Additional resources

    Congratulations, you’ve finished responding to the George Washington University supplemental essay prompts! However, the work does not end here. The college application process involves a lot of different decisions, and we are here to help you through them.

    Whether you are deciding on how many colleges to apply to or whether to send your test scores to test-optional schools, we’ve got you covered. We can also help you decide what looks good on a college application, and offer some behind-the-scenes perspective on how decisions are made in the admissions office. Finally, check out our guide to reach, match, and safety schools, and our guide to the Common App essay prompts. Good luck!

    Other supplemental essay guides

    Frequently asked questions about the George Washington University supplemental essay prompts 

    Will submitting an optional supplemental essay help my George Washington University application?

    It certainly won’t hurt, and might help! Since you took the extra initiative to write an essay that is optional, that can be viewed as a positive sign that you really want to attend GWU. Most schools want to admit students who truly desire to attend their institution, so go for it!

    How many words should the GWU supplemental essay be?

    The optional supplemental essay should be up to 500 words, which is roughly two full pages double spaced.

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