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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Howard University Supplemental Questions

Attending a historically Black college or university(HBCU) offers the opportunity to experience a unique learning environment that promotes diversity. One of the most well-known HBCUs in the United States is Howard University. With a competitive 35% acceptance rate, students applying to Howard need compelling supplemental essays and the grades to match to gain admission. 

Keep reading to learn how to wow the admissions office with the best essay possible!

First, a little about Howard University

Established in 1867, Howard University is located in Washington, DC. Since its founding, Howard has awarded over 100,000 degrees in a broad range of fields. Known as a “comprehensive predominantly Black university,” Howard University graduates top Black professionals who major in architecture, dentistry, education, engineering, law, medicine, music, nursing, pharmacy, religion, and social work

In addition to its impressive academic reputation, Howard university competes in a total of 19 varsity sports. Before diving into the prompt below, take some time to read about the unique history of Howard University. 

Prompt #1

“Diversity of all kinds is important to enriching the educational experience at Howard University. Please share with us anything in your background or lived experience that has shaped your perspectives and how that would contribute to the classroom and community at Howard.” (500 words max)

As an HBCU, approaching this prompt from a perspective of a person of color can be extremely helpful as that’s a shared experience on campus. However, this can become a popular focus for an essay, so you might want to pick other experiences that have shaped you such as a treasured mentorship or a unique hardship you hope to overcome or have already overcome. 

Try to relate this experience to Howard, whether by connecting a value you’ve learned or an activity that Howard currently has. Don’t forget to be creative and add your own personal flair to your essay. Remember, the reader probably already read your resume, so this essay is a chance to show what makes you the unique person you are!

Questions to consider:

  • How does this experience relate to what you hope to achieve at Howard?
  • What does your experience say about you?
  • Is this experience unique to you or can other people relate?

Prompt #2

“Please describe the major you intend to study and how you hope to use your Howard education to support you in achieving your passions and goals. Please address your first-choice and second-choice major selections.” (500 words max)

This prompt is relatively straightforward. Howard is looking for the reasoning behind your passion for a certain major, and what you hope to achieve after graduation. The admissions office uses this prompt to get to know you and how you’ll fit into the degree program you’re applying for. 


Be sure to include how Howard is instrumental in those pursuits and unique characteristics about the desired degree program. You can even include sentences about your interests in specific classes Howard offers or other student resources. 

Questions to consider:

  • What career field do you want to work in?
  • What major would interest you the most and why?
  • What’s unique about Howard that makes you want to study your desired major there?

Final thoughts for applicants

Now that you’re finishing up your application, it’s important to keep some things in mind. Your supplemental essay is significant, even if it’s optional, so you should take time to edit it. Ask your peers or teachers to look over your essay to help pinpoint run-on sentences or errors in grammar and spelling. 

Also, while you’re waiting for your notification date, you should make sure all your financial aid forms are submitted to your schools of choice. Ideally, you should get your FAFSA and CSS Profile in as soon as possible to maximize your financial aid package. 

Additional resources

Now you’ve got some great tools to write your Howard University supplemental essay! Just in case you need a few more tips, learning about the impact of extracurricular activities might help you with the Howard University prompt. 

Need to learn some tips on how to start your college admissions essay? We have you covered! Check out our supplemental essay guides for any other schools you might be applying to. Best of luck with your applications, and don’t forget to apply for all the scholarships you qualify for!

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