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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Macalester College Essay Prompts 

Macalester College is a private liberal arts college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Macalester is known as one of the “Hidden Ivies” because it provides students with an education that compares to that of an Ivy League institution. Knowing exactly how to respond to college essay prompts might seem intimidating at first, but fear not! We have you covered with everything you need to know about how to write your Macalester College supplemental essays.

The Macalester College essay prompts

It is important to note that each of Macalester’s supplemental essays are optional, but writing one or more is a great way to showcase your writing skills, to demonstrate your interest, and let the college get to know you as a person beyond a list of accomplishments and grades. 

We will walk you through each prompt and break down the questions step by step. Let’s get started!

Prompt #1

Macalester is one of few highly selective liberal arts colleges located in the middle of a metropolitan area. Students benefit from the strong sense of community on campus and opportunities to engage in academic, social, and civic engagement options in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Have you thought about how Macalester’s location might impact your experience? If so, in what ways? (500 words)

Right out the gate, Macalester wants to know how you will use your environment to help you in your studies and beyond. So what really are they asking of you? First of all, start off with why you picked this college to apply to. If location was a factor, write about why. If not, you might want to look into the other two prompts before starting on this one. This could be a great prompt for individuals who have a specific major that would benefit from living near a city like Minneapolis or Saint Paul. 

If you are thinking about majors such as:

  • Political Science, St. Paul is the state capital
  • Economics, with many corporate offices stationed in Minneapolis (Target being one!)
  • Art, with so many options for museums and galleries in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis is a great city for so many college majors, so show admissions that with examples relevant to you. Saint Paul would be another great urban setting for someone who wants to go into sociology or urban planning, or maybe even architecture.

Even if your major is not the reason Macalester’s location interests you, there are other elements of the prompt you can address here. Maybe you are drawn to Macalester for its small enrollment. If so, you could talk about how you are interested in a close knit community and that Macalester’s location allows you to experience that environment while also giving you access to a metropolitan area. Be sure to talk about how YOU would benefit from both the campus community and the opportunities in the Twin Cities.

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Prompt #2

“Four values permeate Macalester’s mission and purpose: academic distinction, internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. Guided by this mission, Macalester is a learning environment that affirms different identities and experiences and prepares graduates to work toward a more just and peaceful world. In what ways do your lived experiences, perspectives, or hopes for your college education connect with Macalester’s mission/learning environment?”

In order to successfully answer this prompt, try to think about any experiences that have had a significant impact on your life and made your perspective unique. Ultimately, they want to see that future students have a diverse background that can contribute to their mission and purpose. So, try to brainstorm aspects of your background or identity that mean a lot to you and that you are hoping to bring to your new Macalester community. Remember, it’s important to show, not tell! Sharing an anecdote is the best way to bring a story to life! Most importantly, be sure that you do not use this space as an opportunity to discriminate against other communities and identities! You should not put others down in order to make your story heard! 

Questions to consider: 

  • How do you value academic distinction, internationalism, multiculturalism and service to society? What are some specific examples?
  • What can you teach others about a certain culture, identity, ethnicity or community service that may introduce them to new ideas? 
  • How do you hope to influence your Macalester community? 

Don’t miss: How to write a 500 word essay

Closing thoughts on the Macalester College Essay Prompts

Once you have completed your Macalester College supplemental essays- congratulations! Be sure to read over your responses and have a trusted adult or friend read them over for you. Remember, you want to be submitting a flawless essay that puts your best foot forward! 

Make sure you do not repeat any information throughout your responses and that you are revealing new information throughout your application so admissions officers get a well-rounded idea of “you!” Ultimately, being authentic and unique is all Macalester is asking students to reveal in their supplemental essays. 

Best of luck in the rest of your college admissions journey! 

Don’t miss: How to answer this year’s Common App essay prompts

Additional resources

We have a plethora of additional resources that you can use throughout your college search and even after you have found your home for the next four years. Check out our guide on how many schools to apply to, and how to find a good assortment of safety, reach, and match schools. And don’t miss out on our guide to what looks good on a college application to maximize your admissions chances. Good luck on the rest of your collegiate journey, and don’t forget to apply to all the scholarships you qualify for! 

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