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How to Respond to the University of Colorado Boulder Supplemental Essays 2022/2023

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research institution that focuses on aerospace, biosciences, energy, environmental sciences, and other major areas. If you are interested in becoming a Colorado Buffalo, it’s time to get to work on your University of Colorado Boulder supplemental essays! Writing stellar essays will help you stand out among all the applicants, so keep reading to learn how! 

The University of Colorado Boulder prompts 

Research and innovation are a huge part of their identity. Before you begin writing the essay prompts, read Colorado Boulder’s strategic plan to learn more about them. This will help you tie your future plans with theirs. They want to know how you will fit in and push the University forward. 

The two supplemental essay prompts have a word limit of 250 words. It may be helpful to write a rough draft without a word limit first. Then, highlight all of your strongest points made and re-write a shorter version. 

Prompt #1 

At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance. (250 words)

This is a “get to know you” prompt. The University of Colorado Boulder wants to know how well you would fit into their community. Write about the qualities that show who you are to the world. Think of what you will bring to their table if admitted.

Start by writing down a list of all the different communities (school, volunteering, work) that you are presently a member of. Then, think how you fit into each one and ask yourself: 

  • Where do you stand out as a person? 
  • Do you have a unique role in a certain community? 
  • What community highlights my best qualities? 

Next, choose the identity you’d like to share in your essay. Choose what CU Boulder community you might contribute to. Choose the community that best shows your attributes, skills, and values that you will bring to the university. You may even want to write more about more than one and show how they connect. 

Show the University of Colorado Boulder what you look like in your chosen community. Perhaps you are a first generation college student who plans to join the First-Generation Scholars Program at CU Boulder.  Why do you belong  there and what makes this community special to you? Begin expanding on this role by thinking of how you fit in. 

Prompt #2

Please share a bit more about your academic interests. What do you hope to study at CU Boulder? What has inspired your interests in this area? Or if you are undecided, what area(s) of study are you considering? Think about your prior/current coursework, extracurricular activities, work/volunteer experiences, future goals, or anything else that has shaped your interests. (250 words)

Think of this prompt as a two-part question. Why did you choose your major? Why did you choose their college? Dedicate roughly half the essay to explaining why you’re interested in pursuing a degree in your major and the other half explaining why you’d like to get that degree at Colorado Boulder.

Questions to consider:

  1. What inspired your interest in the major?
  2. How will Colorado Boulder tie into your future career plans?
  3. What will you bring to the table? 

Why your major?

Write about what you’ve done thus far that relates to your major of interest. Include clubs, classes, summer programs, etc. If someone special  inspired you, write about conversations you’ve had with them or speeches you’ve attended. 

Dig deep into how you will contribute to this career field. Write about the area you’d like to concentrate in and how you envision your future work. Lastly, write about how the University will further your specific interests to begin merging the two questions for this essay prompt. 

Why Colorado Boulder University?

Imagine you are already enrolled. Visualize what your experience would look like attending their college. Include ways you will attribute to Colorado Boulder. Write about how you would better their community. 

Spend some time researching Colorado Boulder to learn more about how you would fit in. 

Include their specific programs, classes, and learning techniques in your essay that tie your future career plan to your journey to get your degree. 

Think of ways you have contributed to your high school or outside programs and write how you will continue to show these attributions on campus. Don’t only tell them, show them through examples.

See also: College essay primer: Show, don’t tell

Writing tips:

  • Use specific examples of experiences that show your role in the community. At what point did you look around and feel you belong? How has this role shaped you? Get personal. Write about how your role there made a difference. What conflict did you encounter and how was it resolved? You want to make the essay as visual as possible. 
  • Try not to repeat what you wrote on other statements in the application process. You want to share as many qualities as you can with the reader.
  • Sit down and just write. Don’t worry about the word limit on your first draft. Write everything that comes to mind involving your portrayed community. Then, choose your favorite details and re-write a shorter draft. 
  • Connect the skills and values you are writing of with those of  the university. Do they have a similar community that you’d like to join?
  • Be direct. Use powerful sentences that show confidence in yourself throughout the essay. 

Final thoughts for students

When all is said and done, the University of Colorado Boulder supplemental essays are relatively straightforward. Try not to overthink when you begin writing. Your best bet is to write a rough draft without a  word limit. Show your best qualities and skills through examples and write of how you will continue to use them at college. These tips will help you write essays that stand out to Colorado Boulder University. 

Additional resources