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How to Respond to the University of Richmond Supplemental Essay Prompts

The University of Richmond supplement essay options are anything but mainstream. They offer you several prompts and a diverse array of topics to choose to respond to. Check out our article below to learn how to choose the prompt that is right for you!

A quick look at Richmond

It’s always good to know a bit about the school you’re applying to before you answer their supplemental essay prompts. So, let’s take a quick look at the University of Richmond before we move on! 

A lot of schools put an emphasis on community, but few deliver like Richmond does. At Richmond, over 90% of students live on campus until they graduate. During those four years, the University is committed to helping you grow academically and as an individual. It’s no wonder that the University of Richmond is ranked 9th in the nation for having the happiest students!

Richmond knows that because every student is different, their path to a degree will be different too. At Richmond, you can expect to find a community ready to support you in every area you wish to explore!

Now, let’s get started with the University of Richmond supplement essay!

Note: Although we have listed three prompts below, remember that students should only choose one from the list; you do not need to respond to all three!

Prompt #1

Tell us about the most unusual talent you have, and how you have made it useful. (350-650 words)

Okay, how many college applications have asked you this question? Probably not many. Richmond wants to get to know you through something unique. Colleges hear all kinds of responses about why students choose their major and their school, but that’s not the only way for them to get a sense of who you are. 

Have fun with this essay. There are no right or wrong answers. You may feel kind of silly writing out how you do a really great impression of a specific actor that you often use to break the ice with new people, but that’s exactly the type of answer they’re looking for. College applications are meant for a school to get to know you better, what better way to do that than through an unusual talent that’s also useful!

Prompt #2

Spiders are essential to the ecosystem. How are you essential to your community or will you be essential in your university community? (350-650 words)

Without some background information, this essay prompt sounds pretty random. Spiders? Did you read that right? The answer is, yes–you read that correctly! At Richmond, they take great pride in their mascot, the spider. Richmond is the only university in the nation to have such a creature represent their school and they want to show it off! 

With this prompt, they don’t just want to know what you contribute to your community, they want to know what you contribute that no one else does. But first, let’s look at the wording used. The word “essential” may make you discount some of the ways you contribute to your community. So, what things do you do that could be considered essential?

Thoughts to consider

  • Essential does not strictly mean something organized or that you participated in regularly
  • Essential tasks can include periodic services you performed for people on your own time, outside of an organization, or a combination of different things you did with all kinds of organizations 

The best way to choose how you’d like to answer is to think about what you want Richmond to know most about you. Consider the questions below to help you come up with ideas about things you have done that may have been essential, or things you’d like to do that will be essential, to your community. 

Questions to consider

  • Was there anyone you regularly helped in your community? 
  • Did you volunteer at any hospitals, churches, schools, or organizations?
  • Are there ways in which you haven’t had the chance to help your community, but would like to once you get to college?

Remember, you can talk about past experiences, or you can talk about things you plan to do in the future for this prompt. You can talk about the elderly neighbor you used to help carry groceries for each week, or about how you hope to volunteer with organizations that are local to campus! 

Check out: What are extracurricular activities and why do they matter?

Prompt #3

Please share one idea for actions or policies that you think would begin to address an issue of racial or social injustice. (350-650 words)

This prompt is definitely one that will stand out to some more than it will to others. If you read this and it does not stand out to you, that’s okay. Richmond gave you three supplemental essay options for this very reason. 

If, however, activism is something you feel passionate about, this is a great prompt to run with! This prompt doesn’t require you to talk about previous activism experience, which means if you don’t have any, that’s okay too. Maybe you just have some ideas you feel passionate about and want to share. If so, this is the place to do that! 

Questions to consider

  • Are there specific issues of racial or social injustice that your community faces?
  • Have you ever done any social justice work or participated in protests?
  • Do you feel like there are things that you want to do at your college to fight social and racial injustices?

Next steps

After finishing your University of Richmond supplement essay, you might be asking, “What’s next?” The college application process is a long and complex journey that involves a lot of big choices. We can help you through those choices with articles on how many colleges to apply to, what looks good on a college application, and whether you should send in your test results to test-optional schools.

Once you’ve got your applications submitted, take your time to do some research on other topics. Our article Top 25 Easy Scholarships to Apply For has plenty of scholarships to apply to while you wait. And if you need help with those applications, we’ve got you covered there too with our How to Write a Scholarship Resume article!

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