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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Washington University in St. Louis Supplemental Essay Prompt

Be sure to pack your snowsuit because Washington University is located in St. Louis, Missouri! The acceptance rate at this private research university is about 13%, which means that it’s imperative to make your application stand out. One of the ways applicants can do that is by writing WashU supplemental essays. Continue reading below to get tips on how to start!

The Washington University supplemental essay prompts 

The WashU supplemental essays are an optional component of your application but they can be very beneficial. Supplemental essays are the first opportunity for the admission committee to learn about you and your personality to evaluate if you’re a good fit for their university. 

It’s also important to leave a lasting impression early on, so that you can stand out from other applicants. The WashU admissions office wants to know who you are, so be sure to let loose!

Prompt #1

“Describe a fresh perspective or opinion you brought to a collaborative setting or project.” (250 words max.)

WashU values diverse perspectives amongst their student body, which means you can really open up with this prompt! Everyone has opinions, so there’s no shortage of individuality that can come from this prompt. 

Try to stay away from general opinions since they might not really give an accurate reflection of who you are. Instead, think about opinions that you stand behind strongly that align with WashU’s mission or opinion-led debates that you might be on the opposing side of. 

Questions to consider: 

  • How is this perspective unique?
  • Who or what caused you to have this opinion? 
  • How might you relate this to WashU?

Prompt #2

“Describe a community you’re a part of and your place in it.” (250 words max.)

While you might not realize it, the communities we’re a part of contribute a lot to our values and ideas. Hence why WashU wants to know about one in your life, so don’t be afraid to tell what it’s taught you!

Applicants should also explain how they would be a positive addition to the community as a WashU undergraduate. You’ll be joining a freshmen class if you’re accepted, so maybe take a portion of your essay to highlight what that means to you. 

Questions to consider:

  • Can others relate to the community you’re a part of?
  • Do you get a feeling of belonging in this community? Why or why not?
  • What part will you play in the WashU community?

Prompt #3

“Tell us how your life experiences have impacted the way you view or interact with your community.” (250 words max.)

As humans, our lives are formed by large and small life experiences. Think of the core memories that you have, and try to choose one that set you on your course toward college. 

Did a treasured mentor give you a book? Has your family overcome obstacles and came out on top? 

All of these could be a topic for your essay, but be sure to explain how it relates to WashU. Highlight ways you might use that experience on their campus or how it might lead to you forming new ones. 

Questions to consider:

  • What have been some formative experiences in your life?
  • What makes this experience special to you? 
  • How can this experience relate to your future?

Optional video submission

Students may also submit an optional 90-second video submitted through the WashU Pathway website addressing one of the three questions above. Also, students are allowed to submit a written response to one of these questions and still submit an optional video as well. Check out our tips on how to create a college video response before you set started!

Next steps for applicants

Congratulations, you’ve got your WashU supplemental essays out of the way! You’re probably wondering what the next steps are on your educational journey.

Well, one of the first things to get started on is the optional WashU virtual interview or 90-second video. Taking the time to do this activity will further demonstrate your interest in attending WashU and improve your application.

Be sure to stay on top of your financial aid packages as well. The scholarships and aid that colleges offer is dependent on the information on your FAFSA and CSS Profile, so fill them out as soon as possible. 

Writing tips

Writing supplemental essays is a craft in itself. So, be sure to catch the reader’s attention early on and mention the most important key details first. Building an outline before you start writing can help you organize your thoughts and discuss all the main points of your supplemental essay. 

That’s why we have guides to help you through the process. Make sure to check out our guides to 250 and 500 word essays, writing about yourself, and answering the Common App essay prompts. Be sure also to check out our “Show, Don’t Tell” college essay primer as well as our tips on how to create a college video response

Additional resources

College can be a new beginning, and it’s important to have as many tips and tricks under your belt as possible. Here’s a few Scholarships360 resources that can help make your transition to college easier. 

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