Emory Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

September 12, 2023

emory supplemental essays

Emory’s 16% acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 came after they received approximately 33,000 applicants for admission, numbers that have held steady over the past several years. Whether applying to Emory College, Oxford College, or both, applicants to this prestigious Atlanta-based research university face an epically challenging admissions process ahead. Emory is a rare school where a 1500ish SAT and 3.9 GPA are often necessary, but not sufficient for admission. In addition, application components like the Emory supplemental essays need to be exceptionally well done.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Emory? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Emory University: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

The good news is that this school does ultimately admit over 5,000 students each year. If you have the academic chops, then getting into Emory is an achievable goal. However, you’ll need to make sure that you use the two supplemental essays to showcase your writing ability by generating powerful and detail-rich essays that will stand out to an admissions officer.

Emory Supplemental Essays Prompt 1 – Academic Interests

What academic areas are you interested in exploring at Emory University and why? (200 words)

We all have a story of what drives us to pursue a certain academic pathway and career. How did your interest initially develop? What was the spark? How have you nurtured this passion and how has it evolved over time? If you desire to go into engineering, for example, use this as a chance to talk about everything from your childhood fascination with how things work to your participation in an award-winning robotics program at your high school. Share a compelling narrative about how your love of your future area of study has blossomed to its present levels.

In addition to the above, Emory also wants to know why you desire to pursue your studies at their institution. Tie your passions into specific academic opportunities at Emory including courses, professors, hands-on research programs, or any other aspects of your desired major that appeal most to you. The more specific, the better.

Emory Supplemental Essays Prompt 2 – Getting to Know You

In addition, answer one of the following questions.  Your response should be no more than 150 words.

In the university’s own words, “We encourage you to be thoughtful in your responses and not stress about what the ‘right answer’ might be, as there really isn’t one.”

a) Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?

What is your favorite (or most thought-provoking) book, character, monologue, or piece of short fiction or nonfiction? Why do you identify with it? Is it the protagonist’s tenacity, empathy, sense of justice, big heart, humor, resilience, uncompromising integrity, loyalty, self-awareness, or courage? Is it the overall theme, topic, or life lesson? Use the 150 available words to explain the powerful connection you feel to your answer. If you go the song route, explain why you connect so deeply with the music and lyrics.

b) Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.

Some students may have more direct experiences related to cultural awareness than others. But—no matter your background—this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about justice and fairness in your local community as well as the global community. If applicable, speak about a time when you spoke up for a peer in a moment of need. Alternatively, you could describe an instance when you became involved in a larger cause or movement. This could be in the realm of politics, activism, or volunteer work.

If you don’t happen to have a deeply personal story to tell in this realm, you’ll probably want to select a different prompt. While there’s nothing wrong with simply articulating your basic beliefs in the values of inclusion, equity, tolerance, and diversity, it doesn’t necessarily make for the most compelling essay, particularly when the school is asking for a specific “experience.”

Emory Supplemental Essays (Continued)

c) Emory University aspires for all students to flourish on campus. Reflect on what flourishing at Emory means to you.

There’s a lot to unpack in this prompt before you even enter the brainstorming phase of the essay-writing process. First, they want to know a bit about what “flourishing” means to you. This could be:

  1. Degree-oriented
  2. Career-focused
  3. Personal
  4. A combination of two or all three of the previous options.

Does “flourishing” mean that you have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research? Or does it mean taking advantage of internship opportunities? Does it mean continuing your advocacy work with a specific population? Does it mean exposing yourself to new perspectives and viewpoints?

Next, you’ll want to take note of the fact that the prompt wants to know how you hope to flourish at Emory specifically (not just at college in general). As such, you should consider discussing Emory-specific offerings that reinforce your ideas and are distinct from those mentioned in the earlier “Academic Interests” prompt.  Such school-specific detail can take an essay from good to great.

Emory Supplemental Essays (Continued)

d) Emory University’s core mission calls for service to humanity. Share how you might personally contribute to this mission.

To truly understand where Emory is coming from with this question, one needs to look no further than the school’s own mission statement: “Emory University’s mission is to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.”

If you have been involved in some type of charitable/community service endeavor throughout your high school years, this is a great opportunity to speak about that venture in more detail. Looking forward, how might you continue the work you’ve been doing? You can also connect your aspirations in this realm to specific service opportunities that are available at Emory.

e) Emory University has a strong commitment to building community. Tell us about a community you have been part of where participation helped to change or shape the community for the better.

“Community” can be defined in myriad ways: it could be large-scale, like an ethnic, religious, or neighborhood community, or small-scale, like a group of individuals who gather for a club, sport, or service project.

Most applicants to Emory are involved in at least one “community.” You may be the captain of a team, the editor-in-chief of your school paper, a member of your town’s trail clean-up team… but don’t just rest on those laurels—instead, bring your involvement to life. Use your writing ability to show what type of community member you are rather than merely telling. What is your role within your chosen community? Within that role, how do you lead, guide, or interact with others? What have you learned and how have you grown? How have you positively impacted your chosen community? Strive for personal detail here rather than re-hashing your resume.

Emory Supplemental Essays (Continued)

f) Reflection is a central tenet of Emory University’s values. Craft a personal email giving advice to yourself in your first year of high school.

You know the old saying “Hindsight is 20/20”? Think about the transition to your freshman year of high school: What were you nervous or anxious about? What did you spend too much time thinking about? What didn’t you spend enough time thinking about? Is there anything you wish you had done or approached differently? Did you face any significant personal or academic obstacles? If any of those questions resonate, this could be a great prompt for you. Think about how you’ve grown and changed over the past four years, and what you’d tell fourteen-year-old you as a result. The goal here isn’t to lament your decisions or be hard on yourself, but instead to show the admissions committee that you’re thoughtful, self-compassionate, and capable of growth.

One piece of advice here: given the tight word count, don’t get too caught up in the “personal email” directive and spend too much valuable space on creative formatting.

How important are the Emory supplemental essays?

Emory views six factors as being “very important” to their applicant evaluation process. They are: the rigor of one’s coursework, the GPA earned, recommendations, character/personal qualities, extracurricular activities, and talent/ability. The essays are “important,” alongside standardized test scores and volunteer work.

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