2023-24 NC State Supplemental Essays – Prompts and Tips

September 8, 2023

nc state supplemental essays

Situated in the state capital of Raleigh, North Carolina State University is a stellar public research institution that attracts droves of high school stars from around the country. Known for its standout STEM and business programs, NC State rejects more applicants than it accepts. Further, the average enrolled student has 90th percentile SAT/ACT scores and a near-perfect GPA. Undoubtedly, it is accurate to say that NC State is significantly more selective than it was a generation ago. This brings us to the subject of the NC State supplemental essays.

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

NC State’s 250-word essay prompt is “important” to the admissions process. Therefore, it is vital that all Wolfpack applicants dedicate a significant amount of time to this short answer question. Below are NC State’s supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with our advice for composing winning essays.

2023-2024 North Carolina State University Essay Questions

1) Explain why you selected the academic program(s) above and why you are interested in studying these at NC State (250 words).

This is part “Why Us?” and part “Explain Your Major”. Ultimately, your aim is to seamlessly touch on both topics in a tightly-woven 250-word composition. For a deeper dive, let’s examine a list of characteristics of a winning NC State supplemental essay:

  • Discuss the experiences, opportunities, interests, and/or activities (formal or informal) that led you to select your academic program of choice.
  • Demonstrate how your goals align with the school’s mission statement. “NC State will be known as a diverse, equitable and inclusive community that has a transformative impact on society and advances the greater good.”
  • Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc.
  • How will you be an active, contributing member of the academic community at NC State?
  • How will you take advantage of NC State’s immense resources both inside and outside of the classroom?
  • Explain why NC State is an ideal-fit institution.

In any “Why Us?” composition, you need to show that you’ve done your homework on a given school. However, it shouldn’t read like you just Googled everything ten minutes before writing the essay. In addition to the pure research element, a lot of the time and skill required in creating a stellar NC State essay will involve connecting the classes, professors, opportunities, etc. of interest that you have uncovered to your distinct values, talents, aims, proficiencies, and future goals.

NC State Supplemental Essays (Continued)

2) Discuss any other obstacles and/or hardships that you have encountered that have affected you personally or academically and how you dealt with them (250 words).

This prompt is optional (truly)—you should only respond if you faced a significant hardship or obstacle that has not been discussed elsewhere on the application.

If you do elect to respond to this prompt, colleges like students who demonstrate grit, perseverance, and resilience as these qualities typically lead to success in a postsecondary environment. No matter what type of example you offer, demonstrating these admirable traits can do wonders for your admissions prospects. Examples of challenges include: disabilities, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Alternatively, it could be a tumultuous event. For example, you moved in the middle of junior year, the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with your activities, your parents got divorced, a grandparent passed away, or any number of other personal/family traumas one can name. Be as emotionally honest and nuanced as possible. Trust us—the reader will appreciate your honest thoughts more than clichés and platitudes.

3) NC State University is committed to building a just and inclusive community, one that does not tolerate unjust or inhumane treatment, and that denounces it, clearly and loudly. Please describe what those words mean to you and how you will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive NC State environment (250 words).

Some students may have more direct experience with injustice than others. Yet—no matter your background—this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about justice and fairness. Further, you care about inclusiveness in your local community as well as the global community. You could speak about a time when you spoke up for a peer in a moment of need. Alternatively, you could recount an instance when you got involved in a larger cause or movement (politics, activism, volunteer work). If you don’t happen to have a compelling story to tell in this realm, don’t panic. There’s nothing wrong with simply articulating your basic beliefs in the values of inclusion, equity, tolerance, and diversity. Elaborate on how those will manifest once you join the Wolfpack student body.

How important are the NC State supplemental essays?

The essays (both the Common App essay and supplemental essays) are “important” to the NC State admissions committee. This places them as the fifth most important factor. The essays are behind only GPA, class rank, standardized test scores, and the rigor of your secondary school record.

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