Tulane University Essay Prompts and Tips
If you blinked at some point during the 2010s, you may have missed Tulane’s meteoric rise in selectivity that resulted in a sub-10% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025. Yet, today, this mid-size private research university in New Orleans is among the most selective schools in the country. The average incoming freshman possesses 95th percentile standardized test scores and a strong academic transcript.
(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Tulane? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Tulane University: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)
When applying to an institution like Tulane that rejects nine of every ten applicants, you’ll need to put maximum effort into every area of the application, including the three supplemental essays. Below are Tulane University’s two required and one optional supplemental prompts for the 2021-22 admissions cycle along with our advice for composing a winning essay.
Tulane Essay Prompt #1 (Required)
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 words)
Tulane is not necessarily asking you to write about the activity where you earned the most prestigious awards or held the highest position of leadership. The university is going to see all of your activities in that section of the Common App. As such, you want to ask yourself which of your entries is crying out for more explanation and detail? Which one is closest to your heart and most representative of your unique passions? Pick the option that will allow you to deliver additional detail that may be memorable to the admissions reader. Start this process by asking yourself, “What is the most interesting and consequential moment that I have experienced in one of my extracurricular activities?” If you can identify one clear-cut moment, that is likely the activity worth sharing with the Tulane admissions staff.
Tulane Essay Prompt #2 (Required)
Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University. (50-800 words)
Tulane wants to know about the academic discipline in which you are interested and why you desire to pursue your studies at their institution. With up to 800 words at your disposal, you’ll have all the real estate you need to make a detailed and compelling case for why Tulane is the perfect school for you.
In general, make sure to:
- Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc.
- Address both a) why Tulane is the perfect fit for you and b) why you are the perfect fit for Tulane.
- Explain how you will take advantage of the university’s immense resources both inside and outside of the classroom.
Examples of items that quality “Why Tulane?” essays touch upon include:
- Tulane’s great track record with facilitating community service opportunities.
- The 60+ Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminar topics available.
- The small class size—94% of classes have fewer than 50 students.
- An 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
- Desire to participate in some of the 200 student-led organizations on campus.
- The geographic diversity on campus—85% come to the school from over 300 miles away.
- 110 study abroad programs in 40+ countries.
Tulane Essay Prompt #3 (Optional)
Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here. (50-800 words)
While this one is technically “optional”, we advise every single applicant to Tulane to go ahead and complete this essay. Remember, Tulane is one of those rare schools that rejects 90+% of those who apply. Therefore, it is essential that you showcase the characteristics and skills that make you one-of-a-kind.
Take note of the wide-open nature of this prompt. Breaking it down, you are invited to talk about any of the following topics:
- A perspective related to family.
- An experience or point of view related to a cultural group.
- A perspective related to a sexual/gender identity.
- The influence of a religious group.
- Any other community experience that has shaped your identity.
The admissions officer reading your essay is hoping to connect with you through your written words, so be open, humble, thoughtful, inquisitive, emotionally honest, mature, and insightful. No matter what type of story you tell, the goal is to have the reader come away saying, “I can definitely see this applicant as a contributing member of our talented and engaged student community.”
How important are the essays at Tulane University?
Tulane lists four factors as being “very important” to the admissions committee: GPA, standardized test scores, class rank, and the rigor of your secondary school record. The Common App and supplemental essays are included in the next tier of “important” factors alongside recommendations and character/personal qualities.
Want Personalized Essay Assistance?
If you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Tulane supplement, we encourage you to get a quote today.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).