The University of Virginia announced yesterday that essay prompts for fall 2018 applicants will be looking very very similar to those in previous years, with only a few minor tweaks to keep things interesting.
“I share our essay prompts for next year each June with the hopes that we’ll give you plenty of time to think about which one is right for you,” explained Jeannine Lalonde, “Dean J” of the UVa Admissions Blog. “If you are thinking about writing your essays this early, I hope you’ll revisit them before you actually submit an application. It’s amazing how much can change in a few months.”
In addition to a personal statement required of all UVa applicants, students will be asked to write two short responses to prompts provided in the member-specific section of the application.
As in past years, UVa is “looking for passionate students” to join a “diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.” Prospective “Hoos” are asked to answer in approximately 250 words one of a series of questions corresponding to the school/program to which they are applying:
- College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
- School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?
- Kinesiology Program: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
- School of Nursing: School of Nursing applicants may have experience shadowing, volunteering, or working in a health care environment. Tell us about a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.
- School of Architecture: Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
For the second essay, applicants are asked to pick one of four questions to answer in a half page or roughly 250 words:
- What’s your favorite word and why?
- We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
- Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
- UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
UVa joined the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success in September of 2015 and may offer that application as an option for this fall, in addition to the Common Application. Both platforms have already posted their personal statement prompts. Although the questions are very similar, it’s worth noting that while the Common App word count is between 250 and 650 words, the Coalition “strongly recommends” that personal statements stay within 500 to 550 words.
And in the college admissions world, it’s wise to take these kinds of recommendations very seriously!