The Ivy Coach Daily

August 24, 2023

The Ultimate College Essay Guide: Prompts and Writing Tips

This is an iron gate at Harvard University, featuring an H.
Most of America’s top universities have released their supplemental essays for applicants to the Class of 2028.

When we at Ivy Coach hear the term “the college essay,” we instinctively roll our eyes because there is not one college essay. While The Common Application includes a Personal Statement that is submitted to every Common App.-subscribing school, most of America’s highly selective universities feature additional essays on their unique supplements — and these essays are just as critical as the Personal Statement.

Since many schools change their supplemental admissions essay prompts from year to year, especially this year after the Supreme Court struck down Affirmative Action in late June of 2023 (the essays are, in some ways, a legal loophole allowing colleges to consider a student’s background when weighing their case for admission), it’s hard to find all of the new prompts for America’s top colleges in one place. Until now, that is.

2023-2024 College Essay Prompts

Below, applicants to the Class of 2028, you’ll find this year’s essay prompts for America’s highly selective universities — directly from each school’s admissions office:

College/UniversityUS News 2023 Rank2023-2024 Supplemental College Essays
Princeton University#1Princeton Essays
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#2MIT Essays
Harvard University#3Harvard Essays
Stanford University#3Stanford Essays
Yale University#3Yale Essays
University of Chicago#6UChicago Essays
Johns Hopkins University#7Johns Hopkins Essay
University of Pennsylvania#7UPenn Essays
California Institute of Technology#9Caltech Essays
Duke University#10Duke Essays
Northwestern University#10Northwestern Essays
Dartmouth College#12Dartmouth Essays
Brown University#13Brown Essays
Vanderbilt University#13Vanderbilt Essays
Rice University#15Rice Essays
Washington University in St. Louis#15WashU Essays
Cornell University#17Cornell Essays
Columbia University#18Columbia Essays
University of Notre Dame#18Notre Dame Essays
University of California, Berkeley#20UC Berkeley Essays
University of California, Los Angeles#20UCLA Essays
Carnegie Mellon University#22Carnegie Mellon Essays
Emory University#22Emory Essays
Georgetown University#22Georgetown Essays
New York University#25NYU Essays
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor#25Michigan Essays
University of Virginia#25UVA Essays
University of Southern California#25USC Essays

How to Address the 2023-2024 College Essay Prompts

Below, you’ll find Ivy Coach’s tips on approaching the 2023-2024 supplemental essay prompts at America’s highly selective universities. If we haven’t yet posted our annual tips for a specific university, whose essays are hot off the presses, rest assured that it will be posted in short order.

College/UniversityUS News 2023 Rank2023-2024 Supplemental College Essays with Ivy Coach Tips
Princeton University#1Princeton Tips
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#2MIT Tips
Harvard University#3Harvard Tips
Stanford University#3Stanford Tips
Yale University#3Yale Tips
University of Chicago#6UChicago Tips
Johns Hopkins University#7Johns Hopkins Tips
University of Pennsylvania#7UPenn Tips
California Institute of Technology#9Caltech Tips
Duke University#10Duke Tips
Northwestern University#10Northwestern Tips
Dartmouth College#12Dartmouth Tips
Brown University#13Brown Tips
Vanderbilt University#13Vanderbilt Tips
Rice University#15Rice Tips
Washington University in St. Louis#15WashU Tips
Cornell University#17Cornell Tips
Columbia University#18Columbia Tips
University of Notre Dame#18Notre Dame Tips
University of California, Berkeley#20UC Berkeley Tips
University of California, Los Angeles#20UCLA Tips
Carnegie Mellon University#22Carnegie Mellon Tips
Emory University#22Emory Tips
Georgetown University#22Georgetown Tips
New York University#25NYU Tips
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor#25Michigan Tips
University of Virginia#25UVA Tips
University of Southern California#25USC Tips

Ivy Coach’s Assistance Tackling the 2023-2024 College Essays

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission to America’s highly selective universities by submitting compelling narratives, fill out Ivy Coach’s consultation form, and we’ll respond by outlining our college counseling service offerings for seniors.

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