The Ivy Coach Daily

September 10, 2023

2023-2024 Emory University Supplemental Essay Prompts

A student reads on a lawn in front of a white building at Emory University.
Emory University has published its essays for applicants to the Class of 2028.

Emory University has released its supplemental essay prompts for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. In addition to The Common Application’s Personal Statement, applicants to Emory’s Class of 2028 are asked to respond to two 150-word short-answer essay prompts. So, what are this year’s prompts? Let’s dive in!

2023-2024 Emory University Essay Topics and Questions

Academic Interests Essay

It’s recommended that students write about 150 words to respond to the first prompt, which is required:

What academic areas are you interested in exploring at Emory University and why?

This prompt is a hybrid question: Why Major and Why College. For the first part of the essay prompt, it would behoove applicants to articulate to Emory’s admissions committee why they wish to study what they wish to study by sharing the origin story of their interest in this discipline. The origin story should always take place during a candidate’s high school years. Too often, students focus on stories that stem from their childhood.

For the second part of the essay prompt, it’s all about capturing specifics about why Emory is the place to pursue this course of study. Too many applicants choose to name-drop professors and list classes in Why College essay prompts when they should instead capture the enduring specifics of a course of study at a school — the research, the programs and institutes, the design of the curriculum, and more. If a sentence in this second half of the essay can apply to another school, it should be deleted.

Getting to Know You Essay Prompts

Applicants must also write a response to one of the following six essay prompts in a recommended length of 150 words.

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

We would always prefer students showcase their intellectual curiosity in a short answer like this one. As such, choosing to write about a book (one that ideally is not required reading in classrooms around the world) is always preferred to choosing a song, film, or television series. Wouldn’t it be nice to showcase to Emory’s admissions committee that an applicant reads for pleasure?

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

Emory’s admissions committee wants to see that applicants have convictions but are also malleable to changing those convictions when presented with differing viewpoints. That’s the beauty of attending a school with a liberal arts curriculum and a diverse student body like Emory. The anecdote an applicant shares in this response should thus showcase the student’s intellectual curiosity as well as open mind.

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

For this short answer, students can write about virtually anything, though — again — it would behoove them to tell a story highlighting their intellectual curiosity. It could be flourishing through an activity. It could be flourishing through reading an entire shelf of literature on a hot summer afternoon. 

4. Emory University’s unique mission calls for service to humanity. Share how you might personally contribute to this mission of service to humanity.

Too many college applicants feature activities in their Common Application activities section that make it seem like they’re trying to impress admissions officers with what good citizens they are. Too many college applicants think that by volunteering for a lot of hours, it’ll showcase their humanity. But that’s simply not how elite college admissions works. Admissions officers want to see a depth of involvement related to a student’s hook. If a student is interested in political science, let’s see how they serve their community by addressing unlevel sidewalks on the streets of their town.

In short, in this answer, it would behoove applicants to tell a small story here — ideally backed up with an activity in their activities section — that shows how they’re acting locally, even if they are thinking globally. 

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

Here’s Emory’s community essay. In the wake of the United States Supreme Court ruling outlawing Affirmative Action, many universities included community or background questions on this year’s application — to capitalize on the loophole Chief Justice John Roberts penned in the majority opinion.

In that opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”

Students need not be underrepresented minorities to answer this essay prompt. They can instead focus on their faith, hometown, fellow mathematicians, or just about anything so long as they showcase small moves they made to make these groups they consider community stronger.

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

This essay offers applicants an opportunity to showcase how they hope to contribute to Emory during their first year. While it’s not a Why Emory essay, it’s a chance to pepper in some specifics that applicants didn’t get to include in the first essay, which focused more on academics at Emory. For this essay, as an example, applicants could instead concentrate on extracurriculars or school traditions. 

Ideally, applicants will highlight how they’re contributing the singular hook they’ve hopefully expressed on their application — rather than well-roundedness — to clarify to Emory’s admissions committee how they’ll make Emory stronger.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Emory Essays

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission to Emory, complete Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our college counseling services for applicants to the Class of 2028.

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