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Stanford University’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley provides unparalleled access to innovation, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge technology. Stanford's close ties to industry leaders and the vibrant startup culture foster a dynamic environment for students, and its interdisciplinary approach to education allows students to explore diverse fields and encourages collaboration across disciplines. The university's commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community is reflected in initiatives such as the Stanford First-Generation and/or Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) and the Diversity and First-Gen Office. Additionally, Stanford's emphasis on experiential learning through programs like the Bing Overseas Studies Program and Stanford in Washington offers students unique opportunities for global immersion and real-world experiences.


The Stanford University supplemental essays delve into various aspects of an applicant's life, such as their intellectual curiosity, personal interests, extracurricular involvements, and aspirations. The prompts encourage self-reflection, creativity, and critical thinking, inviting applicants to share their stories, values, and motivations. Through these essays, Stanford aims to gain insights into an applicant's character, passions, and potential contributions to the campus community. The essays also provide a platform for applicants to demonstrate their writing skills, ability to convey ideas concisely, and alignment with Stanford's values and mission.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 1


PROMPT: The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (Between 100 and 250 words.)


This essay is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your intellectual curiosity and passion. The admissions committee wants to understand what truly excites and motivates you, so reflect on a specific idea or experience that has had a profound impact on your intellectual journey. Avoid trying to guess what the admissions committee wants to hear and instead focus on sharing your genuine enthusiasm. Select a topic that not only excites you but also has the potential to captivate the reader. Look for an idea or experience that is unique and showcases your individuality. It could be a moment of personal discovery, a challenging academic project, a thought-provoking book, or an inspiring interaction with a teacher or mentor. The more engaging your topic, the more likely it is to leave a lasting impression. Once you’ve identified your topic, provide some background information to help the reader understand its significance. Explain why this idea or experience is personally meaningful to you and how it has influenced your academic journey. Share any relevant details about how you encountered the idea or experience and the impact it had on your intellectual curiosity. Remember, this prompt is an opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning. Instead of simply stating that you are excited, vividly describe the emotions and energy you feel when engaging with the idea or experience. Through specific examples and anecdotes, show how your excitement translates into action, such as pursuing research, initiating projects, or engaging in discussions with peers and mentors. Beyond describing your excitement, reflect on the broader impact this idea or experience has had on your personal growth and development. Discuss how it has shaped your perspectives, expanded your knowledge, or influenced your future goals. Finally, highlight the ways in which this passion for learning connects with your desire to contribute to the Stanford community and beyond.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 2


PROMPT: Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better. (Between 100 and 250 words.)


Begin your note with a warm and welcoming tone. Remember that you are addressing your future roommate, someone you will be living and sharing experiences with, so use a friendly and conversational style to establish a positive connection from the start. Choose aspects of yourself that you feel comfortable sharing and that will give your roommate a glimpse into your life. It could be a hobby, a unique talent, an interesting experience, or a particular aspect of your identity. Sharing something personal will help convey a sense of openness. Consider discussing your values and preferences when it comes to living in a shared space, which could include your study habits, sleep patterns, cleanliness, or preferred social atmosphere. Emphasize your willingness to embrace new opportunities and learn from different perspectives. Also, mention any activities, clubs, or organizations you are interested in joining on campus and express your enthusiasm for exploring the diverse offerings at Stanford. Demonstrating your openness to new experiences will convey a sense of adaptability and a desire to actively engage with the Stanford community. You can also state a desire to learn about your roommate's interests, hobbies, or preferences. Showing genuine interest in getting to know your roommate will convey your desire to foster a sense of mutual respect and create a positive foundation for building a strong relationship. Humor is difficult to achieve in writing, but if you feel comfortable doing so, this essay is a unique situation in which you can take some liberties in this area. Overall, remember, the purpose of this note is to provide your future roommate and the admissions committee with a genuine sense of who you are and what you value.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 3


PROMPT: Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (Between 100 and 250 words.)


For this essay, select something that holds genuine significance in your life. It could be an object, an activity, a relationship, a belief, or a cause. Ensure that the chosen topic has had a profound impact on your personal growth, shaped your identity, or influenced your outlook on the world. Introduce the meaningful aspect by providing some context and background information: explain how you encountered it, why it captured your attention, and how it became an important part of your life. Share any personal experiences, anecdotes, or pivotal moments that highlight the significance of this meaningful aspect. Next, go beyond describing the surface-level importance of the topic and delve into the emotions and values it evokes within you. Reflect on how it makes you feel, what it represents to you, and why it resonates on a deeper level. Connect these emotions and values to your personal growth, aspirations, or contributions to society. You can then articulate how this meaningful aspect has had a tangible impact on your life by discussing how it has shaped your perspective, influenced your decision-making, or guided your actions. Share specific examples of how you have grown as an individual, gained new insights, or perhaps overcome challenges through your connection with this meaningful aspect. If you can establish a connection between this meaningful aspect and your aspirations at Stanford, that would be a big plus. Highlight how this aspect aligns with Stanford's values, community, or opportunities, and consider how it can contribute to your academic pursuits, extracurricular involvement, or potential impact on campus and beyond. Conclude your essay by reflecting on the significance of this meaningful aspect in your life and its enduring impact. Express gratitude for the experience or connection you have had and discuss how it will continue to shape your future endeavors, relationships, or contributions.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essays 4 through 8


For the remaining five Stanford essays, each with a maximum word count of 50, it's essential to be extremely concise and deliberate in your response. Following are some tips to effectively answer these prompts within this strict word limit.


  • Focus on the main point: Identify the central message or idea you want to convey in your response, and trim away any unnecessary details or explanations that don't directly contribute to that point.

  • Choose impactful words: Opt for strong and specific words that carry the most meaning and convey your message effectively. Also, avoid the use of filler words or phrases.

  • Prioritize clarity: Ensure your response is clear and easy to understand by avoiding ambiguity or overly complex sentence structures.

  • Be concise: Express your thoughts in the fewest words possible without sacrificing coherence. Use concise language and eliminate any redundant or repetitive wording.

  • Revise and edit: After drafting your response, carefully review and revise it to ensure that every word is necessary and contributes to your message. Look for opportunities to condense, refine, or rephrase your sentences to make them more concise.

  • Maintain your voice: While being concise, make sure your response reflects your authentic voice and personality. Don't try to cram too much information into the limited space — focus on conveying your key point.


Remember, with a 50-word limit, precision and clarity are paramount!



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 4


PROMPT: What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (Maximum 50 words.)


Identify a pressing challenge that you feel passionate about, ideally a topic that has broad implications. Clearly express your stance on the issue in a concise and impactful manner, which will help provide a focused and direct answer to the prompt. You can briefly explain the reasons behind your selection by highlighting key factors, statistics, or trends that make the chosen challenge particularly significant in today's society. You can also mention the potential consequences or impact of this challenge on individuals, communities, or the world at large, demonstrating your understanding of the issue's magnitude. If possible, within the word limit, briefly connect the challenge to your own experiences, interests, or aspirations to show your engagement and personal connection to the issue. Remember, with only 50 words, it's crucial to prioritize clarity and conciseness.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 5


PROMPT: How did you spend your last two summers? (Maximum 50 words.)


Select the most significant experiences from your last two summers that showcase your interests, growth, or impact, and discuss any accomplishments or contributions you were able to make. If possible, given the strict word limit, highlight any connections or progression between your two summers and discuss how one experience built upon the other, demonstrating growth or a deepening of your interests. Consider any valuable lessons, skills, or insights you gained from your summer experiences, which demonstrates your ability to learn and extract meaning from your activities. If applicable, make a connection between your summer experiences and the opportunities or values at Stanford. After drafting your response, trim unnecessary words or phrases as needed while maintaining the core message of your answer.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 6


PROMPT: What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (Maximum 50 words.)


Choose a significant moment or event that holds great importance to you personally or has had a profound impact on society. State the event or moment you wish you could have witnessed in a concise manner, avoiding unnecessary details or explanations, and then briefly mention why this particular event or moment intrigues you. Highlight the significance, impact, or unique aspects that draw your attention. Share the value or insights you believe witnessing this event would provide, and discuss how it could enrich your understanding of history, shape your perspective, or inspire you. Remember to carefully choose your words and be concise while effectively conveying your interest and the significance of the historical moment or event you wish you could have witnessed.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 7


PROMPT: Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (Maximum 50 words.)


Provide a brief description of the activity, job, or responsibility, using concise language to convey the nature and significance of your involvement. While this prompt is relatively straightforward, to make your response stand out, discuss the impact or personal growth you've experienced through your engagement. Briefly mention the skills, values, or lessons you've gained, and emphasize your dedication and commitment. If applicable, briefly explain how the chosen role aligns with your interests, passions, or future goals, which would demonstrate coherence and purpose in your pursuits. Wrap up your response by mentioning a key takeaway or reflection.



How to Write Stanford University Supplemental Essay 8


PROMPT: Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (Maximum 50 words.)


Select the particular aspect of the Stanford experience that excites you the most. It could be an academic opportunity, a campus resource, a community event, or any other interesting aspect about Stanford. Make sure to avoid unnecessary details or explanations. Next, briefly mention why this particular aspect of Stanford intrigues you. Highlight the potential impact, value, or personal significance it holds for you, and touch on how this experience aligns with your academic or personal goals and how it can contribute to your growth, learning, or future aspirations. Conclude with a concise statement that captures your genuine anticipation for the chosen experience at Stanford.

what's next?

Would you like one-on-one expert assistance with crafting amazing supplemental essays that help you stand out from the crowd and get you admitted? Whether you need help brainstorming ideas, structuring your essays, or refining your writing, we're here to provide personalized guidance every step of the way.


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