Princeton supplement essay 2013

And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful. Like option 2, this Princeton essay prompt revolves around a quotation—in this case, one on the value and significance of culture.


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Therefore, with this prompt, you'll want to focus primarily on the concept of culture however you choose to define it and how it's shaped you as a person. Culture can mean a lot of different things. On the one hand, you could write about how being part of or even just observing a certain culture has influenced your lifestyle and beliefs.

Options for this include writing about celebrations and holidays, customs, international travel, immigration, language barriers, etc. On the other hand, culture can also refer to the arts or specific creative pieces. In this sense, you could write about how a particular painting, sculpture, book, movie, etc. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering whether to choose this prompt for the Princeton Supplement:. Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world.

Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.

How to Write Powerful Common App Essays (): Updated Guide

This prompt is arguably the broadest of the four options you have for the Princeton Supplement essay. With this prompt, you can choose any quotation from an essay or book you've recently read. Using that quotation as the foundation of your essay, you'll then write about a valuable experience in your life that helped to shape your personality in some critical way. Don't feel as though you need to choose some super academic-sounding quotation —just pick whatever speaks to you personally and works best with the experience or event you want to write about.

Princeton Supplement--"Favorite Recording?"

Because this prompt is so open ended, it's a good idea to choose this one if you think the other, slightly narrower prompts just won't work well for the type of story you want to tell about yourself. Besides the longer personal essay you'll write for the Princeton Supplement, you'll also submit three shorter answers in response to three prompts. The first two responses will each be about words each, and the last is a series of short answers.

By this point, you've likely already listed all your extracurricular activities and work experience on another part of the application. So what's the purpose of this essay prompt?

Choosing the Right Common App Prompt

Princeton wants to figure out which activities you've done that are most valuable to you personally. This shorter essay is essentially—like the longer personal essay—a quick way for the admissions committee to get to know more about you and what motivates you in your spare time. Instead of just seeing what extracurriculars you've done, Princeton wants to know which activities had a bigger, more lasting impact on you and helped to shape you as a person. You don't have a lot of space to write just words!

Don't pick an activity that you think the admissions committee wants to read about. If you believe that your brief stint working at McDonald's had a bigger impact on you than your long-term membership in Honor Society did, write about that!

How to get into Princeton University - My GPA, Test Scores, Extracurriculars

It's also not a bad idea to use this space to focus on the activity that is most relevant to what you want to study in college. This way you can elaborate on what role this extracurricular played in your process of developing an interest in this particular field of study. Essentially, you'll be using this short answer to talk about your "spike," or the long-term passion in your life. Princeton doesn't want to know more about the activity itself but rather more about your relationship to this specific experience. This second short answer prompt for the Princeton Supplement is about how you've spent your past two summer vacations.

Princeton asks this question to not only get to know you better but also to see how you choose to occupy your time when you're not in school. As with the first short answer, don't simply summarize your experiences.

How to Tackle the Princeton Supplement Essays for 2014-15

Instead, concentrate on the most meaningful experiences you've had over the past two summers, explaining why they matter so much to you. For example, if you typically go on vacation to Canada with your family every summer but felt that your experience taking piano lessons one summer had a bigger impact on your personal growth, write mainly about this activity for your response. Finally, and this is a really important tip, don't repeat anything you've already talked about in your personal essay.

Each essay you write, whether long or short, needs to be about something different so that the admissions committee can learn about multiple aspects of your personality, thereby giving them a more detailed and well-rounded view of who you are. Welcome to what is likely the easiest writing prompt of your Princeton application. There's not much to overthink here; all you really need to do is be honest with your answers. If your favorite movie is The Sound of Music, don't feel like you need to put some fancy documentary or whatever the buzzy drama is to try to impress Princeton.

The purpose of this prompt is just for Princeton to learn a little bit more about who you really are! If you'd like, you can try to tie some of your answers back to other essays or parts of your application. For example, if you mention a love of website design in one of your essays, you might link to your own website for the "your favorite website" response. Again, though, don't make this harder than it is. Unless you give a really off-the-wall answer, your responses to this short answer prompt are unlikely to make or break your application.

It's just one more way to give Princeton a glimpse into who you are and what you care about.


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If you're interested in pursuing a BS in Engineering at Princeton and note this on your application, you'll be required to write an additional essay focusing on why you're interested in studying engineering at Princeton. Here is the prompt:. Princeton uses this essay to learn more about your background in engineering, including what made you interested in the field and why you think Princeton would be a good fit for you. Compared with the personal essay for the Princeton Supplement, the engineering essay is a bit more direct and academic-oriented. Your goal with this essay is not to come up with a creative way to define yourself or your values but to introduce your interest in engineering and elaborate on why you think the Princeton engineering program is well suited for your goals.

Common Application Facts

That said, you still want to use the space you're given wisely, so don't be afraid to find a creative way to grab the admission committee's attention. For example, you could start your essay with a memorable anecdote that's related to engineering or shows how you got interested in the field. Afterward, discuss your experiences in engineering and explain how these have ultimately ignited your curiosity and passion for the field. Don't just offer a chronological list of activities—focus on the most important experiences you've had, taking care to discuss why you think these had such an impact on you and your interest in engineering.

You should also be as specific as possible in this essay, especially when you talk about what you think Princeton can offer you in terms of engineering. Are there certain professors whose research or experiences align with your own engineering interests? Is there a particular engineering club or group you'd like to join? Do some research to figure out why Princeton's engineering program might be a good fit for you, and then clearly express this reasoning to the admissions committee in your writing by using concrete examples and anecdotes.

Tip 0: find a cozy coffee shop to start writing your essay in. To wrap up, here are some final tips to keep in mind as you write your Princeton essays and any other essays for college applications. Typically, there are two ways to answer this question. One is to chronologically describe all of the activities you did in each summer — this is particularly useful for students who had very busy, activity-filled summers.

For instance, to avoid this, make sure that your creative decision makes sense in the context of what you wrote. A powerful anecdote could be super effective; a poorly executed rap will probably doom your application. And now, we get to arguably the most fun yet nerve-wracking part of this application: the very short response questions. While these rapid-fire questions are meant to simply give the admissions officers an idea of your personality, many applicants often get nervous at the open-ended nature of these prompts.

For example, if you answer that your favorite source of inspiration is Elon Musk, it would be assumed that you have some interest in technology and innovation, whereas if you discuss a leadership book, for example, it may be assumed that you have some sort of managerial aspirations. Overall, the goal of these questions is to learn as much as they can about you by asking these unique questions, so you should carefully think about how you want to be perceived by the admissions committee, and frame your answers based on that.

Exercise good judgment! The last sentence of this prompt is arguably the most vital — Princeton wants this essay to showcase a completely different aspect of your personality or background that they have not yet discovered from your other essays. While this prompt asks you to talk about someone who has been influential in a significant way, it is crucial to remember that the end goal of this essay is to reveal something more about you and bring out your voice.

So, as expected, the person who you choose will lend insight into your personality and values, especially if you write about well-known public figures. On that note, we often see applicants choosing celebrities or famous people to write about; however, choosing them may not necessarily be the best idea unless they have personally influenced you in a unique, extraordinary way.