What academic areas are you interested in exploring at Emory University and why? (200 words or fewer)
As you tackle this prompt, it is important to remember that there is no particular academic area that the committee is looking for in your response. What is important is that you express both your authentic interests and why Emory specifically has the resources to help you explore your interests. Do your research. What professors, programs does Emory offer? What research do these professors conduct in your field of study? This essay should be specific enough that it could not possibly be written for a different college!
Many people assume that my passions—scientific research, mock trial, and acting— have little in common. However, this could not be further from the truth: all three offer lenses through which I seek to understand human behavior. Double majoring in Psychology and Theater Studies at Emory will allow me to continue this investigation from both scientific and artistic perspectives.
At Emory, I hope to research with psychology faculty mentor Patricia J. Bauer, whose research focuses on determinants of remembering and forgetting within memory. I hope to further understand how factors affecting memory influence human behavior through this work.
In addition, the holistic curriculum of Emory’s theater department would give me the chance to explore all my interests through theoretical lenses, finding the answers to questions such as ‘why would a character behave in this way?’ or ‘Which set design would be conducive to X or Y response?’ Aside from offering a fascinating interdisciplinary lens through which to explore my interests, I would also look forward to the opportunity to explore multiple sides of theater-making, most notably history and design.
I look forward to the opportunity to develop my understanding of human behavior, and apply my newfound knowledge to the artistic realm.
Please answer one of the following questions: (150 words or fewer)
For all of these questions, the admissions officers are looking for answers that highlight your unique attributes and values. What are your special interests? What makes your approach to the world unique to you? Be sure to use this opportunity to tell a story about yourself. Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Ask yourself, which of these prompts allows you to add a new element to your application. Pick a prompt that allows you to be specific enough that admissions officers feel like they really know you.
1. Which book, character, song, monologue, or other creative work (fiction or nonfiction) seems made for you? Why?
Don’t spend too much time talking about the creative work you choose. In addition, focus less on choosing a creative work that is niche or uncommon and instead put your energy into ensuring that you are describing its significance for you in a unique and meaningful way. How did this creative work impact your life? How can you use this creative work to put an aspect of your personality or life experience into context?
“What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is, if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from? That’s my answer.”
Episode after episode, I watched as Michael helped Eleanor make sense of the world around her, and the repercussions of how she treated those in her community. In the midst of the show’s humor, the writers wove in profound lessons and theories from philosophers throughout history, teaching the audience through laughter.
As someone deeply interested in philosophy and psychology, I am endlessly amused both by the accidental truths that are woven into the show’s banter and by the way in which it demonstrates the absurdity of topics we deem serious. While the show itself is witty and entertaining, it inspires me as a person and student to maintain levity and embrace absurdity.
2. Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
In answering this question, you should focus on demonstrating cultural growth. Was there a point in your life when something made you realize your cultural shortcomings and then take active steps to fix them? How does this experience impact who you are today? This is an opportunity to talk about how a specific experience inspired you to grow and develop into the person you are now. Consider stories that have a “before” and “after,” or a turning point that made a significant impact on you.
On National Hijab Day, my friend Saman encouraged members of her new club, the Muslim Student Association, to don hijab to see the world through her eyes. As the only Filipino person in our school, I could relate to how my friend must have felt as the only South Asian muslim student, and I wanted to support her as she worked to dispel misconceptions about her religion.
The experience opened up the space for conversations about others’ perceptions of our identities. Saman shared her feelings of isolation, while our friend Samuel, one of the only people of color attending our school, shared instances of microaggressions he had faced in and out of the classroom.
Although we had not previously spoken so openly about our experiences as minority students, I learned a great deal about my friends’ experiences. I look forward to opportunities to further expand my cultural understanding at Emory and beyond.
3. Emory University aspires for all students to flourish on campus. Reflect on what flourishing at Emory means to you.
While this prompt may seem similar to the prompt regarding academic areas of interest, the focus here is different. The first prompt asks applicants to demonstrate specific knowledge of the academic aspects of life at Emory, while this prompt requires you to show how you will thrive on Emory’s campus as a student. This is your opportunity to speak on one of your specific interests and show how you would use that interest to enrich Emory’s campus community. This does not need to be academic. You could use this essay to discuss what hobbies you have and why they bring you happiness. Mention clubs at the university that you would like to join. Is there a club you would like to start? Likewise, you can bring up the school’s traditions and why you connect with them.
Since my stage debut at 6 years old, I have always been fascinated by theater. Despite typically being on stage, I have also nurtured a persistent curiosity about what went on behind the curtain. During any free time at practices, I would sneak up to the lighting grid to examine how it all worked or chat with the props team about the objects neatly laid out offstage. The intricate networks of people working together on stage and off to create a compelling show have become like family to me—the theater is where I flourish.
Becoming a producer with Ad Hoc Productions, the entirely student run musical theater group, would provide me with a new home on Emory’s campus. In a college setting, with student-group level funding, I would continue to learn and grow alongside other performers and theater-makers.
4. Emory University’s core mission calls for service to humanity. Share how you might personally contribute to this mission.
In this prompt as others, specificity is key. Be sure to share any service activities you’ve done and why you care about them. Do research about the service activities and outreach that you could get involved with at Emory and tie those into your personal service goals.
Service has always been an important part of my life. Throughout my childhood, my mom would take my brother and I to volunteer for local food shelters and perform at nursing homes. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the elderly as my brother and I performed instilled in me from a young age the importance of giving back. However, I often felt as though the short hour of volunteering didn’t allow enough time to truly get to know the people we interacted with.
This is why Emory’s Alternative Breaks program within Volunteer Emory would be a great opportunity for me to serve the community and to establish relationships with the people I’m working with. The recent trip combatting Homelessness and Gender Inequality is of particular interest to me, as the emphasis on support for their mental and physical needs is a crucial part of helping homeless women recover.
5. Emory University has a strong commitment to building community. Tell us about a community you have been part of where your participation helped to change or shape the community for the better.
Pick a community that showcases a part of you that you have yet to talk about in your application. Why was this community important to you? How did you identify things you wanted to change? What did it take to change them? How is your community better now than it was before? Did your community need changing? Did you give back in one big way or did you give back in small ways that always worked toward a goal?
500 Saturdays go by so fast.
Every Saturday since I was 6 years old, I sang with the Imagination Players, a performing group that fundraises and brings joy to children’s hospitals, nursing homes, and veterans’ groups.
Kids Runway for Research is one of my favorite annual events. Children with cancer get makeovers and get to be stars for a day. After the event, I dressed up as Moana to go visit the kids who were too sick to participate, some of them younger than I was when I first joined the Imagination Players.
Twelve years with this group taught me that changing and improving the community for the better doesn’t necessarily have to involve wide structural change. It can simply look like many small acts of kindness that improve the lives of community members who are most in need of support.
6. Reflection is a central tenet of Emory University’s values. Craft a personal email giving advice to yourself in your first year of high school.
Remember that the admissions officers don’t know who you were in your first year of high school. Think about an experience you had in high school that you would approach differently now. Break it down into three parts.
- How did you approach the situation then? What was flawed about it? What were the repercussions of approaching it that way? What blind spot did you have at the time that caused a negative outcome?
- What experiences have you had since then that showed you your blind spot? What made you realize that you were wrong?
- How would you approach the situation now? How do you think that might have changed the outcome?
High school will be hard. Don’t allow yourself to write off discrimination as common misunderstandings.
For example, junior year, the whole team will vote to demote you (the only woman or person of color) from a lawyer to a witness so that another male teammate can take on two attorney roles. Your scores will be equal to the lawyer they are trying to replace you with.
They’ll explain that, “you seem to be better at emotional aspects of mock trial than the logical ones. We think you’re better as a witness.”
“How could my friends be sexist?” You’ll think to yourself. Well, they’re high school boys with a lot of learning to do. They see you as traditionally female: passive, emotional. They see themselves as “aggressive” men: leaders.
Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. By denying their discrimination against you, they take away your power. Don’t let them.