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How to Write the Rice University Supplemental Essays

Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above (150 words)

While it may not be clear at first, this is really a two part question. First, it’s asking “Why do you want to study what you’ve selected?” Second, “Why do you want to study those topics at Rice?” With just 150 words to work with, you’ll want to try and be as specific as you can be when answering these big questions. Focus on your core interests and find concrete reasons why Rice is the best place for you to explore those topics. While you won’t have space to list every class you want to take or everything you love about Rice, try to throw in a few details to show the admissions committee that you’ve done your research and that Rice is a good fit for you.

Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you?* (150 words)

You may be tempted to repeat some of the reasons that you listed in your first essay to explain why Rice appeals to you, but don’t fall into this trap! This essay is intended to allow you to write about your other, nonacademic interests and how Rice will allow you to explore them. Just like in the first essay, you’ll want to provide some concrete examples. For example, you may want to have a diverse social circle with people of different perspectives and identities, and know that Rice ranks #1 for race and class interactions. Or, there may be an extracurricular or non-academic program that you want to explore. 

Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community?* (500 words)

At 500 words, this essay gives you plenty of room to describe your perspectives! However, you’ll want to avoid listing too many ideas at once. Instead, consider the communities you are a part of now and the experiences you’ve had that are the most meaningful to you. To help narrow it down, research the values that the Rice community espouses, and see where your values and interests intersect with theirs. They want to get a sense of the kind of student you’ll be at Rice, and how you’ll fit into the campus culture.

Get specific! Instead of just answering “what” perspectives you’ll bring, include “where” you want to bring them. Consider how you might bring your different perspectives to your social and academic life as well as to the 350+ clubs and organizations Rice has to offer. How might your community background enhance the Residential College System? Will your teamwork experience from your time on a high school athletic team inspire you to lead a club sport? Whatever your life perspectives, make sure to demonstrate how you will use your unique background to become a valuable member of the Rice community!