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How to Write the Tulane University Supplemental Essays

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 words)

Think back to the Activities List you filled out for the Common Application and carefully consider your time commitment and passion for each of those activities. Which one were you most involved in? How was your role or involvement impactful (for you and for others)? What leadership responsibilities did you have? How have you grown through the activity and what lessons did you learn?
For the admissions officers, your involvement in activities in high school translates to the roles and responsibilities you might take on in college, so be deliberate about the experience that you choose to highlight and what you want that experience to convey about who you are as a student and a person. They want students who will actively shape Tulane’s culture and purposefully impact the community. Make sure to address how you hope to continue this activity with the resources available to you at Tulane (the college has over 200 student clubs and organizations, so you might look through the list and connect your experience to one of those and describe the potential for continuing to engage in your activity while at Tulane). Lastly, write about the particular skills you gained through this activity as well as how you have applied these skills to other aspects of your life.

Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University. (50-500 words)

This prompt offers you the opportunity to tell the admissions committee why you are interested in Tulane distinctly—what about Tulane is uniquely appealing to you as a prospective student? While this prompt allows you 500 words, do not sacrifice concision and specificity in exchange for “fluff” just because you are afforded more words. Tulane specifies on the Common App “This statement should be 500 words at most; however, it is neither necessary nor expected that you reach this maximum length. We strongly encourage you to focus on content and efficiency rather than word count. While submitting this prompt is optional, we recommend that all applicants do so.”

In order to respond to this prompt, you will first need to conduct in-depth research on the university’s website, looking particularly at programs, initiatives, and opportunities that are highlighted as distinct Tulane offerings. Tulane’s admission page states: “Admission to Tulane is extremely competitive, and our admission counselors look for high levels of academic and extracurricular achievement; however, we’re building more than a class, we’re building a community. We review each applicant with an eye toward shaping Tulane and making it stronger and more vibrant each year, so it’s important that we look at each applicant as a whole.” Because of this emphasis on community and holistic consideration of prospective students, use the word count to cover multiple different aspects of Tulane’s academic and nonacademic offerings as well as how these offerings are compatible with your own multifaceted experiences and interests.

For instance you might discuss the university’s research opportunities, the average class size of 20 students, or the public service project required as a part of Tulane’s undergraduate program. As you mention Tulane’s distinctive offerings that appeal to you, be clear about how these opportunities would uniquely advance you in the pursuit of your personal, professional, and academic goals.

Keep in mind that as you describe your particular interest in Tulane, you should also be thinking about how your answer conveys more about you—your interests, passions, and goals—and how you would be a strong fit for the university’s community as well. Your answer should not only be specific with regards to the university’s offerings, but it should also be specific about your intentions for your academic and professional future.

Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here. (50-500 words)

This prompt asks you to reflect on the community you come from and how it has shaped your identity. First, consider the communities that have shaped you—your immediate and extended family, your religious community, your neighborhood, your political party, your racial or ethnic community. Which would you identify as the most formative and central to your identity today? In which of these spheres are you most active? Once you have chosen the community you want to write about, be descriptive and specific—this is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get to know you better, so as you describe this community, share what is most relevant to your values, personal formation, and worldview. Note that the prompt is not only asking you to describe a community that you are a part of, but also a perspective that you would bring to Tulane as a result of your role within that community. If you’re a part of a specific ethnic or religious group, does your inclusion in this group make you define yourself in relation to that group? If you’ve surrounded yourself with friends who are consistently positive even in the face of struggles, has this positivity spread to your own actions and thought processes? Perhaps your religious affiliation or cultural background has imparted specific values, wisdom, and practices that shape how you see the world. The admissions committee wants to see how you will enrich the diverse perspectives of the Tulane community, so be descriptive, authentic, and personal!