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How to stand out with the CMU supplemental essays?

Hey everyone, I'm starting to think about my supplemental essays for Carnegie Mellon and I'm honestly a bit lost. I want my application to really pop, but it's hard to feel original when it feels like everything's been said before. Does anyone have tips or strategies for approaching the CMU prompts that can help differentiate my essays from tons of others?

7 months ago

Understanding the specific ethos and values of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is essential when crafting your supplemental essays. CMU places a high emphasis on innovation, interdisciplinary study, and collaboration, so your essays should reflect these elements. When approaching the prompts, consider how your personal experiences and ambitions align with these values. To stand out, dig deep into your unique experiences and think about how they have shaped your interest in your chosen field.

For example, rather than mentioning generic leadership experiences, detail that time you spearheaded a community coding workshop, troubleshooting alongside participants, which fueled your passion for tech and community engagement—showing both leadership and a hands-on approach to problem-solving.

Humility and reflection are also appreciated. You could discuss a time you failed at something, but explain how it led to personal growth or a better understanding of your field.

Be specific—mention a particular class, professor, or resource at CMU that excites you and explain why. Research their offerings deeply and demonstrate how they're the right fit for your goals.

Lastly, avoid vague statements—each sentence should add a new layer to your story or perspective. This will help your application to be memorable and convey a strong sense of your personality and potential contribution to the CMU community. Good luck!

7 months ago

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