3 months ago
Admissions Advice

Should you talk about your major in your main college essay?

I am going to be a high school senior and working on some of my college application essays. The University of Illinois has supplemental shorter essays specifically asking about your intended major and then a longer essay that can essentially be about anything or a Common App prompt. Should I relate it to my major or write about a different experience?

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Accepted Answer
3 months ago[edited]

I think it depends on whether or not your intended major is something highly correlated to your spike or not. Some applicants pick medicine because they have a personal event like an ill parent or death that pushes their decision to apply themselves toward closure or fixing a systemic problem or finding a cure. Now I can see how discussing a major would add to the narrative.

Many applicants including myself didn't have a specific major to follow because I'm not really sure what I'm going to fall in love with or what is the best fit for me. The last 4 years of HS were mostly about trying to figure out how to get into the best possible college versus trying to sort my life out and a career path. If you are more like me, then I wouldn't go "all in" on writing about your intended major or even mentioning it in the main essay and relating it to the " intended major" supplemental essay.

Essays are one of the few things you have total control of in terms of how you want to use your voice to answer the prompt. Therefore, don't waste the opportunity. Colleges want to know as much as possible about you, what makes you do what you do, and how you think. After all, they are looking for the best people to fill their cohort roster. Therefore, it is a serious opportunity for you to reveal something special and unique about yourself that can not be found in the rest of the application.

If UI already has an "intended major" prompt on a short essay, then I would not write any more about my major anywhere else, including the main essay. I would write something that sets you apart from your peers that intrigues the reader into advocating for you.

Good luck.


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