3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Are the Duke and University of Michigan "Community" Essays the same?

Duke University and the University of Michigan both have an essay prompt that's asking for you to talk about a community you are a part of. The Michigan one is required, while the Duke one is optional. I've talked to many Michigan admissions officers, and they have all said that their community essay doesn't have to be about any of the listed examples, it can be any community you're involved in, not just diversity stuff. I decided to write mine about a community based around one of my interests. Am I able to use this same essay for the Duke prompt? Should I email an admissions officer and ask about it? I don't want to submit my community essay to later find out that they only wanted diversity-related responses.

Michigan prompt: Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

Duke prompt: Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. If you'd like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you've had that would help us understand you better, perhaps a community you belong to or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so here.


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

I am applying to Duke too!! Though I am specifically apart of a diversity/ethnicity community, there are several communities that are acceptable such as the one you did for Michigan. In essence, yes, you can use the same topic, but keep in mind that the Duke essay is 250w limit.

For expert help, google “Duke supplement essay examples” and click on the collegeessayguy.com link (there are many more, but for Duke, I found this most helpful). This site gives two examples of how to approach the Duke U. community prompt: (1) the first being about race/ethnic communities and (2) the second example being about “storytellers” or a passion you have common to many you associate with—the latter example may require more creativity.

From the site: { Choosing a Topic- - If you read this prompt and think, “Oh, I can totally write about !” jump right down to “Example # 1: Top-of-mind Identity.” If nothing immediately comes to mind (as a straight, white cis male, I get that), don’t despair! The prompt invites you to talk about a “community you belong to,” which leaves the door open for you to write about almost anything. } -collegeessayguy.com

3 years ago

Hey @ajdekoninck! I think @OscarHanson02's advice is definitely helpful. I also wanted to let you know that you can watch one of CollegeVine's experts (Wendy) talk through all the Duke essay prompts in this livestream recording (fast forward to around 1hr 7min for the community prompt): https://www.collegevine.com/livestreams/514/how-to-write-the-2020-21-duke-supplement-essays

Another CollegeVine expert (Elias) talks through the Michigan essays here (the community prompt is discussed around 52mins in): https://www.collegevine.com/livestreams/3762/how-to-write-the-university-of-michigan-essays-2020-2021

Hopefully those can be helpful with your question about the community prompt and help with the rest of your essays!

3 years ago

It depends on the county, but I am sure they will have different essays to prevent cheating. To be honest with you, the prompt looks different, but worded differently. I hope you get it.

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