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Amherst College’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Extracurricular Short Response

Required
175 Words

Please briefly elaborate on an extracurricular activity or work experience of particular significance to you

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

Required
350 Words

In addition to the essay you are writing as part of the Common Application, Amherst requires a supplementary essay from all applicants. There are three options for satisfying Amherst’s supplementary writing requirement: Option A, Option B or Option C. You may select only one of these options. Before deciding, carefully read the descriptions of all three options.


Option 1

Option A: Choose one of the following quotations, and respond to the question posed, in an essay of not more than 350 words. It is not necessary to research, read, or refer to the texts from which these quotations are taken; we are looking for original, personal responses to these short excerpts. Remember that your essay should be personal in nature and not simply an argumentative essay.

· Prompt 1: “Amherst College is committed to learning through close colloquy and to expanding the realm of knowledge through scholarly research and artistic creation at the highest level. Its graduates link learning with leadership—in service to the College, to their communities, and to the world beyond."
– from the Mission of Amherst College
Prompt 1 Question: What do you see as the benefits of linking learning with leadership and/or service? In your response, please share with us a time where you have seen that benefit through your own experience.

· Prompt 2: “We seek an Amherst made stronger because it includes those whose experiences can enhance our understanding of our nation and our world. We do so in the faith that our humanity is an identity forged from diversity, and that our different perspectives enrich our inquiry, deepen our knowledge, strengthen our community, and prepare students to engage with an ever-changing world.”
- from the Trustee Statement on Diversity and Community
Prompt 2 Question: In what ways could your unique experiences enhance our understanding of our nation and our world?

· Prompt 3: “Strong commitment to the freedom of inquiry lies at the heart of Amherst College’s mission to create a home in which the liberal arts may flourish. As a small residential liberal arts college that prides itself on the ability, curiosity, and diversity of its students, Amherst seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel emboldened to pursue their intellectual and creative passions.”
– from the Amherst College Statement of Academic and Expressive Freedom
Prompt 3 Question: Tell us about an intellectual or creative passion you have pursued; what did you learn about yourself through that pursuit?


Option 2

Option B: Please submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should NOT submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay. If you have submitted an analytical essay in response to the "essay topic of your choice" prompt in the Common Application writing section, you should NOT select Option B.


Option 3

Option C: If you are/were an applicant to Amherst‘s Access to Amherst (A2A) program, you may use your A2A application essay in satisfaction of our Writing Supplement requirement. If you would like to do so, please select Option C. However, if you would prefer not to use your A2A essay for this purpose and you want to submit a different writing supplement, select either Option A or Option B. Option A, Prompt 2 is the same prompt as the A2A application essay; if you would like to submit an updated version of your A2A application essay, please choose Option A.

[Please note that Option C is available only to applicants to Amherst‘s A2A program. Non-A2A applicants must choose either Option A or Option B.]

Additional Info Short Response

Not Required
175 Words

If you would like to share more about yourself that is not captured elsewhere in your application, please tell us more here.

Research Short Response

Not Required
75 Words

If you have engaged in significant research in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, social sciences or humanities that was undertaken independently of your high school curriculum, please provide a brief description of the research project.

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

Required
350 Words

In addition to the essay you are writing as part of the Common Application, Amherst requires a supplementary essay from all applicants. There are three options for satisfying Amherst’s supplementary writing requirement: Option A, Option B or Option C. You may select only one of these options. Before deciding, carefully read the descriptions of all three options.


Option 1

Option A: Choose one of the following quotations, and respond to the question posed, in an essay of not more than 350 words. It is not necessary to research, read, or refer to the texts from which these quotations are taken; we are looking for original, personal responses to these short excerpts. Remember that your essay should be personal in nature and not simply an argumentative essay.

· Prompt 1: “Amherst College is committed to learning through close colloquy and to expanding the realm of knowledge through scholarly research and artistic creation at the highest level. Its graduates link learning with leadership—in service to the College, to their communities, and to the world beyond."
– from the Mission of Amherst College
Prompt 1 Question: What do you see as the benefits of linking learning with leadership and/or service? In your response, please share with us a time where you have seen that benefit through your own experience.

· Prompt 2: “We seek an Amherst made stronger because it includes those whose experiences can enhance our understanding of our nation and our world. We do so in the faith that our humanity is an identity forged from diversity, and that our different perspectives enrich our inquiry, deepen our knowledge, strengthen our community, and prepare students to engage with an ever-changing world.”
- from the Trustee Statement on Diversity and Community
Prompt 2 Question: In what ways could your unique experiences enhance our understanding of our nation and our world?

· Prompt 3: “Strong commitment to the freedom of inquiry lies at the heart of Amherst College’s mission to create a home in which the liberal arts may flourish. As a small residential liberal arts college that prides itself on the ability, curiosity, and diversity of its students, Amherst seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel emboldened to pursue their intellectual and creative passions.”
– from the Amherst College Statement of Academic and Expressive Freedom
Prompt 3 Question: Tell us about an intellectual or creative passion you have pursued; what did you learn about yourself through that pursuit?


Option 2

Option B: Please submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should NOT submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay. If you have submitted an analytical essay in response to the "essay topic of your choice" prompt in the Common Application writing section, you should NOT select Option B.


Option 3

Option C: If you are/were an applicant to Amherst‘s Access to Amherst (A2A) program, you may use your A2A application essay in satisfaction of our Writing Supplement requirement. If you would like to do so, please select Option C. However, if you would prefer not to use your A2A essay for this purpose and you want to submit a different writing supplement, select either Option A or Option B. Option A, Prompt 2 is the same prompt as the A2A application essay; if you would like to submit an updated version of your A2A application essay, please choose Option A.

[Please note that Option C is available only to applicants to Amherst‘s A2A program. Non-A2A applicants must choose either Option A or Option B.]

Common App Personal Essay

Required
650 words

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.


Option 1

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


Option 2

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?


Option 3

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?


Option 4

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?


Option 5

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.


Option 6

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?


Option 7

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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