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Carleton College

Northfield, MinnesotaPrivate

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Carleton College’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Additional Info Short Response

Not Required
250 Words

Anything missing? Do you want to share more with us? If so, use this space to fill any gaps you think would assist us in reviewing your application.

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

300 Words

Please share your thoughts on one (1) of the following prompts, in no more than 300 words.

Option 1

Carleton’s community plan for inclusion, diversity, and equity aims to nurture and develop an even stronger community where students, faculty, and staff belong and thrive. How might you contribute to a sense of belonging at Carleton?

Option 2

Before graduation, every Carleton student completes a senior project, known as “comps.” Comps projects take many different forms: a few recent examples are formal research papers, public presentations, and even a live staging of a theater production. Based on your current academic interests, what type of comps project or topic would you explore, and why? (No pressure, we won’t hold you to this!)

Option 3

Traditions at Carleton center around building and appreciating community. Some examples include the new student frisbee toss, Friday flowers, and baking cookies at Dacie Moses House. If you were tasked with creating a new Carleton tradition, what would you propose and how would you emphasize community within your idea?

Common App Personal Essay

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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