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Illinois State University | ISU

Normal, IllinoisPublic

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Illinois State University | ISU’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Personal Statement Essay

Not Required
500 Words

If you would like to submit a personal statement, your submission should be approximately 500 words in length and address the contributions you are prepared to make to our community, both academically and otherwise. Specifically, your statement should:

Identify any circumstances that affected your academic performance, if applicable

Make clear your commitment to academic success in college, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and your plans to utilize available resources

Articulate your readiness to engage productively in our campus community outside the classroom.

We encourage students with less than a 3.0 GPA to submit a personal statement.

Select-A-Prompt Essay

Not Required
25 Characters

Fun Facts (Optional)

We would love to get to know you even better. Your answers to these questions will not be used to determine your admissibility to the University in any way.

Option 1

Favorite food

Option 2

Dream vacation destination

Option 3

Most played band/musician on your Spotify playlist

Option 4

Tell us about your pets (what kind of animals, names, etc.).

Option 5

Favorite candy

Option 6

Which TV show did you recently binge-watch?

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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