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University of Rochester

Rochester, New York4-yearPrivate

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University of Rochester’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Meliora Short Response

250 Words

The University of Rochester motto of Meliora – or “ever better” - deeply integrates critical core values into all that we do. These core values of equity, leadership, integrity, openness, respect and accountability define not only who we are, but also who we hope to become. Please use the space below to highlight a time, creative idea or research experience when you put into action one or more of these characteristics in order to make yourself, your community or the world ever better.

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

200 Words

Please select one of the following prompts to respond to in 200 words or less.

Option 1

American social reformer, abolitionist, writer and statesman Frederick Douglass said, “Some know the value of education by having it. I knew its value by not having it.” Explain ways in which your background, educational experience, and opportunities have directly influenced you and your ability to do good in the world. What specific moments of growth, lessons learned and resilience in your life have prepared you to promote positive change for your community and the world?

Option 2

Dr. Donna Strickland, University of Rochester alum and 2018 Nobel Prize winner in Physics said, “There’s no point in me being anything other than me.” The University of Rochester encourages each student to embrace the intersectionality of their identity and create their own individual curricular path and experience. What qualities and experiences make you the best version of yourself? What unique elements of your background, perspectives, and experiences will you bring to our community?

Option 3

Susan B. Anthony, champion of abolition and women’s rights, once said “Organize, agitate, educate must be our war cry.” As you look to join our community of doers and disruptors, in what ways do you envision using both the curricular flexibility and co-curricular opportunities to invoke change for marginalized groups? How has your unique lived experience shaped you and prepared you to be a changemaker here?

Option 4

The University of Rochester benefactor, entrepreneur, photography pioneer and philanthropist George Eastman said, “What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.” How have the ways you‘ve spent your time enabled you to grow as a person? What challenges have helped define you and your role within your many communities?

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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