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Salem, Oregon

Willamette University

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Willamette University’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Why This College Short Response

200 Words

Your written response to the question below along with your Common App essay are both intended to demonstrate your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and they help you distinguish yourself in your own voice. It also helps the Admission Committee learn more about you and what sets you apart from your courses, grades, and test scores. Please be aware, while Willamette University understands the use of AI programs like ChatGPT are tools that can be helpful in the writing process, an applicant should not submit an essay in which any portion of the writing has not been generated by the individual applicant.

You will be asked to write a short response to the question: "Why Willamette?" This is not an additional essay, but it is a fun way for us to learn more about your motivation to potentially join our community.

In as many or as few words as you would like, please tell us why you‘re interested in attending Willamette University.

Theatre Scholarship Essay

Not Required
500 Words

What do you think 21st Century theatre will look like in the next 20 years, and what do you hope your role will be in creating new theatre?

Art Scholarship Essay

Not Required
500 Words

How does art influence contemporary society, and how do you want to use art to affect change?

STEM Scholarship Essay

Not Required
250 Words

Why and how do you think the additional support structure offered by the STEM Fellows Program will help you succeed in your STEM career?

Heatherington Public Health Scholarship Short Response

Not Required
250 Words

How and when did you become interested in public health? For example, some students first discover a love for public health through their involvement in other areas, such as community wellbeing, public safety or environmental health. Please tell us about one or more ways in which you have been, or hope to be, engaged in public or community health.

Select-A-Prompt Essay

Not Required
500 Words

A response of 500 words (maximum) to ONE of the following:

Option 1

Why are you interested in joining our speech and debate team, and what experiences have prepared you to be a successful contributor to it?

Option 2

If you joined our speech and debate team, how would the experience contribute to the success of your post-graduation plans? In other words, what would you gain from this experience, and how do you plan to apply it in the future?

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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