These Emory supplemental essay examples will give you some good insights into what Emory is looking for in their essays. Oftentimes, just reading up on college essay tips can be useful, but this can be augmented by taking a look at existing essays to see how they are put together.
So, while you’re perusing Common App essay examples, you might want to consider some that are more pointedly directed at your school of choice – in this case, Emory – to know how to specifically approach Emory’s supplemental essays.
In this article, we will cover the different prompts through Emory supplemental essay examples, and also provide you with expert tips on how to write a college essay.
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Emory requires a personal statement submitted through the Common App as well as two supplemental short essays. Here, we provide examples of all three essays, based on the prompts for 2023.
Emory Personal Statement
Required for all applicants
Length: 500–650 words (approximately)
I’ve never enjoyed baseball, or sports of any kind, but my dad does. I was looking forward to the “big game” far less than he was. My high school team had done very well, and we were entering a cycle of semi-finals and finals, and I got weary just thinking about it.
When I was little, I loved playing catch with Dad. My father has always been important to me. When I was a boy, I liked playing games with my friends, because I’m very social. I loved playing with people, but sports never really appealed, and the minute they became formal and competitive, I checked out.
In the week leading up to the game, I finally told my dad that I didn’t want to play anymore because I just didn’t care about the games. He was upset, which made me upset, too, and I went to bed that night feeling like he didn’t understand me and wasn’t really listening to me.
In short, I had a typical teenaged angry reaction.
The next morning, I didn’t want to talk to Dad, but he told me that it was okay that I didn’t like sports – he wasn’t upset about that. What he didn’t like was the idea of me quitting something so late in the season, with people depending on my presence. He said I needed to see my promises through and not let my friends down. Then he apologized for allowing himself to get angry the night before.
As always, he modeled adult behavior for me, and I realized several things:
First, that Dad was right: I didn’t have to sign up next year, but I couldn’t quit this year.
Second, that if I did quit, I would be putting myself before my friends, and that wasn’t right.
Third, that I needed to apologize for losing my temper, too.
So, I did all those things: I saw the season through, played the best I’ve ever played, and let my dad know I was sorry for losing my temper. Then he taught me one final thing:
It wasn’t okay to quit or allow my anger to take me over, but I should never feel shame for being who I am. I don’t want to play sports, and that’s fine. Yet I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself.
Being involved in athletics over the years has taught me many lessons, but in my last year of high school baseball, I learned enough for a lifetime. Interestingly, I look back on those days as fun, challenging, and rewarding, and I might play again someday. With the pressure off, I feel free to make my own choices and be who I am – whoever that is.
Second Essay: Academic Interests
Required for all applicants
Length: 200 words, max.
“What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college?”
On my desk, while I write this, is the broken shard of a smashed vase. I love this and keep it because it is a piece of history, found on an archaeological dig in Peru. I saved up a lot of money to buy it.
Anthropology gives us valuable insight into the future. Most people think of it as the past, but I know that studying who we – as human beings – were will lead us into understanding who we are and who we want to be. I believe this study is essential to humanity’s forward progress. A lack of understanding will lead to regression.
Like most anthropologists and archaeologists, working in the field is what excites me the most, and Emory’s field schools, like the Huari-Ancash Bio-Archaeological Research Project, interest me greatly. My dream is to find my way to Peru and learn about the people who made my broken vase.
The Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with a specialization in Biological Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology is what most interests me, because searching for answers right in the physiology of our ancestors can reveal how we lived, which is as close to a first-hand account as an archaeologist can hope for!
Looking for more tips? Check out the infographic below:
Third Essay: Answer any one of the prompts (below).
Required for all applicants
Length: 150 words, max.
A. “Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.”
My family took a trip down to Mexico when I was a boy. My sister and I were having a wonderful time, but on the third day, I saw a Mexican boy, about my age, who said something to me; I didn’t speak Spanish.
A few years later, I started paying attention to the news, drawn into stories of border crossings and immigration reform. I saw somebody on the news, trying to cross into the US, who looked exactly like that boy.
I started Spanish classes the next year and joined a humanitarian society to do some volunteering in Mexico. I spent my time there working and speaking with locals.
If we’re going to learn to share the world, we must learn about each other, and I want to do my part to bridge the gaps and reach across the barriers and borders we put up.
B. “When was the last time you questioned something you had thought to be true?”
I felt bad for laughing, but my buddy Rod said the Earth was flat, and we were all splitting our sides. Rod, red-faced, asked us how we could be sure of anything if we didn’t know any of the theories he was talking about.
Our friends kept laughing, but I stopped. Later that day, I apologized to Rod for laughing, and asked him for more information and sources. I took it seriously.
After all, how did I really know the Earth is a sphere? I realized that I couldn’t defend my position except through “common knowledge” and ridicule. If I didn’t know my own sources, and Rod’s, how could I understand anything?
Science can provide us with the evidence we need to argue our points, but we must be willing to question our own assumptions about knowledge. From Rod, I learned to respect epistemology and to take dialectic seriously.
C. “If you could witness a historic event (past, present or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?”
I think the event I would choose to see would be the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I’m not sure I can say I would “want” or “like” to see this, but I would choose to see it. This is for several reasons. Here are two:
First, the dispute over the veracity of the Gospels is one of the major fulcrums on which our civilization tilts. Gaining insight and answers into one of the major foundational areas of Western Civilization would be useful and important.
Second, due to the controversy surrounding this event, I know that witnessing it would irrevocably change my life and understanding of the world in the most profound way. While the idea of such a sudden paradigm shift is frightening, I seek to embrace new ideas and be open to dramatic change, when presented with facts.
I believe the experience would be terrifying, humbling, and would change my world.
D. “Share a time when you were awestruck.”
I thought I would yell and hear my echoes bounce when I stepped up to the Grand Canyon. I had planned, in fact, to rush to the edge and whip an obscenity into the abyss, for juvenile, adolescent reasons.
But, as I got closer and closer to this natural wonder, I was struck by its vastness, emptiness, and beauty. We had come on this sightseeing trip after a long car ride, getting lost several times, and it was early evening, but I could still see the stars. There was the expanse above and the expanse below. The majesty of the Canyon stopped my mouth, and I could say nothing.
I let go of my immature plan about the dirty word and just soaked up the universe, expanding out in all directions. I consider this moment to be a major threshold for me in terms of maturing out of childhood.
E. “Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?”
“Now, gods, stand up for bastards!” cries Edmund, in King Lear, lamenting his being rejected for a lack of so-called “legitimate” parentage. He is scheming against his brother, and while I cannot condone such low-minded revenge, the subject of the speech moves me.
Edmund is railing against unfair treatment and a missing father figure. I grew up without even knowing who my father is – and I have frequently found myself at a disadvantage for that reason.
This speech gives vent to the legitimate feelings of an “illegitimate” person, and I feel that pain. When I look around, I see injustice everywhere, and I want to help as many people as I can.
I consider this speech both a cry for help and a call to action; as one-who-has-cried, I am also driven to help, through activism or one day as a therapist.
Essay Writing Tips
When writing your essays, there are two ways to prepare: first, by understanding essay writing in general, and second, by knowing Emory’s specific parameters and expectations. We will cover a bit of both below.
Emory describes on their website the qualities they are looking for in their personal statements. Two blog articles discuss changing perspectives or opinions, so you will want to take that to heart and highlight your own personal growth in your essays. They also value curiosity, which is often a catalyst for change and growth, so notice a trend here.
Both of Emory’s supplemental essays are pretty short, 200 words or less, so you don’t have time to work your way through the careful machinations of a standard essay.
That doesn’t mean that you should abandon the standard essay format, however; it just means that, while writing for Emory specifically, you should keep your writing quick and lean. Note that this doesn’t apply to the personal statement for Emory, which is allowed to be longer.
Check out this video for some additional college essay tips:
For your introduction, look into how to start a college essay. You’re going to need a “hook” sentence that reels in readers. Think about how to make anybody want to read your work, even if they weren’t part of the admissions committee.
It might be useful to look up some college essay introduction examples to see how other people start their essays.
Normally, one or two paragraphs would be devoted to opening an essay, but with Emory’s truncated format, go for a brief paragraph of one or two sentences.
The opening of an essay sets up the body – the middle section wherein you unpack the details of what you want to say, present any arguments you are making, and fulfill the bulk of what the essay is about. Normally this would be at least two paragraphs dealing with the main ideas of the essay, but again, given Emory’s essays’ short length, you’ll want to keep to shorter statements and focus on just one idea.
Finally, wrap up your essay with the right touch: your conclusion should connect to the opener’s presentation and show how your ideas in the body all come together. It can be tricky to do this in a short paragraph of one or two sentences, but by focusing on exactly what you need to say, you should be able to whittle it down.
It can also be helpful, as a general tip, to recruit a college essay review service, either to help you get off the ground with your own essay, or to help as you refine it.
Thus armed with these Emory supplemental essay examples and the knowledge about how to write an essay and how to write for Emory, in particular, you should be well equipped to craft your own.
Remember to keep your writing tight – to respect the close word limits – and to bring yourself into the foreground of each answer; the admissions committee is looking to see why you are uniquely, specifically, the best candidate and fit for their school.
1. How do I get started if I’m staring at a blank page?
Beating writer’s block – a terribly common problem – might not be easy if you don’t know what to do. The best way to proceed is to take a blank page of paper and give yourself no more, and no less, than two minutes to just free-associate by writing whatever pops into your head. Remember to keep to the topic on which you are writing. If your prompt is “why this school?” for instance, you should free-associate about Emory – or whichever school you happen to be writing about.
2. Are the word counts hard limits, or flexible?
Whenever you are given a limit – a character count, word count, page count, etc. – for any essay, make sure that you closely adhere to that limit. Note that character counts often include spaces, so be sure to measure your writing accurately. If you are using a word processing software, you can find this information in the document properties.
When essays don’t include direct limits, first, make sure you are consulting the correct requirements and, if in doubt, reach out to the admissions office. If there is no limit, it still doesn’t mean you should tear off a novella for the admissions committee to peruse. Respect their time, and the fact that they have a stack of papers to get through. Be economical with your words: if you can say something in ten words, don’t use twenty. Brevity is the soul of wit, as the saying goes, and you should default to “less is more.”
You can also judge an essay’s length based on similar essays. A short answer essay, including most supplemental essay prompts, will have a limit of around 200–250 words. Of course, there are exceptions – like Emory’s much shorter 150-word essays – so always double-check that you’re respecting given limits.
3. Do spelling and grammar count?
Everything counts. Admissions are competitive in post-secondary institutions, so you need to remember that while building your own application package. While a typo or two are unlikely to cost you a spot, you should still aim for flawless writing: several errors, mounting up over your application, will be an indication of a lack of precision, attention to detail, and general skill, and will make your essays frustrating to read. Whether you use a spell-checking and grammar-checking program, or employ a proofreader, make sure you deliver polished work that is error-free. With so many available options, there is not much room for excuses.
4 How much time should I spend writing an essay?
Give yourself two to three weeks to produce all the brainstorming, drafts, writing, revision, and editing that you’ll need to build an effective essay or two. You don’t have to make it a full-time job but try to spend at least some time on it each day.
5. Do I need to answer all the prompts on the list?
No. You need to write three essays in total: a personal statement, the short essay on academic interests, and a response to one of the remaining prompts, which is your choice.
6. What is looked for in a personal statement?
What you’re trying to do with your personal statement is show the committee something about yourself that they cannot get from anything else in your application: a good look at the personal you.
Of course, this doesn’t just mean listing likes and dislikes, or talking about your favorite book. You can talk about your favorite book, but it must relate to your personality, your goals, your values, times of change, or times that were important to you and had an impact in your life. Say something deeper about yourself than a transcript or a favorite ice cream flavor will reveal.
The goal, of course, is to show them why you fit with the school’s values, and why you’re the perfect candidate.
7. How short can my essay be?
Aim to get close to the final word count as a rule of thumb, but if you’re a few words short, that’s okay. Emory’s short answer essays are small enough that you shouldn’t have trouble filling them out; however, if you’re wrapping up your personal statement at 200 words, you will want to dig deeper.
8. What is the Common Application?
Common Application, or Common App, is a centralized application system for colleges and universities around the world. It allows students to create one application that they can submit to a variety of schools, saving them time in the process.
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