roommate essay 250 words

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Stanford roommate essay | guide and examples, school supplements.

Stanford Roommate Essay | Guide and Examples

Brad Schiller

Stanford admissions officers are always thinking about admitting the most successful class that they can. Even when they ask “fun” questions, such as :

Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better. (100-250 words.)

Despite our use of scare quotes above, this question actually can be a lot of fun. Our big concern, as college essay coaches , is that you don’t take Stanford seriously when they say they want to “get to know you better.” That’s a trap .

While your essay can indeed be light-hearted and joyful, admissions officers are grading it just like they do any other — for evidence of your potential to succeed.

Follow our steps below to make this one count. (And for answers to all your college essay questions, see our College Essay Help Center .)

What not to do: simply be interesting 

The trap with this essay is to take the question too literally. 

Come room-assignment time, nobody is going to be reading this essay to help them match you with the perfect BFF. That’s why you should steer clear of simply saying something interesting about yourself . 

Here are some invented no-no examples:

  • Your love of piano, your obsession with Chopin, and how you’ll be bringing a keyboard to keep playing in college.
  • Your love of tacos, how you make them every Tuesday at home for your family, and how you hope to explore the local taco scene in Menlo Park and Palo Alto.
  • The reason your lucky charm is the color red, what it represents in your Chinese culture, and the great things that happened on three days you wore all red for luck. 

Aren’t these interesting stories? It might be cool to live with someone who could play a nocturne for you late at night, right? Or someone to take you exploring the local taquerias. Or someone who’s integrated this idea of “luck” into their life with such verve.

The problem is that the person reading this essay won’t actually be your future roommate. 

None of these kinds of topics — unless handled the right way (see below) — is liable to move your application from the “maybe” pile and onto “admit them now!”

Still being graded: keep the essay basics in mind

Stanford wants to know whether you’ll be successful at their school and within their particular campus community. Every question they ask on their application is about sussing this out — whether it’s your personal statement or a 100-word note to a future roommate. 

Asking a playful question is a way to get to these answers about your potential in a playful way. 

Therefore, you want your answer here to reflect 1 or more of the 5 traits , just like any other essay would. In fact, talking to a future roommate is a great place to showcase 3 of the 5 traits:

  • Intellectual curiosity — things you’re interested in and like to explore.
  • Contribution — how you give back and create community.
  • Diversity of experiences — your unique background and life story that will expand the horizons of those you interact with. 

This essay could probably also reflect Drive (aka grit or perseverance) and Initiative (unwilling to accept the status quo), but the other three are a more natural fit.

Finally, as with everything else college essay-related, make sure the topic you talk about is recent to your experience. If you saved the world while you were in middle school, skip it, and write about something less spectacular that you did more recently. 

Have fun, too: brainstorm answers that would show yourself off to a future roommate

 With those basics in mind, let’s have fun with this because the Stanford admissions team definitely would like this one to be on the lighter side. 

Begin by brainstorming a whole bunch of outside-of-the-box, off-the-beaten-track, off-the-wall topics about yourself that would answer this prompt. Allow yourself a good 15-20 minutes here. 

Give yourself a little break — creativity flourishes in a little break — and then come back to it again (maybe 5-10 minutes). This time, use the 3 of the 5 traits above (intellectual curiosity, contribution, and diversity of experiences) to expand on your brainstorming (another 10-15 minutes). Do any other interesting facets of your personality or experience spring to mind?

Once you’ve put in about 30 minutes of brainstorming, you should have some great topics that are authentic and fun from which to choose the very best one that will also strengthen your application . 

The whole picture: how will this answer reflect on your entire application? 

As you may know, Prompt recommends working on each application college by college (not essay by essay). Admissions teams read each application as a whole, so that’s how you should write them.

With small, creative essays, you want to think about using them smartly as little pieces that bolster your overall application. 

Take a look at what else you’re telling Stanford about yourself. Which of the 5 traits are you really focusing on? Do you have any weaknesses you might want this essay to compensate for? How have you “branded” yourself?

For example, if you’ve written a lot about contribution , perhaps writing a personal statement about your community service work, this essay could be a way to show how deep that trait goes with you. You could talk about informal ways that you bring groups of friends together and help nurture strong friendships, and how you hope to do that at Stanford, too. 

In this scenario, you’re using this “fun” question to show a more light-hearted, but equally valuable aspect of one of your “serious” traits. This essay will help amplify your brand as a contributor. 

Or, perhaps the same contribution person might worry that their community service essay leaves out other exciting things about themselves. You want to make sure that you showcase all the impressive, unique things that you might bring to the table (ie: Stanford’s campus), and this little essay could be a great way to highlight one of them. 

For example, if you have a deep interest in film — you could use this essay to showcase your intellectual curiosity in a fun way. You could talk about your love of horror movies, how you pursue that interest with friends today, and how you hope to join the Stanford Film Society and plan horror movie marathons for your roommates.

In this scenario, you add to a serious trait of yours with a more off-beat interest that nonetheless also showcases intellectual curiosity. 

BTW, now you see that the three examples of “what not to do” above all could be great essay topics. But only if they showcase your college potential and fit with the rest of your application. 

How to write it: Straight-forward, action-driven, concrete

Now that you know what to write, bad news: you don’t have much space to do it!

Stick to these 3 precepts, and you’ll knock it out of the park: 

  • Straight-forward. College essays do not call for “beautiful” writing . They call for simple, clear sentences that an admission officer can understand while reading quickly. 
  • Action-driven. Since the point is to show off your college potential, you need to talk about things that you’ve done, whether that’s reading Wes Craven’s autobiography, planning an excursion to a screening of The Exorcist with your friends, or writing up your horror review on LetterBoxd . Actions that you took.
  • Concrete. Relatedly, point to things you’ve done, and things you’d like to do at Stanford. Philosophical musings are great, but they take up valuable space and don’t contribute much to your application. 

For example:

The Chopin-loving pianist might write an essay here that stays away from waxing effusively about how “alive” they feel when they play and how great Chopin was (because this is supposed to be about how great you are). Instead, they can focus on:

  • What they do to keep piano in their life, on top of a busy high school schedule — ex: practice 15-minutes every morning, no matter what; and sign themselves up for yearly recitals so they have something to work toward; 
  • What they plan to do to keep piano going in college — ex: planning to bring their keyboard to their dorm; will be auditioning as a keyboard for campus bands and/or Classical music programs; and 
  • It will all tend to demonstrate intellectual curiosity and drive . 

The taco-Tuesday lover’s essay should stay away from talking about tacos themselves, and instead focus on:

  • What it takes to cook tacos every Tuesday for their family, on top of a heavy course-load — ex: they once had to order them from a fast-food place, but they’ve never once let their family go hungry on a Tuesday! 
  • A note on the rave review they’ve written on Yelp to promote their favorite local taco joint; 
  • What they plan to do to keep the warm fuzzies of “Taco Tuesday” alive once they get to campus — ex: have a goal of eating at each of Trip Advisor’s top 10 taquerias in Menlo Park and Palo Alto by the end of freshman year; and 
  • It will all tend to demonstrate contribution and intellectual curiosity . 

‍ The red lucky charm person should stay away from going on too long about Chinese culture itself, but instead focus on their particular relationship to it:

  • How they wear all-red to take tests because it gives them a feeling of connection to their culture — and is also light-hearted and fun, helping them to relax on big test days;
  • How they convinced others at their school to join in, making test days more fun for many of their classmates; 
  • How their grandmother loves that they’ve brought this traditional aspect forward in their lives, and it serves as a point of connection between generations; 
  • How they plan to continue this tradition at Stanford; and 
  • It will all tend to demonstrate diversity of experience as well as contribution . 

Bonus: this guide will get you through Stanford’s other two short questions, too

Congratulations on having read all the way down. Great news: everything you read for this question will apply to the other two as well (both 100-250 words): 

  • The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.
  • Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.

So go off and write two more killer short essays. And, now that you know what really matters, be sure you also have an absolute blast while doing it. 

More articles on’s admissions-boosting methods:

  • Work with a college essay coach
  • Strong essays increase your chance of admission by up to 10x
  • Don’t let influencers influence your college essays
  • Should I apply test-optional?
  • Early admissions: Everything you need to know
  • College Essay Help Center

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roommate essay 250 words

How To Write Stanford Room Essay With An Example


If you are applying to Stanford, you must have probably heard about Stanford’s popular roommate essay, one of three supplemental essays required to use. The roommate essay is infamous for its unique premise—write a letter to your future roommate—that many applicants find challenging to tackle. 

The roommate essay causes uncertainty among Stanford students because it is entirely unlike most essays that college applicants are generally asked to write, including the Common App Essay . Rather than presenting the typical challenge or extracurricular activities, the roommate essay allows applicants to talk about more daily or “normal” aspects of their lives.

You get a valuable opportunity to reveal something about your personality and interests beyond the usual resume-building fare.

This chapter will look at what qualities make a Stanford roommate essay stand out and discuss what students will want to avoid. We will also go through a successful essay from one of our students, break down exactly why it works, and help you understand what lessons you can take from this example.

Check out: How To Get Into Stanford 

What can you write in the roommate essay?

With an acceptance rate under 5 percent , it is easy to say that Stanford has their pick of astonishingly qualified applicants. By adding the roommate essay prompt, Stanford is looking to see what qualities besides outstanding academics and extracurriculars you will bring to campus: in other words, how students will contribute and fit into student life. 

In drafting the essay as a note between roommates, Stanford asks you when they are relaxing by themselves or hanging out with friends at the end of the day.

Because it’s directed towards a peer, it is more than fine to use an informal, fun tone in writing this essay. This is a great space to include offbeat elements of humor—but only if they represent your personality. You should sound like yourself. Stanford even states on their website, “ We want to hear your voice in your writing. Write essays that reflect who you are and write in a natural style. ” 

We want to caution you against writing only about what kind of roommate they would be. I know it seems easy to spend 250 words describing your sleep schedule or management habits, but we ensure that this kind of essay is a sign that they have taken the prompt too literally.

Remember that Stanford indicates something about itself as an establishment, even as it asks you to do the same. It’s saying: community matters here, and people matter. Social skills matter. Who are you, and why should we let you into the school and the club?

Similarly, writing about how your child can’t wait to share typical Stanford experiences like lazing about beneath the California sunshine with their roommate doesn’t reveal much about your child other than…well, that they want to go to Stanford or getaway their Midwestern winter. As such, we recommend staying away from platitudes like “I can’t wait to sit together at football games” or “I look forward to studying for finals together.” 

Instead, you must focus on personal, intimate details about yourself to write a standout roommate essay. Think: what would your close friends know about them that others wouldn’t? You can also use help from an English essay writer to help you draft content for the essay.

For instance, maybe you are a gaming nerd and always talk about video games. Perhaps you like to sit under the stars late at night when your parents are sleeping, and sometimes you tinker with an electronic skateboard in the garage. Or maybe you cannot go to bed without laying out your clothes and essentials for the next day—and perhaps you have some unique kind of well-known costume among your friends. These are the kind of minute details that are less likely to make it into the usual personal statement but reveal glimpses into your personality.

  • Here are some questions to help you brainstorm what those details might look like:
  • What about you would surprise other people? This could be an interest, a habit, or a goal.
  • What’s in your room that no one knows about? (And is it something appropriate to share on a college application?!)
  • What daily routines do you have? Is there something you can’t go without in the morning or evening?
  • What do you like to do for entertainment or to relax (other than extracurricular activities)?
  • Do you have a code or unique way of talking to your friends?
  • What is your favorite inside jokes?
  • Where do you and your friends go to blow off steam?
  • What are you most excited about sharing with a new friend or roommate?
  • How do you know when you’ve clicked with someone? What’s the sign that you two are now true friends?

Once you have brainstormed some exquisite personal details, you should write out the motives or reasons behind these habits. In other words, your roommate essay should not only give Stanford a sense of what you are like in your day-to-day life but also provide a larger structure or context explaining what those details say about them.

Also, parents should always give their children some distance when letting them prepare their college essays, especially here. This is a common social topic. A parent standing on top of their child will result in a challenging, awkward, and uncool essay. 

Tell your child to get feedback by encouraging them to read the essay with older friends, admission advisors, counselors, or favorite teachers. But this might be one where you need to step away to let their personality shine.

Stanford Roommate Essay, Example

Let’s have a look at a real-life example of an excellent roommate essay, and observe how an idea of how these concepts can be applied.

The actual Stanford roommate essay prompt:

Essentially all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better. (100–250 words)

Here’s what our student, Angelica, wrote:

Dear Future Roommate,

When first meeting me, most people describe me as “quiet.” I’m glad I have this chance to tell you that this isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong: I know how to relax with a good book and a cup of tea, and—don’t worry—I always wear headphones when I study. My family and close friends will tell you that once you get to know me, I have plenty to say.

As an aspiring psychology and philosophy double major, long analytical conversations are my jam. People fascinate me, so I love to talk with my friends about what everything from our favorite cereals to our phobias says about us (by the way, that would be Rice Krispies and spiders—any interpretations?). If you don’t feel like sharing, though, it’s fantastic. I make sure to journal every night before bed and write down my dreams when I wake up.

You could say I’m a sucker for human expression. I would be delighted if you ever want to go to a museum or take a poetry class together. I’m looking to try new things in college, though, so if you’d instead bond by going rock climbing or to a comedy night (or whatever you’re into), I’m game.

I look forward to learning about what makes you you

What's great about Angelica’s essay? Let’s cut it down: 

Paragraph 1: Angelica’s essay starts by immediately laying down a hook: outsiders think she is quiet, but that isn’t the case. Not only does this grab the reader’s attention and lure them to keep reading, but it also sets up the rest of the essay by creating a structure for Angelica to explain how she is not what she seems. See how she also manages to hide in a few specific details of things she enjoys. 

Paragraph 2: Now, we start to get an idea of who Angelica is. Though she does choose to write about how she enjoys something fairly common—long conversations with friends—she makes it unique to her by grounding the activity in her interests in psychology and philosophy. By writing about her daily habits of journaling and recording her dreams, we get a picture of her as someone who naturally loves analysis and interpretation, even outside the scope of academic work.

Note: though we have demonstrated why the roommate essay is a valuable space to discuss interests other than academic or extracurricular ones, if your child can tie such interests or activities to their personality in a completely natural way, as Angelica did, it’s outstanding. It’s proof that their intellectual passions are organically related to their personal and private lives.

Paragraph 3: In this paragraph, Angelica does a great job of moving seamlessly through a sequence of ideas. First, she further explains why she loves long analytical conversations: she is interested in human expression. Not only does this first sentence help explain the previous paragraph, but it also sets up space for her to discuss other subjects and activities she enjoys, like art and creative writing. In turn, by framing these interests as possible activities with her future roommate, Angelica can naturally write about how she hopes the college will be a place to try new things. 

Paragraph 4: A standard one-line to demonstrate that she is keenly interested in learning about other people. This sentence seems completely honest and in line with what she’s already shown us about herself.

Why it works

Angelica’s essay works because she uses intimate personal details to create a larger story about who she is. She gives the reader a sense of what she likes to do and why these things matter to her. Through this, we come to understand her personal qualities. In reading Angelica’s essay, we get a sense of her as initially reserved but ultimately chatty, interested in other people, analytical, creative, and open-minded.

Angelica uses an easy, conversational tone with the occasional dash of light humor. As such, her essay doesn’t read like it’s trying too hard to be something it’s not and instead just sounds genuine.

She also takes advantage of the prompt to show humility and friendliness. Her parentheticals show a sweet but not put-on awareness that it won’t just be her interests and biases that drive the new roommate relationship.

As with other successful college essay examples, Angelica’s essay also shows us that writing a compelling roommate essay doesn’t have to involve detailing a super obscure or quirky interest or activity (though that’s lovely too). Instead, it demonstrates that something ordinary can be interesting so long as your child can show why that topic reveals something important about who they are. 

Final Thoughts

The roommate essay gives a unique opportunity for you to demonstrate that they will bring more than just a fabulous resume to Stanford. Though many applicants initially find the roommate essay challenging, many students often report that it is among their favorite college essays once they have completed writing it. With lots of brainstorming, attention to detail, and self-reflection, you can find something unique to say.

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roommate essay 250 words

How to Write the Stanford University Essays 2023-2024

Stanford University was founded in 1885 by California Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their son Leland Jr. It’s a private institution located in the gorgeous heart of the California Bay Area. The exciting buzz of start-up opportunities and entrepreneurial spirit permeates student life on campus, with an impressive offering of excellent STEM and humanities majors.

Stanford has become one of America’s most selective universities, with an admissions rate of 4.4% for the class of 2023. However, starting with the class of 2023, they have decided to stop releasing their admissions statistics . They have publicized that this move is “intended as a small step in reducing the outsized emphasis placed on the admission rates at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Other defining aspects include its status as the second largest campus in the world with over 8,000 acres , its undergraduate enrollment of 7,000 students , and ranking as one of the best colleges in the nation and world.

Stanford’s freshman application asks students to respond to 4 different short questions and 3 relatively longer essay questions as part of their admissions process. CollegeVine is here to provide detailed tips and examples to help you approach Stanford’s supplemental essays.

Read these Stanford essay examples to inspire your own writing.

How to Write the Stanford University Essays

Short Response Questions (50 words)

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  • How did you spend your last two summers? 
  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  • List five things that are important to you.  

Essay Questions (100-250 words)

Prompt 1: The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.

Prompt 2: Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better.

Prompt 3:  Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University.

Before we dive into the specifics of how to answer each of these short prompts, remember that limiting your responses to only 50 words requires writing answers that are straightforward and direct . Be honest with what you write, but also think critically about the different aspects of your personality you are highlighting with each answer. Try to vary the responses so that they don’t all cluster around only one or two activities or themes.

While these answers won’t make your application, they could break it if you use any inappropriate content; be mindful of your audience by choosing tasteful responses. However, overanalyzing what you think the admissions officers want you to write misses the point of showcasing your individuality.

Let’s discuss each question individually.

Want to know your chances at Stanford? Calculate your chances for free right now.

Short Answer 1

What is the most significant challenge that society faces today (50 words).

For this significant challenge question, you might decide to go with a traditional answer but still put a creative spin on it. Avoid picking an obscure or arbitrary topic that is not actually a significant challenge, and also watch out for writing about an issue in overly vague terms. You could write about topics like gender parity, aging populations, skills development, or climate change, but be careful since those topics have the potential to become trite depending on how you address them.

Writing simply about the fact that the challenge exists is also less interesting than if you wrote something referencing momentum in terms of future change, or possibly even past decline. For example, in addressing a topic like pollution, you could talk about how your view is that you believe the greatest challenge will be spreading actionable awareness of the issue to overcome our current apathy, maybe with a brief suggestion on how that could be attained. Doing so would make your answer stand out more than just speaking too generally.

To give another example, if you talked about gender inequality, and suggested focusing on addressing the gender gap within STEM fields more specifically, you would be showing that you think proactively about trying to solve the issue without oversimplifying it. 

Short Answer 2

How did you spend your last two summers (50 words).

Writing about how you spent your last two summers should be pretty direct­­­ — anything you have been involved in is fair game, and showing a variety of interests is again advisable. For example, you could write out a list of the disparate activities like:

“I prepared for and competed in SkillsUSA’s National Skills and Leadership Conference, vacationed in California to visit my family, volunteered at my local food bank, started working at TJ Maxx, hiked with friends, went on family camping trips, tried new cupcake recipes, and helped run a STEM camp for girls.”

This mix of activities allows them to see that you participated in some resume boosters, but also had fun and didn’t just completely restate your activities list section. You could also choose to hone in on just a couple of activities and give them each a bit more explanation instead of solely listing activities. For example:

“Family vacations always feel too long and too short. I melt in the SoCal summer heat, but returning home to cool breezy Washington brings 30-hour retail work weeks, with interspersed respite at the local library. After just finishing SkillsUSA nationals, the challenge to engineer a new invention returns, energizing me.”

This conveys some of the same ideas with a slightly more narrative structure.

Try not to waste space with a lead-in sentence like, “For the last two summers, I have mainly spent my time doing…” because that already uses up 12 of your precious 50 allotted words.

Short Answer 3

What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed (50 words).

If no historical events come to mind after thinking about this prompt for a few minutes, and you’re starting to question whether you learned anything at all in your high school history classes, doing a quick google search of top 100 historical moments is not a terrible idea. However, since many of your peers will likely employ the same strategy to identify their historical event, you should strive to select one that makes sense considering your unique profile and current interests.

For example, if you want to indicate your interest in the techy Silicon Valley, you could write about witnessing the process Hewlett and Packard went through starting their business from their garage because you loved tinkering through your own projects throughout high school. Or if you are interested in history or politics, this is a good place to easily select one of the thousands of moments to tie into your interest. For instance, you could write about the time when Washington rallied his troops and convinced them not to abandon the Continental Army late in 1776, even when things looked just about as bleak as they could get.

The specific moment you choose isn’t extremely relevant, but again remember that if you pick something obscure, it might not qualify as a “historical moment” and may need more than 50 words to describe and add a brief explanation. Here’s an example of incorporating a potential major interest in engineering while going for something out of the box :

“I have always been fascinated by the pyramids and Egyptian culture, although my perception of them has been greatly romanticized by my childhood obsession with The Mummy. I wish that I could have witnessed the pyramids’ amazing and mysterious construction to know the secret of their advanced ancient engineering.”

“When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with NASA. I always had glow-in-the-dark stars above my bed and rocketship sheets. I would love to see the moon landing (especially from the capsule) to experience the awe of seeing a new world.”

You don’t need to directly connect it to a personal reason or specific explanation like these examples did, but noting why you picked this moment allows your response to ultimately feel more memorable .

Short Answer 4

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (50 words).

This prompt gives you a little more space to discuss one of your most meaningful extracurriculars from your activities list.

To pick an activity, think about the one that taught you the most, changed your perspective, or is most unique. If there’s something you haven’t been able to express in other parts of your application, this is your space.

Keep in mind that trying to write about multiple aspects of the activity will be difficult with only 50 words, and it can result in simply reiterating what will already be on your activities list. Pick just one aspect that was most important to you, and highlight that. Feel free to be straightforward rather than artsy, as you have limited space. Also, don’t forget to briefly address what you gleaned from the activity as opposed to simply describing what it was.

For example:

I developed a marketing and sustainability initiative for my family’s grocery store. We gave free monthly workshops on topics like composting and zero waste cooking on a budget, which grew our client base 120%, and spread important ideas. People are interested in living more sustainably; they just need accessible education .

Short Answer 5

List five things that are important to you. (50 words).

This short response question is asking for you to reflect on things that are most important in your life. Keep in mind that these things can be a physical object (like your phone) or a concept or idea (like family or friendship). It’s also important that the items you list relate to ideas that have been represented in the rest of your application to provide a cohesive message across all your application elements. If you were applying for an arts major at Stanford, perhaps you wouldn’t say an important item to you is your model rocketship in your room unless you have previously suggested that your artwork is inspired by space travel and celestial bodies. 

Some questions to help you brainstorm for this prompt include asking yourself: What things from my childhood or daily life bring me joy or purpose? If this thing was missing from my life, would I notice? Why is this thing important to me? What purpose does this thing bring to my life?

You should list out the things that are important to you from 1 to 5. When listing these items that are important to you, you can use any additional word space to briefly describe why the thing is important to you. For example, if you gave your faith as an important thing in your life, you could write “1. My faith: It gives me hope and strength in the face of adversity.”

Here are some additional tips for writing this essay:

  • Be specific. Don’t just say that faith is important to you. Explain what makes your faith so special and why it is so important to you.
  • Be genuine. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. The admissions committee will be able to tell if you’re being fake.
  • Be concise. This is a short essay, so you need to get your point across quickly and effectively.

Essay Prompt 1

The stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words).

As you approach this first longer prompt, think back on all the hours you spent during class, after school during activities, or at home studying. Try to select an experience where you seriously felt that love of learning . Just writing about this idea or realization should make you feel like an extremely happy nerd (you are applying to Nerd Nation after all!). Whether you are someone who approaches standardized testing like it is a thrilling game, or someone who feels so excited after getting through a test that you poured countless hours into studying for, you can really highlight your own drive and intellect through this prompt.

For example, you could write some sort of introduction about deciding to self-study for the AP Physics C tests, then add some analysis like:

…I began to honestly enjoy learning all the new applications for the calculus concepts I had been learning alongside physics, previously unaware of just how intertwined they were. The relationship between position, velocity, and acceleration through derivatives and integrals tied everything together in a way that made so much sense it gave me chills.

After a few study sessions, I began to devour YouTube videos to prepare for the test, and each time I understood a new concept by learning it on my own, I felt more accomplished and intellectually independent. As I worked through practice problems and self-corrected my way across old exams, I felt driven to stop excusing or dismissing my mistakes, and to instead pull them apart by analyzing exactly why I had made them to target and avoid them in the future. This experience improved the way I study and showed me the value of truly mastering knowledge on my own.

This response shows an authentic passion for learning without overloading on narrative. Another solid example that takes a more creative response could look something like this:

“How do you make pianos?

In 4th grade, I entered and won PBS’s Curiosity Quest question contest, resulting in my co-hosting a Curiosity Quest episode at New York’s Steinway and Sons Piano Factory. There I realized for the first time what can be found beyond textbook teachings. I saw the palpable pride the factory had in the heritage that they displayed, and the stunning beauty of a legacy and its centuries of refined knowledge. After that day, it was as if my consciousness had awoken. I resolved to begin creating my own legacy. I spent early morning hours in front of my piano daily, determined to make it my art — all because my curiosity rewarded me with knowledge that expanded the depth and range of just how far I can strive in this world.

Theory of Knowledge teaches of knowledge’s paradox: The more we know, the more we don’t. In retrospect, TOK put into words what I’ve since sensed — this inexplicable duality of filling a void that is ever-expanding. What began as a simple question of how something was made laid the very foundation upon which I’ve grown to ask questions that dig deeper: Why is there more inequality today than a century ago? What, if any, measures can be taken to end the conflicts in the Middle East? How can I further my legacy through striving to address these issues?

And as always, my quest for curiosity will serve to dually nourish and enlighten me, expanding my world once more.

This response from a Stanford 2020 student majoring in International Relations shows the admissions office a thirst for learning without ever just overtly stating it, especially with tying in the childhood anecdote as an excellent hook.

As you approach your own essay, avoid using basic statements like “This made me excited because…” or “An idea that made me genuinely excited about learning was…” since your writing style is extremely important throughout this essay. Compare the two examples above syntactically to see why the essay becomes more engaging with the style of “show not tell” displayed in the latter.

As with all college essays, do not forget that the emphasis is on teaching the admissions officers something about you and why the idea or experience made you so excited; avoid spending too much time explaining the logistics or trying to use excessively flowery language.

Essay Prompt 2

Virtually all of stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better. (100 to 250 words).

The point of this essay is to invoke the casual nature of roommate relationships and invite students to take a more relaxed approach to writing about themselves. It brings the application to life by asking you to write only about your own personality, which feels more open than other essays that ask you to answer a specific question like “Describe your community” or “Talk about a mentor who got you through a difficult time.” While answering both of those prompts still offers insight into who the author is, they are fundamentally centralized around another person or topic, which is why Stanford cuts straight to the chase with this prompt to actually get to know you better.

Stanford is looking for an extremely authentic 250-word portrayal of your character that could distinctly identify you from a crowd of essays. If you got to meet your admissions officer in person, and only had 60 seconds to pitch yourself without using anything from your activities or awards, what would you say first? If you were legitimately writing a letter to your roommate at Stanford, what would you want them to know about the prospect of living with you? If you imagine how your Stanford alumni interview might play out, what topics do you hope to steer towards?

Think deeply about these questions and first see if there is something meaningful that you want to convey, and look through Prompt 3 to see if it would best serve answering the question, “What matters to you, and why?” instead of this roommate prompt. If you do have a more serious answer, you can style the essay like a very formal letter or like a traditional 1-2 paragraph short essay without any of the letter gimmicks at all to stand out syntactically.

If you don’t think you have any important topics on the serious side that you want to specifically cover in the space for this prompt (an extreme medical condition, a family hardship etc.), you could also go for another popular tactic by creating a fun, miscellaneous essay.

This prompt can arguably be one of the most entertaining to write and read of all college supplemental essays because of the opportunity to present the admissions office with an amalgamation of weird topics. A previous CollegeVine guide encouraged students to explore their quirky side with this prompt by writing about unique hobbies or interesting personality oddities. It also advises staying away from things like politics (i.e., don’t indicate which party or ideology you tend to support, even through jokes or minor references, since you don’t want to step on any toes).

Don’t sweat too much over the exact way to put the essay in letter format. Starting with something like “Hi! I am ridiculously stoked to meet you!” or any other straightforward greeting that doesn’t sound too cheesy is totally fine. If you decide to, you can essentially make a bullet list of “fun me facts” if you want to include the maximum amount of content. Remember that this essay should be fun!

Since it is usually hard to come up with good material about your own diverse personality while staring at a blank computer screen, try keeping a note on your phone and adding to it gradually as you think of things throughout the day. Think about what you enjoy and jot down notes like:

I love Sandra Bullock movies. I wish I could stop biting my nails, and sometimes I do, but only until I take a test or watch a freaky movie. I hate doing my laundry and the song ‘Drops of Jupiter.’ I planned myself a Cutthroat Kitchen -themed birthday party last year because I love cooking contest shows. My favorite store is the Dollar Tree, and when I’m there I always feel like I’m getting too much stuff, but when I leave I regret putting stuff back. Before I go to bed, I like to watch clips from Ellen or Jimmy Fallon because I think it gives me funny dreams. I’m attracted to buying gift wrap even if I have no reason for it, a trait I inherited from my mom. I love chicken. I sleep like a rock and unfortunately, that means I need an incredibly loud alarm clock, but I also will never be bothered by late night noise, etc.

You can see by how long this section got just how easy it can be to talk about yourself once you get started…

Try to intersperse some facts that relate to activities you could do together or things that would be important for an actual roommate to know to stay true to the prompt. Juxtaposing random facts might not be the way to go if you feel they are redundant with your short answers or too all over the place for you. Putting together just a few key aspects of your personality and typical habits with more coherent elaboration on each and topping it off with a “Love, your future roomie” holds the potential to become an engaging essay as well.

Here is another example that shows a ton of personality and utilizes a list format:

Ahem…May I make a toast?

First off, I am so pumped to live with you. I don’t have a sibling, so this is as close as it gets! Also, I just wanted you to know…

  • I’m an ENFJ. I’m not nearly as brilliant as Obama or Oprah, but I do fancy the idea of sharing traits with them! ENFJs are “focused on values and vision, passionate about the possibilities for people, tuned into the needs of others, and tend to be optimistic and forward-thinking” — sums up my personality I’d say!
  • I free my mind by exercising and writing. Our campus’s fresh forestry is perfect for morning/night runs/picnics. It would be so fun if you joined!
  • I’m one to stay up all night to chat over coffee and pastries. I’m also one to venture out and walk/bike ten miles for Polaroid pics and yummy eats. Yelp4lyfe.
  • I have a passion for fashion. I love it because style is universal and uniquely personal (read Worn Stories). I have a blog dedicated to learning about global cultures/styles — can’t wait to study abroad!
  • I’m so deeply humbled to be surrounded by exceptional, passionate people like you who are going to rock this world. I had visited Stanford three times before applying, and I had written on my secret blog during my 2nd visit that my heart felt so moved to call this place home one day.

Well, I couldn’t be happier to be home with you.

Name (or nickname)

While this is just one essay (and remember that there are many, many directions you can choose to take your own essay), you can see from this example that showcasing a variety of passions can highlight how multifaceted and genuinely interesting you are. A year from now, you might find yourself cracking up over how weird you sound while exchanging what you wrote with your actual roomie to procrastinate working on your p-sets or essays. We know we did!

Essay Prompt 3

Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to stanford university. (100 to 250 words).

This is a classic example of the Diversity Essay . Your response should focus on your personal background and how your life experiences or cultural traditions provide you with a unique perspective that has influenced your interests and character. Stanford is looking for what makes you unique and how you will share that uniqueness with their community.

Your response should directly answer the question at hand; however, remember to “show, not tell.” A personal narrative is one way to successfully highlight your potential individual contributions to Stanford’s community.

For example, instead of simply saying that you are hardworking and persist despite obstacles, describe a time where you displayed this skill. Perhaps you grew up in the central US where there are seasonal tornadoes and damage to property. You could share a story about how you help rebuild neighbors homes every year after the storms and how you have learned about the value in lending a helping hand to strangers. Or, if you want to discuss your deep connection and commitment to your culture, describe a particular event or custom that has meaning to you that most other applicants would not be aware of. Or maybe you have a strong commitment to sustainability—you could discuss a time you created an initiative to reduce food and plastic waste in your school cafeteria.

Beware that this question is similar to some Common Application prompts. Since the Stanford application is on the Common App, you should use this supplement as a means to communicate something new about yourself to the admissions committee, so avoid discussing topics that you’ve already covered. For example, if your Common Application focused on your analytical mind, consider using this prompt to discuss your compassion for others.

In the remaining space you have in the essay, tie your unique identity back to how you will contribute to Stanford’s campus. If you have a deep connection to your Native American culture, mention how you are excited to be involved with the American Indian Organization at Stanford. 

All in all make sure that the life experience, interest and/or character trait you are sharing in this essay is unique to you and provide evidence to support the unique self that you will bring to campus.

Is Your Stanford Essay Strong Enough?

Do you want feedback on your Stanford essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools.  Find the right advisor for you  to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

If you create incentives for yourself to work on your Stanford University essays early and choose topics that you genuinely care about, then you will end up devoting much more time to them, resulting in more polished essays . Since Stanford admissions are so extremely selective, it places a good deal of pressure on both the content and execution of all 11 essays.

While Stanford has a reputation of being pretty relaxed and laid back, you shouldn’t try to exude that attitude throughout all your essays. Remember that it is the admissions office’s job to read through over 40,000 of these essays each year and discern whether you would be a good fit, so avoid topics that are even vaguely cliché and be brutally honest with yourself about whether you would enjoy the essay you’ve written from an outsider’s perspective.

Overall, do your best to put in the effort on ideas that you feel are unique and still personal/meaningful. Good luck!

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How to Approach Writing the Roommate Essay

Aug 13, 2020

One of the best parts of the college experience is meeting new people, especially the people you’ll be living with once you arrive on campus. For most of you, this will be the first time you’ll be living apart from your family and with complete strangers. Your future roommate, or roommates, will be the people you share your first year experience with – your first orientation week, your first midterms, finals, and everything in between. Colleges know that, and some want to know what your relationship with your future roommate would be like.

In fact, one of the most well-known supplemental essays is the one released by Stanford every year. Here’s the prompt:

Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help you roommate-and us- get to know you better. 

At first glance, this supplemental essay seems relatively “easy” compared to the ones that ask you to detail your greatest accomplishments or obstacles. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is still an essay that will be read by college admissions officers, and must be written with a thoughtful and genuine approach.  Here’s how to approach writing the roommate supplemental essays.

Share unique aspects of your personality that aren’t highlighted in other essays

Although this essay won’t literally be read by the school’s Housing department, it is still a crucial component of your application. Colleges and admissions officers are looking for applicants who can positively contribute to their campus communities.  This prompt provides a space for applicants to reveal unique aspects of their personality and upbringing that may not have been mentioned in previous essays. In addition, seeing how you would interact with another member, or members, of the community shows admissions officers how you’d fit in on campus.

This is the space where you can share your idiosyncrasies and quirks that make you, you. For instance, your personal statement and resume may list out all the amazing accomplishments and achievements you’ve acquired throughout high school, but do they state your favorite midnight snacks and how they keep you going through midterms and finals? Do you listen to Britney Spears during your morning meditation, or write Wikipedia articles in the shower?

What makes these essays successful is not listing out the student’s unique characteristics or traits, but how applicants aim to reconcile their uniqueness with the people they meet on campus. You may be inclined to share everything that is unique to you–your music taste, your favorite foods, your hobbies – but remember, this prompt wants to learn more about you, and what presence you’ll bring to your campus. You can begin brainstorming characteristics you’d like to share with your future roommate, and then draft a note like you would to your own friends. The key to approaching this prompt is by being authentic and genuine in your tone and your writing, which leads to our second point.

Stray away from cliches and trite statements

These prompts typically allow for a maximum of 250 words, which means that there’s not much space to list out everything you may want to share with your future roommate. Every word matters! One of the factors to consider when writing this essay is to stray away from cliches and overused statements. Here are some phrases to avoid:

  • “I’m a people person”
  • “I love meeting new people”
  • “I can’t wait to meet you!”
  • “We’re going to have a great time”
  • “I’m so excited to be moving in”

These phrases take up space on your essay, and don’t reveal who you are as a person and potential member of the campus community. Remember, the roommate prompts want you to share who you are and how you can add to the school, not how excited you are to be moving to your dorms or that you’re really good at making new friends.

Overall, don’t be afraid to approach this prompt with creativity. Show your unique personality, which means sharing your quirks and idiosyncrasies as well as avoiding generic phrases that a thousand other students might include in their essay. Good luck writing!

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5 Successful Stanford Roommate Essay Intros

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roommate essay 250 words

On top of the personal statement, Stanford also asks for 3 additional supplemental essays. One of them, and probably the most well-known Stanford essay prompt that appears year after year, is the letter to your future Stanford roommate:

Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better. (100 to 250 words)

What is an admissions officer looking for in this essay? What can you talk about or what  should  you talk about as a roommate? How personal should you get? Here we have 5 essay intro examples from the most recent application cycles to help you grapple with your writing:

To my future roommate,

I hope this reaches you in good condition and not found underneath a mound of boxes or pinned underneath heavy furniture; in which case, my deepest apologies (and no need to thank me for the exercise). Keep reading .

roommate essay 250 words


Dear Roommate,

Have you ever tried archery? There’s this feeling of complete silence in the mind and body, of harmony between finger and eye and feet, of unity and peace and focus. When I stand in front of my straw-bale range, watching the trees for wind, I’ve learned that the isolation is, truly, the most beautiful gift I can give myself. View full profile .

My name is Tannar, and I cannot touch my tongue to my nose.

I’ll start out by giving you the candid details about my eighteen years upon this wonderful spaceship called Earth. Most notably, I’m known to be a ruthless player of board games (Settlers of Catan in particular), I enjoy exploring the great outdoors, I love Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar, Inception, etc), and one of my most exciting adventures took place on a fog cloaked Mount Thielsen. Continue reading .

roommate essay 250 words

I love rainbow sherbet. Why? Because it’s made out of so many different colors! Though this cold sweet refreshment is perfect on a sweltering day, its assorted colors are what truly make it special. Read on .

Aloha future roommate,

I hope you are a rather humorous individual yourself, because you’re in for a pile of pun… sorry, that was weak. On a more serious note, though, I’ve lived a pretty peculiar life, resulting in quite a few rather quirky habits: Read full essay . 


Interested in reading these students’ full personal statements in addition to their full responses to the Stanford Roommate supplemental prompt? Unlock all of them in one go with our  Stanford Roommate package ! 

roommate essay 250 words

Our  premium plans  offer different levels of profile access and data insights that can help you get into your dream school. Unlock any of our  packages  or search our  undergraduate profile database  to find specific profiles that can help you make an informed choice about where to apply! We have 60,000+ successful college application files uploaded by college students. See how they got in, and how you can too!

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

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How To Answer Stanford's 2023/24 Supplemental Essays: Tips & Insights

How To Answer Stanford's 2023/24 Supplemental Essays: Tips & Insights

What's New in 2023/24

What Are Stanford's Essay Prompts?

Short Answer Questions

Short essay questions.

General Guidelines

Navigating Stanford University's supplemental essays for the 2023/24 admissions cycle? This guide offers step-by-step advice on tackling each question, from the short answers to the more complex essays. We also include general guidelines to help you craft compelling narratives that answer the prompts, showcase your unique character, and fit with Stanford's community. It is ideal for anyone aiming to make their application stand out in a highly competitive pool.

Stanford’s 2023/24 Supplemental Essay Updates: What's Changed?

Gaining admission to Stanford University , with its acceptance rate of approximately 4% , is an unparalleled accomplishment. In the fiercely competitive world of college admissions, your supplemental essays play a pivotal role in showcasing your unique story and alignment with Stanford's values.

Every academic year, prestigious institutions like Stanford fine-tune their application process to ensure they capture a comprehensive view of their potential students. For the 2023/24 admissions cycle, Stanford has implemented a few notable changes to its supplemental essay questions.

In the short answer section, while four prompts remain consistent with previous years, the question about anticipating an experience at Stanford has been substituted with a prompt asking applicants to "List five things that are important to you." This shift indicates a desire to understand applicants' priorities and values on a more personal level.

The short essay section has also seen adjustments. While the prompts about reflecting on personal learning and penning a note to a future roommate continue to feature, Stanford has amalgamated the questions about defining family and discussing something significant. Now, applicants are invited to describe how their life experiences, interests, and character would contribute to the Stanford undergraduate community.

These revisions highlight Stanford's evolving admissions approach, emphasizing understanding the diverse life experiences and intrinsic values applicants would bring to its dynamic undergraduate community.

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What Are Stanford’s Supplemental Essay Prompts for 2023/24?

For the 2023/24 application cycle, Stanford University has thoughtfully designed specific supplemental essay prompts to delve deeper into the profiles of its applicants, complementing the Common App questions. These prompts aim to uncover your societal concerns, personal experiences, academic passions, and how you envision your journey at Stanford.

Stanford's short answer questions provide a snapshot into your perspectives, experiences, and values.

  • Societal Challenge : What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 words)
  • Summer Activities : How did you spend your last two summers? (50 words)
  • Historical Witness : What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 words)
  • Extracurricular Elaboration : Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (50 words)
  • Personal Priorities : List five things that are important to you. (50 words)

These essays provide a deeper insight into your intellectual curiosities, personal experiences, and how you'll contribute to Stanford's vibrant community.

  • Passion for Learning : The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100-250 words)
  • Roommate Introduction : Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — get to know you better. (100-250 words)
  • Distinctive Contribution : Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests, and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University. (100-250 words)

With an acceptance rate hovering around 4% , Stanford's application process is undeniably rigorous. These prompts offer applicants a unique opportunity to showcase their societal insights, personal growth, and the distinct perspectives they'll bring to the Stanford community.

Looking for inspiration? Dive into these Stanford essay examples to see what successful applications look like!

How I Got Into Stanford with Crimson Access Opportunity

How to Answer Stanford’s Short Answer Questions?

What is the most significant challenge that society faces today, - 50 words max.

Stanford seeks students who are not only academically adept but also socially aware and proactive. This question aims to gauge your awareness of global or local challenges and your perspective on their significance . It's an opportunity to showcase your critical thinking and ability to prioritize issues based on their impact.

Selecting a Challenge

The first step is to identify a challenge you genuinely believe is significant. This could be:

  • Environmental issues like climate change or deforestation.
  • Social challenges such as racial inequality, gender discrimination, or mental health stigma.
  • Technological challenges like data privacy concerns or the ethical implications of AI.
  • Economic challenges such as income inequality or unemployment.

Articulating the Significance

Once you've chosen a challenge, delve into why you believe it's the most significant:

  • Scope of Impact : Is it a global issue affecting millions or a local challenge with profound implications?
  • Long-Term Implications : Does the challenge have potential long-term consequences if not addressed?
  • Personal Connection : Perhaps you've witnessed the effects of this challenge firsthand or have been personally affected by it.

Being Concise and Specific

With a 50-word limit, precision is key. Avoid generic statements. Instead, focus on specific aspects of the challenge and its implications.

  • "The digital divide is society's most pressing challenge. As technology advances, those without access are left behind, widening educational and economic disparities."
  • "Mental health stigma is a silent crisis. Many suffer in silence, fearing judgment, which exacerbates the issue and prevents early intervention."

Stanford's first short answer question tests your awareness, perspective, and ability to articulate complex issues succinctly . Choose a challenge you're passionate about, explain its significance, and ensure your response is concise and impactful.

How did you spend your last two summers?

Stanford is interested in how you utilize your free time, as it provides insight into your interests, priorities, and work ethic. This question aims to understand what activities or experiences you value and how you engage with the world when academic commitments are less pressing.

Being Specific and Honest

The key to answering this question effectively is being specific and honest. Instead of saying, "I spent time with family," you could elaborate with, "I explored local hiking trails with my family, fostering my love for environmental science."

Balancing Variety and Depth

You can mention a variety of activities, but remember to be concise. If possible, connect the activities to your intended field of study or personal growth:

  • Academic Pursuits : Did you take any courses, attend workshops, or engage in self-study that aligns with your academic interests?
  • Work Experience : Did you have a job or internship? What skills did you gain, and how did it shape your understanding of a particular field?
  • Volunteering : If you engaged in community service, what impact did it have on you and the community?
  • Personal Interests : Did you engage in any hobbies or personal projects? How did they contribute to your skills or well-being?


Ensure that the experiences you share are appropriate for an academic application. They should be experiences you'd be comfortable sharing with a teacher or in a professional setting.

  • "Last summer, I interned at a local tech startup, honing my coding skills and understanding the dynamics of team collaboration. The previous summer, I volunteered at a food bank, which deepened my awareness of food insecurity issues."
  • "I spent one summer taking a creative writing course, which fueled my passion for storytelling. The other was dedicated to a family road trip across historical sites, enriching my love for history."

Stanford's second short answer question seeks to understand how you use your free time to engage in meaningful activities or personal growth . Be specific, honest, and appropriate in your response, and if possible, connect your activities to your broader goals or interests.

What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?

Stanford is keen to explore your intellectual curiosity and how you relate to history, whether it's a globally recognized event or a personal moment in time. This question aims to understand what you find significant or intriguing in the tapestry of human experience .

Unleashing Your Imagination

Don't limit yourself to textbook historical events. This is an opportunity to showcase your unique interests. Whether it's a monumental event like the signing of the Declaration of Independence or something more personal or niche, like a family event or a lesser-known cultural phenomenon, the key is to pick something that genuinely interests you.

Exploring the 'Why'

Once you've chosen the event, delve into why you wish you could have witnessed it.

  • What do you think you would learn or gain from the experience?
  • Would it offer insights into contemporary issues, personal growth, or your field of study?

The 'why' is as important as the 'what' in this question.

Timing and Context

Consider the timing of the event. Would it be a moment that lasts a few minutes, like witnessing a groundbreaking scientific discovery, or something more prolonged, like being present during a significant cultural festival? The duration and setting can add another layer of depth to your answer.

  • "I wish I could have witnessed the Women's Suffrage Parade of 1913. Seeing the courage and unity of women fighting for their rights would deepen my understanding of the struggles that paved the way for the freedoms I have today."
  • "I'd love to have been in the audience at the premiere of Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring.' The riot it incited speaks volumes about the power of art to challenge societal norms, something still relevant today."

Stanford's third short answer question is an invitation to share your intellectual or personal interests through the lens of history . Be imaginative and specific, and focus on the event and why witnessing it would be significant to you. This is a chance to offer a glimpse into what excites your curiosity and how you relate to the world and its history.

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.

Stanford wants to see a fuller picture of who you are beyond academics . This question explores another facet of your life you're passionate about or committed to. It's an opportunity to showcase your skills, values, and contributions in a different context.

Choosing the Right Experience

Select an experience you haven't elaborated on in other parts of your application. It could be an extracurricular activity , a part-time job, or even family responsibilities. The key is to choose something that has significantly impacted you and ideally contrasts with your intended major to show the breadth of your interests.

Narrative Over Summary

Instead of listing what you've done, focus on a specific anecdote that encapsulates the essence of your involvement. Describe a moment that was pivotal or enlightening in that experience. This makes your answer more engaging and provides a deeper insight into your role and its significance.

What You Bring to the Table

Discuss the skills or values you've gained from this experience. Whether it's leadership in a club, responsibility in a family setting, or problem-solving in a job, highlight how these skills have shaped you and how they could be applied in a Stanford context.

  • "As the editor of our school newspaper, I once had to navigate a controversial article submission. Balancing freedom of speech with the potential for harm taught me the delicate art of ethical journalism."
  • "Working in a family-owned restaurant taught me the value of hard work and customer service. It also fueled my passion for business analytics, as I started to see how data-driven decisions could improve our operations."

Stanford's fourth short answer question is a window into your life outside the classroom. Focusing on a specific anecdote and the lessons learned can provide a more vivid and meaningful picture of your extracurricular involvement or responsibilities . This is your chance to show Stanford another layer of who you are and what you could bring to their community.

List five things that are important to you.

This prompt is a straightforward yet revealing way for Stanford to understand your priorities, values, and interests . It's a snapshot of what matters most to you, from personal beliefs to hobbies, relationships, or aspirations.

Selecting Your Five Things

Choose items that genuinely resonate with you and ideally offer a well-rounded view of who you are. The list can include a mix of the profound and the seemingly mundane as long as they are genuinely important to you.

Be Authentic, Be You

This is not the time to list what you think Stanford wants to hear. Authenticity is key. Your list should reflect your true self, as it offers another layer of understanding about you that might not be evident in other parts of your application.

  • Family: The cornerstone of my life and my biggest support system.
  • Environmental Sustainability: A cause I'm deeply committed to, both in lifestyle choices and activism.
  • Music: A universal language that brings me joy and emotional expression.
  • Intellectual Curiosity: The driving force behind my academic and personal endeavors.
  • Humor: A necessary tool for navigating life's ups and downs.

Stanford's fifth short answer question is a quick but insightful look into your values and interests. By carefully selecting the five genuinely important things to you, you offer Stanford a glimpse into what drives you, what you care about, and what kind of community member you would be .

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How to Answer Stanford’s Short Essay Questions?

The stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning., - 100 to 250 words.

Stanford is looking for students who are both academically competent and passionately curious. This essay aims to delve into what genuinely excites you about learning , whether it's a specific subject, a method of inquiry, or an experiential learning opportunity.

Identifying Your Idea or Experience

Begin by pinpointing the idea or experience that genuinely excites you about learning. This could be:

  • A subject matter that you are passionate about but haven't had the chance to explore in a formal educational setting.
  • An experience that sparked your curiosity and led you to further exploration or research.
  • A methodology or form of inquiry that you find particularly stimulating.

Narrating the Discovery Journey

Discuss how you came across this idea or experience. Was it through a book, a mentor, an internship, or perhaps a personal experience? If you faced any obstacles or discouragement in pursuing this interest, this is a good place to discuss it.

Connecting to Stanford's Learning Environment

Now, consider how you would continue to explore this interest at Stanford. Would it be through specific courses, research opportunities, or clubs? Are there professors you're excited to work with or facilities you're eager to use?

Formulating Questions and Research Approaches

Discuss the kinds of questions this topic raises for you and how you might go about answering them. Whether it's through lab experiments, fieldwork, or theoretical analysis, indicate how you envision your learning journey unfolding at Stanford.

Collaborative Learning

Stanford values collaborative learning. Briefly touch upon how you see yourself engaging with peers, professors, or even external communities to deepen your understanding of the topic.

Stanford's first short essay question is an opportunity to showcase your intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. By detailing an idea or experience that excites you and connecting it to Stanford's resources and community, you demonstrate not just your passion but also how you would contribute to the intellectual vitality of the campus. Approach this essay with a focus on specificity, authenticity, and a clear vision of your academic journey at Stanford .

Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — get to know you better.

Stanford wants to get a glimpse of who you are outside of your academic and extracurricular achievements. This essay is a chance to showcase your personality, quirks, and the unique traits that make you, you .

Setting the Tone

Approach this essay as if you're writing a letter to a friend. The tone should be conversational; you can incorporate humor, vulnerability, or even self-deprecation to make it engaging and relatable.

Sharing Personal Anecdotes

Instead of using adjectives to describe yourself, share specific anecdotes or experiences that reveal something about you. This could be:

  • A ritual or tradition that's important to you.
  • A hobby or interest that you're passionate about.
  • A challenge you've faced and how you dealt with it.

Examples for Inspiration

  • If you have a religious practice, you could talk about how you adapted it during a school trip, perhaps waking up early to pray without disturbing others.
  • If you love aesthetics, you might mention how you can't resist picking flowers from your neighborhood to make your space more beautiful.

Incorporating Humor or Poignancy

Feel free to incorporate humor or poignant moments to make the essay memorable. Whether it's a funny story about a family vacation gone wrong or a touching moment from a community service trip, these details help paint a fuller picture of who you are.

Living Together

Since this is a letter to a future roommate, consider mentioning how you approach shared living spaces. Are you neat or messy? An early riser or a night owl? This adds another layer of personal insight.

Stanford's second short essay question offers a unique opportunity to showcase your personality in a more informal setting. By sharing specific anecdotes and experiences, you not only help your future roommate get to know you but also give Stanford a more comprehensive view of what you'll bring to its community . Approach this essay with authenticity, vulnerability, and a dash of humor to make it memorable.

Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University.

Stanford wants to understand how you will contribute to its diverse and vibrant community. This prompt allows you to showcase the unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives you bring to the table .

Defining Your Community

Start by identifying a community you are a part of . This could be anything from a school club, a sports team, a religious group, or even a community of hobbyists. What binds this community together? Is it a shared goal, a common interest, or collective challenge?

Your Role in the Community

Once you've defined the community, focus on your role within it. Are you a leader, a supporter, a motivator, or perhaps a creative mind? How have you contributed to this community, and what impact have you had?

  • If you've been part of a mentoring program, you could discuss how you nurtured that relationship over the years, the challenges you faced, and the growth you observed in yourself and your mentee.
  • If you started a club in school, you could talk about how it originated from a common interest, how it grew, and what steps you've taken to ensure its continuity after you leave for college.

Connecting to Stanford

Now, tie these experiences back to how you will contribute to Stanford.

  • Will you bring your leadership skills to a student organization?
  • Will your creative thinking contribute to classroom discussions?
  • Will your commitment to service find a new avenue on campus?

Character Traits

Don't forget to mention character traits that enable you to make these contributions. Are you empathetic, resilient, innovative, or collaborative? Use specific examples to demonstrate these traits.

Stanford's third short essay question is your chance to showcase how your unique life experiences, interests, and character will enrich the Stanford community. Focusing on your role in a specific community and how you've contributed to it provides a glimpse into how you'll engage with the Stanford community. Approach this essay with introspection and authenticity to effectively convey your potential contributions .

General Guidelines for Answering Stanford's Supplemental Essay Questions

  • Research and Specificity : Stanford's essay prompts are designed to gauge your fit within its diverse and intellectually vibrant community. Be specific about courses, professors, or extracurricular activities that excite you. Mentioning these details shows that you've done your homework and that you're genuinely interested in Stanford.
  • Show Self-awareness : Stanford values students who are reflective and self-aware. Whether you're discussing a societal challenge, your summer activities, or your future roommate, always tie it back to what these experiences or thoughts reveal about you.
  • Diversity of Thought : Stanford prides itself on a diverse student body that brings many perspectives to campus. Highlight how your unique experiences, viewpoints, or background will contribute to this diversity of thought.
  • Be Authentic : Authenticity is crucial. Don't write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Your genuine interests, challenges, and aspirations will always make a more profound impression.
  • Quality Over Quantity : With strict word limits, focusing on depth rather than breadth is essential. Choose a few points and explore them fully to give the admissions committee a more detailed picture of who you are.
  • Narrative Storytelling : A compelling narrative can make your essay stand out. Whether you're describing a historical event you wish you'd witnessed or explaining what brings you joy, storytelling techniques can make your essay more engaging and memorable.
  • Proofread and Revise : Your essays should be well-crafted and error-free. Beyond grammar and spelling, ensure your essay flows well and effectively communicates your message. Consider seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or friends.
  • Connect to the Bigger Picture : Always relate your answers back to your potential contributions to the Stanford community and how Stanford will help you achieve your personal and academic goals. This shows that you're not just thinking about admission but also about how you'll fit into the Stanford community long-term.
  • Embrace the Challenge : These essays are your opportunity to present a fuller picture of yourself beyond just grades and test scores. Use them to show why you and Stanford would be a mutually beneficial match.

Stanford's supplemental essays provide a platform to express your individuality, aspirations, and suitability for the university. By carefully crafting your responses and connecting them to Stanford's resources and ethos, you can effectively demonstrate why you would be a valuable addition to the Stanford community.

For more inspiration, you might want to explore examples of successful Stanford essays to understand what makes an application truly stand out.

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Final Thoughts

Embarking on the journey to Stanford is about more than just academic excellence; it's about crafting a narrative that deeply resonates with Stanford's unique ethos and the admissions committee. Your supplemental essays offer a unique lens into your character, aspirations, and the distinct contributions you'll make to the Stanford community.

Every Stanford hopeful has a unique story to tell. This is your golden opportunity to narrate yours. Approach your essays with authenticity, introspection, and a genuine enthusiasm for your narrative.

If you're uncertain whether your essay truly encapsulates your essence or if it will distinguish you amidst the sea of applications, our essay review service is here to assist. Our seasoned experts will meticulously review and provide feedback, ensuring your essay strikes a chord with Stanford's admissions officers.

Want some helpful inspiration? Explore our ebook and discover essays from students like you who have secured places at elite institutions. And for those aiming for Stanford, our collection of successful Stanford essay examples will offer invaluable insights.

For those at the onset of their college application journey, consider booking a free consultation with our experienced college counselors. We're committed to guiding you in crafting an application that amplifies your chances of walking through Stanford's iconic arch. Your dream of becoming a Stanford Cardinal is attainable, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

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What Makes Crimson Different

Key Resources & Further Reading

  • Everything you need to know about US Application Supplemental Essays
  • Acing your College Application Essay: 5 Expert Tips to Make it Stand Out from the Rest
  • How to Tackle Every Type of Supplemental Essay
  • 2023-24 Common App Essay Prompts
  • What are the Most Unusual US College Supplemental Essay Prompts?

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How to Write the Stanford Supplemental Essays 2023–2024

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With a professorship roster including 19 Nobel laureates, nearly 900 student organizations, and a gorgeous campus in the heart of California’s Bay Area, Stanford University is an easy pick for many students’ dream school. Its acceptance rate, however – 3.68% for the class of 2026 – is a more daunting statistic to swallow. Don’t get discouraged! We’re here to help you take your best shot at getting into Stanford , starting by teaching you how to write the Stanford supplemental essays.

Stanford University campus

Students admitted to Stanford report an average unweighted GPA of 3.96 , an average SAT score of 1505 , and an average ACT of 34 . In other words, at universities like Stanford, top-notch academics are the norm rather than the exception. You’ll need to count on more than just your GPA and standardized test scores to stand out – which is where your essays come in.

Stanford asks you to respond to 5 short-answer prompts, 3 long-answer prompts for a total of 8 essays – double what most other universities require. While means you have twice the writing to do, it also means you have twice the opportunity to show admissions officials your unique strengths as an applicant. With that in mind, let’s have a look at Stanford’s 8 supplemental essay prompts for the 2023-2024 application cycle.

Stanford’s 2023–2024 Prompts

Short response (50 words).

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  • How did you spend your last two summers?
  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  • List five things that are important to you.

Essay Prompts (100-250 words)

  • The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.
  • Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.
  • Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University.

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General Tips

For the 5 short-answer prompts, you’ll only have 50 words to convey a meaningful response. Avoid restating the question and trim unnecessary connector words to make the most of your word count. You can also improve concision by replacing conjunctions and clunky transition phrases with colons, semicolons, and em dashes.

The first example below is an instance of choppy, overly verbose writing.

Ex. 1 : “I think that the most significant challenge that society faces today is improper urban planning. Improper urban planning can result in a surprising number of issues, including noise pollution, increased fossil fuel output, and overcrowding.”

The second example cleans it up using the tips we’ve just discussed.

Ex. 2: “Improper urban planning may sound like a niche issue, but it encompasses a surprising number of society’s challenges – from noise pollution, to fossil fuel output, to overcrowding.”

You have more wiggle room with the reflection – 50-150 words – and even more for the long essay prompts – 100-250 words . Still, you should strive for concision to improve your essay’s flow. Unnecessary fluff and run-on sentences will confuse your reader no matter the length of the essay.

Wherever possible, write your essays on topics you haven’t discussed elsewhere in your application. If an admissions official sees your math team in your activities transcript, and then reads three short responses about the same math team, they may see you as a one-note applicant. Instead, try to vary your essay topics and take advantage of any opportunities to discuss an activity or interest that isn’t reflected in your transcript.

Finally, before we move to a prompt-by-prompt breakdown of the Stanford supplemental essays, here are two tips to keep in mind for both your short-responses and long-answer essays.

One, detail is key. Instead of telling admissions officials that your 10th-grade swim team was important to you, tell admissions officials about the swim meet where you came last in freestyle, motivating you to practice for months and earn first place at the next meet. Especially in your long-answer essays, detailed anecdotes are an excellent way to craft an engaging narrative.

Two, write essays that tell admissions officials about you . This may seem like obvious advice, but some of Stanford’s prompts ask about topics that don’t relate to you directly. Even so, you need to connect these topics to your own perspective. Instead of reciting to Stanford admissions officials impressive statistics about their own school, tell them why it excites you that Stanford has nearly 900 student organizations. Instead of flatly describing the challenges climate change poses to society, tell your reader how these specific challenges have impacted your own life and what you’ve done to help solve them.

With these higher-level tips out of the way, let’s move on to a prompt-by-prompt breakdown of the Stanford supplemental essays.

Stanford’s Short-Responses

What is the most significant challenge that society faces today (50 words).

A good response to this short-answer prompt will clearly identify one significant challenge society faces, with unique insight into its problems and potential solutions. Remember, detail is key – even if you pick a broader topic, you can still explore that topic in a way that sets your response apart from other students.

Let’s say the challenge you’ve chosen is economic inequality. Rather than stating in vague terms that poverty is an issue, you might propose building more homeless-friendly public architecture to combat the dangers poverty poses – and if you connect your response to the public architecture you see in your own community, even better. By going into detail on a specific issue, proposing a solution, and connecting it to your own experience, you’ve shown admissions officials you’re a conscientious and observant student who can bring those qualities to their campus community in turn.

How did you spend your last two summers? (50 words)

Instead of going into exhaustive detail on this short prompt, try to consider themes – what skills or personal experiences did you focus on developing over the last two summers? Can you group your different activities together under an overarching goal you’ve been working towards? If so, you’ll be able to include a wide variety of activities while keeping your response cohesive, and giving admissions officials a sense of your long-term plans.

Ex. 1 : “Last summer, I played basketball with my city’s team and volunteered for a school board chair’s campaign. The summer before that, I worked at a Columbia Sportswear in the local mall.”
Ex. 2: “For me, these last two summers were all about connecting with my community – sweating it out with my city’s basketball team, tamping down campaign signs for a school board candidate, and showing a friendly face to customers at the mall’s Columbia Sportswear.”

Like the last prompt, you’ll also want to try thinking outside the box for your response. Don’t just consider extracurricular activities, jobs, or volunteer experiences – did you travel anywhere interesting? Did you make any long-lasting personal connections? Did you learn any valuable life lessons? Keep your word limit in mind – but even if you don’t have a lot of formal activities to recount, you still did something over the past two summers. Try to tell admissions officials more about yourself by highlighting the experiences that were most meaningful to you.

What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 words)

Prompts like these can be tricky if an idea doesn’t come to mind right away. Try to choose a moment that’s widely recognizable so you don’t have to waste words giving context, but unique and relevant to your specific interests. You might wish you were in the audience for Shakespeare’s first production of Macbeth , or at a 1980’s board meeting when Shigeru Miyamoto first pitched his idea for Super Mario Bros . Remember, you have a wide range of history to work with!

Some other questions to consider: are there any historical mysteries you wish you could solve, like the disappearance of Amelia Earhart? Do you have any historical role models? When you read or watch historical fiction, what time period do you go for? Try to have fun with this prompt – a creative answer will go a long way toward making efficient use of your 50 words.

Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (50 words)

This prompt gives you an opportunity to dig a little deeper into a job or activity you’ve listed on your transcript. Ideally, this should be an activity you didn’t mention in Prompt #2 – as always, you want to avoid repetition wherever possible so you don’t appear single-faceted.

Try to choose an activity you’ve put a lot of time and passion into. If you’ve changed as a person through the friends you made at chess club, or your role in a political advocacy group completely changed your perspective, tell that story here! Narratives of personal growth make for effective college essays in general – admissions officials want to invite students who are open to learning and changing over time – so keep an eye out for any you’ve experienced in your past activities. Of course, the 50-word limit is still looming, so make sure you clearly identify the narrative you want to tell before distilling it into 2-3 sentences.

The last part of this prompt also gives an opportunity to discuss family responsibilities, an activity you may not have been able to get into elsewhere. Looking after your baby brother, helping your aunt renovate her new home, and cooking meals for a parent who works late may not be activities you’d put on your resume, but they’re still important activities that can help round out your background. If something immediately comes to mind, consider taking advantage of the opportunity this prompt gives you to discuss it.

List five things that are important to you. (50 words)

This prompt breaks from the standard short-response format and asks you to provide a list instead. Take advantage of this formatting break to save on your word count! Consider using a numbered or bulleted list – maybe even ordering your items from least to greatest importance.

Beyond the formatting, the content of this question is vague – on purpose. A lot of things might be important to you, from your custom-built PC, to a deeply-held value, to a close family member. Vary your answers to show you can think outside the box, and give a wide-spanning overview of your personal qualities. If you can, make each of your five things fall under a different category.

Some categories to consider: objects that are important to you; people; specific personal values (i.e. not just “gender equality,” but perhaps “holding the door for anyone who comes through, regardless of gender”); abilities; aspirations; places you love to visit.

Stanford’s Essay Prompts

The stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100-250 words).

For this first longer essay prompt, anecdotes are your best friend . Was there a moment in class when you realized you were no longer learning to pass a test, but because you found the subject genuinely fascinating? Can you recall the first time your favorite hobby captivated your interest? If so, opening your essay in that moment will immediately draw readers in and engage them with your perspective.

From there, you can spend time showing your reader why you find your favorite subject/hobby so fascinating, and what you’ve done to pursue it. The idea here is to show admissions officials your enthusiasm for learning at its peak – if your reader can sense your excitement through the page, then you’re doing a great job with this prompt. Again, narratives of personal growth are a great way to craft an engaging essay, so try to illustrate how you actually did learn beyond just feeling excited.

Here’s an example essay to help you get a feel for this prompt, as well as the larger word limit:

“There’s no such thing as talent, only hard work.” Coming from anyone else, these words would’ve sounded cheap – but as I looked over my older sister’s shoulder at the sketches she was etching in her notepad, I was breathtaken. I couldn’t believe those life-like characters – the expressive work of a professional comic artist – were something I could learn to do with hard work. From that moment, I resolved to draw one sketch a day. I looked up online courses on anatomy, perspective, and shading, and made my own disastrous renditions of the tutorials that popped up. Some nights, even though my eyes stung from looking at the page, I refused to go to bed without completing my daily sketch. When my brother bought a drawing tablet, he immediately regretted saying I could borrow it whenever I wanted. I had a whole new skillset to learn: digital art, with all its quirks and conveniences. Slowly, I began producing work I was proud to look back on, my character sketches starting to look like they could just maybe stand on the same page as my sister’s. Now, with three sketchbooks scattered haphazardly around my desk as I type, I’m so grateful to my sister for teaching me about hard work early on. I’m happy with where I am in my artistic journey, but I know I still have heaps to learn – and I’m excited to begin that learning process all over again with the next tutorial I click.

Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better. (100-250 words)

For your second long-answer essay, you’ll answer either this prompt OR Prompt 3 below . Try brainstorming a few ideas for both prompts, and going with the prompt you can describe in more compelling detail.

This prompt challenges you to shake up the essay format with a more personal, casually formatted letter. While earlier essays showed off your interests, activities, and background, this prompt aims to find out who you really are in your day-to-day life. While your tone should still be polite – and your sentences grammatically correct – feel free to take a more playful, informal approach to this essay . What music will your roommate likely overhear blaring at max volume from your earbuds? What eccentricities should they expect from living with you?

Your response also shows admissions officials how you might interact with other members of the Stanford community. Try to think about what kind of relationship you’d like to have with your roommate, and how that reflects more broadly with how you’d like to interact with other Stanford students. Would you want to host dorm room study sessions? Are you hoping your roommate will tell you about courses and clubs you might not otherwise have known about? Details along these lines can show admissions officials you plan to engage intellectually with other community members – but again, don’t be afraid to talk about the more casual aspects of your ideal roommate relationship.

You can also get a little more creative with your essay’s format for this prompt. A letter format may be the most obvious, but you might also try out a bulleted list of things your roommate should know, or a memo you left on your roommate’s desk before leaving for class.

Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University. (100-250 words)

Lots of applicants give huge laundry lists of reasons they want to go to Stanford – the intellectual prestige, the academic resources, the vast opportunities for extracurricular engagement. Here, you need to think the other way around. If Stanford’s community can contribute tons to your college experience, what can you contribute to Stanford’s community?

You might be tempted to answer the prompt straight away, but remember – avoid restating the question, and consider your essay’s narrative structure as a whole. Instead of:

I can make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate at Stanford by drawing on my unique perspective as a first-generation college student. Because of my hard work and resourcefulness which I learned by seeking out help through the college application process, I’ll be able to make meaningful connections in the community and succeed even in the face of adversity.

Try structuring your essay more along the lines of this:

In my junior year of high school, I had no idea how to begin the college application process. Neither of my parents attended college, and I didn’t know anyone who could help – so I learned to reach out on my own. I started by researching my school’s faculty page to find our guidance counselor, then arranged a meeting with her to catch me up to speed on the process. Even though I started a head behind other students in my class, I learned how to be resourceful and ask for help – and now, as a prospective Stanford student, I’ll bring that resourcefulness to campus by forging connections in the community and uplifting other first-generation students like me.

By describing your personal experiences first – ideally in an anecdote – you can answer the prompt more confidently in your later paragraphs. Plus, you can grab your reader’s attention and stand out among other applicants who answer the question in a more typical fashion.

If you need help polishing up your Yale supplemental essays, check out our  College Essay Review  service. You can receive detailed feedback from Ivy League consultants in as little as 24 hours.

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How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

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Stanford’s Supplemental Essays

  • Post author By Top Tier Admissions
  • Post date August 25, 2023
  • No Comments on Stanford’s Supplemental Essays


Stanford’s 2023-2024 supplemental essays include one of our all-time favorite prompts, the notorious “roommate essay.” Stanford asks applicants to “Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – get to know you better.” This is a tough question to answer in only 250 words! But even this short essay provides you with an important opportunity to showcase your unique interests, hobbies, and background.

Check out this sample roommate essay from a Top Tier alum:


We’re building a telescope observatory together.  Here’s the plan :   Phase #1: I’ll bring my red plastic telescope that’s lying on my balcony at home. We can start off with dorm-roof stargazing sessions to get ourselves familiar with the constellations. I’m planning on doing some research at KAVLI, so that should come in handy when we’re learning about distant galaxies. And I’ve already started talking to the kids from the Stanford Astronomical Society. They’re more than happy to help us out. Phase #2: All we need is a good hill. We’ll talk to local Cardinals to narrow down our options. For now, I’ve found three possible candidates here in Palo Alto. One might be out of the picture though–it takes four bus rides to get there. I’ve mapped out the altitudes for the other two. They’re spots that are both elevated for clear astrology sessions and comfortable enough for post-midnight philosophical debates. Phase #3: We need materials and brain power. I’ve already got the mirrors and plastic, but we need an engineer to create our rotating dome. Are you up for the challenge? I could give the programming a shot–I’ve tried developing iPhone apps before. Also, I’m warning you early: post-it notes with design plan scribbles will completely litter our dorm. Phase #4: Now, the finishing touches–hosting a welcome gathering. It’ll be complete with some s’mores brownies–the only edible creation I know how to make–and my collection of fusion jazz artists. I’ll also invite my native siblings from the Romanians Student Association too. If we need to wait for the sun to set, let’s just organize a game of Ultimate.   We’re not looking to create anything that rivals SLAC’s state-of-the-art technology. Just our little neighborhood hangout spot. Your future roommate, Jack


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SHORT QUESTIONS 1. What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (Max: 50 words)

2. How did you spend your last two summers? (Max: 50 words)

3. What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (Max: 50 words)

4. Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (Max: 50 words)

5. List five things that are important to you. (Max: 50 words)

SHORT ESSAYS 1. The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (Max: 250 words)

2. Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – get to know you better. (Max: 250 words) 3. Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University. (Max: 250 words)

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, stanford roommate essay - what to write.

Hi guys! I'm applying to Stanford and I'm really stressed about the roommate essay. Can someone give me a few tips on what to include and how to make it feel genuine and unique? Thanks a lot!

Hi there! No worries, I'm here to help you with some tips to make your Stanford roommate essay genuine and unique.

1. Be true to yourself: When writing the essay, it's essential to be authentic. Write about things you genuinely enjoy, your habits, and quirks that make you who you are. Try to convey your personality and character in a friendly, conversational tone.

2. Engage your reader: Begin your essay with an interesting and engaging opener—an anecdote, a question, or a surprising fact. This will not only capture the attention of your (hypothetical) roommate, but also the admissions officer.

3. Show, don't tell: Instead of merely stating your interests, hobbies, or characteristics, demonstrate them by providing specific examples, details, or experiences that showcase your personality.

4. Make it conversational: The roommate essay should be written as if you're talking to a new friend, so keep the tone casual, friendly, and even a bit humorous if it comes naturally to you. Refrain from using overly formal language or any jargon.

5. Maintain balance: Since this essay is about showcasing your personality, strike a balance between personal and academic interests. Mention how your hobbies and activities have contributed to your growth, both inside and outside the classroom.

6. Avoid clichés: Steer clear of cliché topics or statements, which can make your essay feel generic. Try to come up with unique and fresh ideas, as this is your opportunity to give the admissions officer an insight into the person behind the application.

7. Be concise: While you want to provide enough details to make your essay engaging, avoid overloading it with long-winded explanations or anecdotes. Keep it focused and relevant, as there's a word limit you'll need to adhere to.

8. Proofread and edit: Last but not least, make sure to thoroughly proofread your essay for any errors, inconsistencies, or awkward phrasings. Consider asking a trusted friend or family member to read it and offer feedback or suggestions.

An example of how to frame an essay topic could be your passion for baking. Instead of simply stating that you love to bake, share an anecdote about the time you baked dozens of cookies for your classmates during finals season as a stress-reliever, and talk about how you're excited to share this hobby with your new roommate at Stanford.

There are a couple examples of this essay in this blog post:

Remember, this essay is your chance to paint a picture of who you are to your future roommate—and the admissions committee. So, be genuine, engaging, and let your personality shine through. Good luck!

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Stanford Essays Examples

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Stanford Essays Examples – Introduction

Located in sunny California, Stanford is a top choice school for many students. In this guide, we’ll look at the Stanford supplemental essays. Then, we’ll review some Stanford essays examples and discuss how they can help you write your own Stanford essay.

Stanford is ranked as one of the best colleges in the US , and for good reason. Students are in control of their learning, whether that means exploring STEM research opportunities or double majoring thanks to Stanford’s quarter system .

It’s no surprise that with Stanford’s popularity, it is a hard school to get into. According to US News, the Stanford acceptance rate is just 4%. The Stanford acceptance rate also ranks Stanford among the most selective schools, so receiving a Stanford acceptance letter is no small feat. 

As you begin the Stanford application process, it can be helpful to review Stanford essays that worked. Then, you can apply the tools from these Stanford essays examples to your own writing.

Our guide to the Stanford essays examples will include:

  • The number of Stanford essays to expect on the application
  • What matters to you and why Stanford essay examples
  • Stanford roommate essay examples, and more!

How many essays does Stanford require?

stanford essay examples

There are eight required Stanford supplemental essays for 2022-23 applicants .

While eight Stanford essays may seem like a lot, remember that not all the Stanford essays are full-length essays, like the two-to-five-page essays you write for class or the 650-word personal statement you will write for the Common Application. Your Stanford essays help the admissions team get to know you. 

Before we dive into some Stanford supplemental essays examples, let’s think about the Stanford essay prompts. Unlike other schools that only require applicants to write one or two supplemental essays , Stanford requires students to answer multiple short answer and short essay prompts.

Put simply, your Stanford essays help the admissions team learn about you on your own terms.  Just wait until you read our Stanford roommate essay examples – how many college applications ask you to write a letter to your future roommate?

There are two types of Stanford essays: short answer and short essay. 

Stanford short answer.

Short answer Stanford essays can only be 50 words max , so they are only a few sentences long. As you’ll see in our Stanford supplemental essays examples, 50 words is not a lot of space. When answering the short answer Stanford essays, you’ll need to learn how to use your words carefully to make a clear and memorable impact on your reader.

Before you’ve read some Stanford essays examples, you may think these types of Stanford essays don’t allow students much room to express their thoughts and ideas. Later, when we look at Stanford essays that worked, you’ll see just how creative you can be when answering the short answer Stanford essays.

Stanford Short Essay

The short essays are slightly longer. These Stanford essays are between 100 and 250 words long , so you can expect these Stanford essays prompts to be more comprehensive than the short answer prompts. As you read our why Stanford essay examples, note that they fall into this category. Instead of being quick snapshots, the Stanford essays that worked will have more of a narrative , taking the reader through a beginning, middle, and end.

No matter if you are responding to the short essay or short answer Stanford essays, make sure you answer the prompts completely. As the admissions team reviews your Stanford essays, they’ll quickly notice whether you successfully answer the prompt . That means if there is a “what” and “why” section of the prompt, your Stanford essay should thoroughly address both.

By now, you’re probably ready to get into some Stanford essays that worked. First, let’s take a look at the prompts behind our Stanford supplemental essays examples.

What are the Stanford essay prompts?

Next up is the Stanford essay prompts. As previously mentioned, Stanford supplemental essays are two lengths: up to 50 words or 100-250 words. 

Since the Stanford essays are so short, you might think they matter less. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Stanford is a prestigious and selective school. So, Stanford Admissions will expect your most thoughtful and well-executed responses to their questions.

Currently, there are three Stanford short essays (100-250 words) and five short answer Stanford essay prompts (50 words max). These prompts are subject to change each year, so make sure you’ve done your research and found the most up-to-date prompts on Stanford’s application and essays page for first-year applicants and transfer applicants .

Note that some of the Stanford essay examples in this guide are from previous admissions cycles. This means that your Stanford application may ask you to complete a slightly different prompt than you’ll see in our Stanford essays examples. While some of the examples included in this guide may not reflect the current Stanford essay prompts, they can still help you complete your Stanford application.

The short answer Stanford supplemental essay prompts (50 words max) include:

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  • How did you spend your last two summers?
  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  • Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.

The longer Stanford supplemental essay prompts (100-250 words) include:

  • The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.
  • Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.
  • Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.

Before we dive into the Stanford essays examples we’ve provided below, let’s start thinking about what it takes to write a great Stanford essay.

roommate essay 250 words

How do I write a good Stanford essay?

Just like there is no easy answer to how to get into Stanford, there is no easy answer to how to write a good Stanford essay. Our Stanford supplemental essays examples are all as different and unique as the students that wrote them. You’ll especially notice this once we start looking at Stanford essays that worked (like our what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples). While these Stanford essay examples all respond to the same prompt, each is unique.

That being said, when you look at different Stanford essays examples, you’ll start to notice they have some things in common. All of our Stanford essays examples clearly and concisely answer all aspects of the prompt. They do so in an engaging and specific voice that reflects some element of the writer’s character. This may include their creativity, humor, intellect, or values.

Overall, good Stanford essays examples will reflect positively on who a student is and why they’d be a good fit for Stanford. Part of Stanford’s vision is making a difference, so don’t be afraid to keep that in mind when reviewing our Stanford essays examples.

Stanford Essay Examples

Now, let’s jump into our Stanford supplemental essays examples. Rather than showing you a random collection of Stanford essays, we are focusing on Stanford essays that worked. Each of these Stanford essay examples is well executed . Each of these Stanford essay examples takes a strong approach to the prompts and shows a clear sense of identity and perspective.

First, we’ll take a look at some short answer Stanford supplemental essays examples. Then, we’ll move on to the longer Stanford essay examples, including our Stanford roommate essay examples and our what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples. 

Stanford Essays Examples- Short Answers

What is the most significant challenge that society faces today (50 words), stanford essay examples #1:.

The deterioration of political and personal empathy. There’s been an aggressive devaluing of inclusive mindsets and common ground rules—the kind of solidarity of purpose necessary to accommodate divergent viewpoints, respect evidence, share burdens, and tackle national/international emergencies like climate change and immigration. We are fumbling—in backwards tribalism—while the world burns.

Stanford Essay Examples #2:

Where’s Waldo books. 

By searching for Waldo, we subconsciously teach children that certain people aren’t meant to belong–they are meant to be hunted. Our brains may be hardwired to notice people who are different, but we are instructed to treat those people differently. 

Searching for Waldo must be consciously unlearned. 

Stanford Essay Examples #3:

Ignorance poses a paradoxical issue: we can’t solve a problem that we don’t know exists.

For fifteen years, I heard gentrification and thought humanitarian. The Oxford English Dictionary had even taught me that gentrification means “positive change.” How can such atrocities become noticed when our perceptions are so skewed?

Stanford Essay Examples #4:

Greed. The root of all evil. To make momentous strides towards improving societal conditions, people and corporations must put aside their greed. Unfortunately, greed – the deep, dark desire for power and money – is the dominant force at work in many aspects of society, making it society’s most significant challenge.

These Stanford essays examples are powerful. Each of these Stanford essays examples is also unique. In each response, the writer uses the prompt to showcase their core values and beliefs. 

You might be surprised how much these Stanford essay examples are able to contain in just 50 words. While this prompt does not contain two separate parts asking “what” and “why,” the above Stanford essays that worked answered both parts anyway. All four Stanford essay examples start by clearly naming the challenge (“deterioration of political and personal empathy,” “Where’s Waldo books,” “ignorance,” and “greed”), then explaining why it is a challenge or what this challenge keeps us from.

Next, let’s look at more Stanford essays that worked for other short answer prompts.

How did you spend your last two summers? ( 50 words )

Stanford essays that worked #1.

Learned to drive; internship in Silicon Valley (learned to live alone and cook for myself!); a government Honors program; wrote articles for a publication; lobbied at the Capitol; attended a young writers’ program; read a whole lot.

Stanford Essays that Worked #2

My goal: Adventure

2015: Moved from North Carolina to Texas (mission trip to Birmingham, Alabama in between), vacationed in Orlando.

2016: Pre-college math program in Boston, engineering program at another university, Ann Arbor, mission trip to Laredo, Texas, vacation to northern California including the lovely Palo Alto.

These two Stanford essay examples are snapshots that capture your life outside of school . Both of these Stanford essay examples choose to forego typical sentence structures for a more abbreviated, list-type presentation. This can give you room to include more experiences from your summers.

While these two Stanford essays examples are good, these Stanford essays examples aren’t the end-all be-all for this type of prompt. To improve your response, you might sneak in a “why” element to your answer. 

You might not wish to just list what activities you did over the summer , as this may repeat the kind of information found in an extracurricular or resume portion of your application. So, try to touch on what you learned or how you grew from these activities.

The second of our Stanford essay examples does this well by framing up their experiences into a unified goal: adventure. We then learn more about this student by the fact that adventure to them means exploring STEM topics and giving back to their church community. 

What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? ( 50 words )

Stanford essay examples #1.

Valentina Tereshkova’s 1963 spaceflight. Tereshkova’s skill, grit, and persistence carried her from working in a textile factory, through grueling tests and training, to becoming the first woman to fly solo in space. Her accomplishment remains symbolic of women’s empowerment and the expanded progress that’s possible with equity in STEM opportunities.

Stanford Essay Examples #2

In 2001, Egyptian authorities raided a gay nightclub, arresting 55 men. The prosecutors tried them under fujur laws—initially passed by Egyptian nationalists to counter British ‘immorality’ during colonization. 

Watching the prosecution construct homosexuality as un-Egyptian would illustrate the extent anti-Western sentiment drove homophobia and how similar anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric remains today. 

Stanford Essay Examples #3

Most definitely Paganini’s legendary one-stringed performance; one-by-one, his violin strings snapped mid-performance until he was left with only the G-string. Being Paganini, he simply continued to play flawlessly all on that single string!

Stanford Essay Examples #4

Change does not happen without courage. I wish I could have witnessed the courage it took for the four A&T students sit in at the Woolworth’s counter in my hometown. I want to see the light overcoming darkness that created a change to last forever.

These Stanford essays examples show what each writer cares about. They also illustrate how these students connect with the world around them. In each of the above Stanford essays examples, the reader learns more about what the writers are passionate about as well as what they value: perseverance, courage, justice, and beauty.

While these are not exactly why Stanford essay examples, they do showcase what kind of revolutionary or impactful work you might dream of accomplishing with your Stanford education. Never underestimate the opportunity to layer meaning into your essays. Each of these Stanford supplemental essays examples use an external event to show something about an individual student. 

What five words best describe you? (5 words)

Stanford essays #1.

Speak up. Take action. Together.

Stanford Essays #2

Peter Parker meets Atticus Finch

Stanford Essays #3

The light of the world

Although these are the shortest of the Stanford essays examples, they are perhaps the most difficult to write. Summing yourself up in five words is no easy task. Each of these Stanford essays examples takes a different approach, whether that is a few small sentences, a cross of characters, or a poetic line.

When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to, or watch? (50 words)

Read: The New York Times, Vox, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Quora. Favorite authors include Siddhartha Mukherjee, Atul Gawande, Dushka Zapata, and Zora Neale Hurston. 

Listen: This American Life, The Daily, Radiolab, Invisibilia, U.S. and French pop. 

Watch: The Good Place, Brooklyn 99, YouTube science, baking, and fingerstyle guitar videos.

Read—an unhealthy number of self-help books, re-reading Just Kids by Patti Smith, every one of Audre Lorde’s books… 

Listen to—Danez Smith’s slam poetry (my personal favorite? Dinosaurs in the Hood), Still Woozy, Invisibilia… 

Watch—all the television I was forbidden from watching when I was twelve, POSE, ContraPoints, YouTubers criticizing ContraPoints… 

Read: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, The Wendigo, How To Write an Autobiographical Novel, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, weekly newsletter

Listen: Shostakovich, Lauv, Atlas, 20-hour-rain soundtrack on Spotify 

Watch: Avatar, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Hachi (if in the mood to cry), any Marvel movie!

These Stanford essays examples showcase each writer’s interests and influences. They highlight intellectual media where appropriate, but they also remain honest. As you write your own Stanford essays, remember to stay authentic. 

Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or artists. (50 words)

Stanford essay that worked.

I love literature and art that helps me explore my roots and learn to love myself. These works and authors include:​The Color Purple, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, ​Maya Angelou, Day of Tears, ​Hope for the Flowers, and Langston Hughes.

This essay is very similar to the Stanford essays examples above. It gives the reader a sense of this student’s interests and shows what they might engage with on Stanford’s campus. 

What newspapers, magazines, and/or websites do you enjoy? (50 words)

Stanford essays that worked.

I enjoy newspapers and magazines that enable me to learn something everyday. I like National Geographic because it lets me learn more about science. Once it even inspired me to do a self directed project on albatrosses. I also enjoy The Economist as it gives me a well rounded view of today’s politics and economics.

This essay is another of the “content” Stanford essays examples. This prompt, however, asks students to articulate the sites and sources where they turn to find content. 

Unlike our other Stanford supplemental essays examples, this example limits itself to two sources. Generally, we wouldn’t recommend essentially repeating the prompt, as this essay does in its first sentence. Instead, jump right into your details and specifics, and utilize that extra space to tie in something more valuable.

What were your favorite events (e.g., performances, exhibits, competitions, conferences, etc.) in recent years? (50 words)

“December 24th, 9pm, Eastern Standard time.” Rent began. I was sitting in between my best friends. We were losing circulation in our hands from holding on too tight and washing off our make-up with our tears. I felt an immense sense of harmony with the play and it was fantastic.

This is another variation of the above Stanford essays examples. This prompt, however, focuses on events. The narrative quality drops you right into the moment, which says so much about how this writer felt about the performance by showing an action rather than only explaining with words.

Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. ( 50 words )

I live by my motto: “Dare!” in all instances of Truth or Dare.

Apparently, so do the students who brave Secret Snowflake. It spotlights what I love most, Truth or Dare minus the truth. Will I attempt to break the jalapeno eating record? Hop into The Claw in sub-zero temperatures? 

One of the reasons this “why Stanford essay example” works so well is its specificity. The level of detail included in this “why Stanford essay example” shows that this writer has done research into what Stanford has to offer. This highlights their enthusiasm and dedication to Stanford over another top college. 

If you aren’t able to take an in-person tour to visit the campus, there are plenty of ways to learn more about Stanford and its campus culture. We have countless webinars to help you get a sense of what life at Stanford is like. Check out our virtual college tour , Stanford University panel , and our How to get into Stanford: My Admissions Journey series to learn more about Stanford.

Imagine you had an extra hour in the day — how would you spend that time? (50 words)

I’d split my hour two ways, investing time in my own wellbeing and in others. Half I’d spend baking treats for friends, which would double as a personal gift, since I find baking—like running—relaxing and restorative. The second half I’d spend answering Quora questions—something I’ve been meaning to pay forward.

At eight, I dreamed of becoming a YouTuber, documenting life in rectangular video. Each year, this dream drew further from reach.

With extra time, I’d retrieve what time stole. Creating comedic skits or simply talking about my day, I’d pursue what I value most—making others laugh and capturing beautiful moments.

These Stanford essays examples show how some prompts are more open-ended than others. There’s an infinite number of possibilities you could explore with more time. However, both of these Stanford essays examples discuss something the writer values. Making others laugh, and giving to others—these are traits of people who will likely want to build community with their peers on campus.

Stanford Supplemental Essay Examples – Short Essays

stanford essay examples

The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (250 words)

Stanford essays examples:.

From my earliest days, I have been a storyteller. I have imagined futuristic worlds where climate change has turned plants carnivorous, or where simulation technology has allowed us to learn history by experiencing it. But of all of these worlds that I write into stories, there is one in particular that captivates me:

“Which face should I get? I’m debating between these two, but I think I like the nasal bridge on this one more.”

In this futuristic world, people shop for faces that can be affixed with a head transplant. The people simply browse through a catalog and choose from the available options in the way we might shop for wedding cakes. Following the transplant procedure, one’s previous head is added to the catalog for purchase by the next buyer. 

The idea seems completely bizarre.

That is, until we begin to more carefully consider the present. On Earth, beauty sways society, leading to the emergence of cosmetic surgery as one of the fastest-growing industries. Here, rapid scientific advancement trumps every earthly limitation, and scientists have recently completed the first successful head transplant on a monkey. 

These considerations coalescing, my bizarre idea suddenly comes to life. What is to say that, in 100 years or so, we won’t break the barriers of cosmetic limitations and wear a head that we weren’t born with? The idea terrifies me, but perhaps that is why I am so drawn to it: Science eliminates limitations. It is already eliminating the “fiction” in my “science fiction.”

Many of our other Stanford essays examples explicitly answer the prompt in the opening line. This essay, however, begins by revealing a broader truth about the writer: that they are a storyteller. This is something they embody throughout their essay, allowing the reader to imagine what the writer was like as a child before plunging them into a futuristic idea of their own.

They then connect this with the real-world science that connects to this broader idea. This grounds their interest and imagination with something going on in our world. By the end of the first of our short Stanford supplemental essays examples, we understand that this individual has passions across multiple disciplines. This essay merges science and literature to create a vivid picture of who the writer is and how they’d contribute to Stanford’s campus. 

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (250 words)

“Indefinita eres.” Latin for “you are limitless.” I believe that we are all limitless. That with passion, hard work, and resilience almost any dream can be accomplished. And I have a lot of dreams.

My entire life, except for the two years I wanted to be Hannah Montana, I have strived to help others. My dream is to be a leader in bioengineering, shaping and contributing to the forefront of bioengineering research, in order to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Through my endless passion for math, science, and engineering, combined with my resilience and collaborative abilities, I know I will be able to accomplish this.

I have countless other dreams and aspirations as well. I started Latin in 6th grade and I was terrible at it. I decided I would become a “Latin master” to lay a foundation for Spanish fluency in college. I studied hard for four years and by my sophomore year I was extremely honored to earn a silver medal in the Latin III National Latin Exam. I want to run a half marathon (after my sprint triathlon, of course). Through dedication and discipline I have worked from barely being able to run to morning 7 mile runs and will be at 13.1 by April 2nd for the Big D half marathon.

Like other Stanford supplemental essays examples, this piece showcases how much information and personality you can fit into a single essay. This writer chose to focus on an idea versus an experience, which allowed them to talk about multiple moments of growth and perseverance and their variety of passions.

Great Stanford supplemental essays examples will make the most of any prompt. So long as you answer the prompt completely, don’t be afraid to pull together different moments of your life. Just make sure you have a through line to keep everything focused and connected!

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples

roommate essay 250 words

Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better. (250 words)

Stanford roommate essay examples #1.

In the spirit of inaugurating the life-long relationship I hope we’ll build this year, let me tell you a little about myself.

Hi, I’m Tom. I’m the second child of a comically over-optimistic refugee mother (my Vietnamese name translates, literally, to “celestial being”) and a proud Kentuckian with a deep passion for student-driven advocacy. I have two parents, two stepparents, a nineteen-year-old sister (a junior in Product Design, here, at Stanford), a three-year-old half-sister, two cats, one dog, and a complicated life that spans two households. So, I’m used to sharing space and managing shifting schedules.

I’ve also always been the “Mom” friend. To me, the little things—a chocolate chip cookie when I know a friend has a rough day ahead, words of encouragement before a big presentation, or staying up late to explain a tough physics problem—mean the most. I’ll be there when you need me—be it studying for tests or navigating personal challenges.

I recycle incessantly and am known to snatch cans out of the trash, wash them, and relocate them to neighboring blue bins. I keep a regular sleep schedule, rarely going to bed past midnight or waking up later than 8:30. I’m averse to gyms, opting instead to go for runs in the morning or follow along to a YouTube workout in the afternoon. 

I’m passionate, but also even-keeled. I think life is best taken in stride—worrying has never gotten me anywhere, but flexibility has taken me everywhere. I look forward to an awesome year!

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #2

Dear Roomie, 

Some disclaimers before we room together: 

1. If I arrive before you, don’t be alarmed by the tissue boxes everywhere. My parents made the conscious decision to expand our cat population despite (or because of) my allergies, and my four cats probably ambushed my suitcase while I was packing. So don’t be surprised if I invite you to one-too-many games of Exploding Kittens. It’s me projecting my fantasies, so please indulge me.

2. Whenever you open a Google Doc around me, change the font to Georgia or Cambria (my personal favorites). If you’re a seasoned Arial user, you’re likely mindlessly going along with what everyone else is doing—I get it. But Arial is objectively a bad font; the only acceptable time to use Arial is if you’re being passive aggressive… and even then, just use comic sans… (Criticizing people’s font choices is only half my personality, I promise.) 

3. You’ll see me embarrassing myself around campus by flailing on the dance floor, doing improv, or in drag, and I hope to see the same from you. I want to get excited about everything you’re passionate about– interests I’ve probably never even thought about before. 

When I’m armed with a bottle of Zyrtec, being my roommate isn’t all bad. I’ll bring copious amounts of Peach Snapple bottles, probably enough to last the semester. You can take as many bottles as you want, so long as you leave me the Snapple “Facts”…. I’m an avid collector. 

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #3

Hey Roomie! Yesterday was insane. I still can’t quite get over the energy in that stadium after that final play. I guess Berkeley couldn’t take back the axe to cut down these Trees!

I’m writing you this since I have an 8:30 Syntax and Morphology with Dr. Gribanov. I know, it’s early, but that class is honestly worth waking up for. Last Friday, he spent the entire period rambling about why regardless and irregardless are the same thing, but responsible and irresponsible aren’t. Just a fun little thought to start your day.

I’m also writing you this as a quick apology. I won’t be back from Mock Trial until late evening, and then I’ll be practicing for Stanford Symphony auditions. So, if you hear cacophonous noises in your sleep, it’s most likely me. Plus, it’s Mahler Symphony No. 1, so you might not sleep much anyway. Kidding.

These next few days are jam-packed, but I’m craving some much-needed bonding time! I have a proposal: how does a jam session this Friday at Terman Fountain sound? I’ll bring the guitar and plenty of oldies sheet music, you just gotta bring a snack and the desire to sing! I’ve sold a few people already. Join us?

Well, I’m headed to breakfast now. Text me if you want me to grab you anything.

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #4

Dear Roomie,

Tupac Shakur is not dead. You might believe that he is, because yes, his body is buried somewhere. But many of his messages are still very much alive. So future roomie, if we are going to be as close as I hope (and if you see me rapping “Life Goes On” in my Star Wars pajamas), you should know this about me:

As a biracial person, I have felt extremely troubled for the past few years regarding the social inequalities and injustices in our society. 2PAC says in his song “Changes,” “I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black.” He says “I see no changes.”

I want to change this. I want Tupac’s spirit to behold a United States in which everyone has equal access to education and to healthcare. A U.S. where no one is discriminated against based on their race, gender, sexuality, or religion. I have already begun working towards equality, through educational outreach and political volunteerism. I will continue this at Stanford, through participating in peaceful protests and spreading awareness of the issues at hand. This might mean you’ll notice me coming and going a lot or going on frustrated rants about the ignorance and injustices in our society and our world. However, I hope you’re a person who will not only understand my perspective but be willing to march towards equality with me.

I am so excited for this year and the many years to come!

As noted in our Stanford Essays Guide , the Stanford roommate essay shows up nearly every year. These Stanford roommate essay examples show how fun a prompt like this can be to answer. Each of our Stanford roommate essay examples takes a slightly different approach. Some students write from the perspective of already attending Stanford; others opt for a list of important need-to-know facts.

The Stanford roommate essay examples show how open-ended this prompt actually is. If, after reading our Stanford roommate essay examples, you feel like you have no idea what to write about, know that there is no perfect recipe for responding to this prompt. Each of our Stanford roommate essay examples has a unique quality and flair.

A good rule of thumb you can take from our Stanford roommate essay examples is to remember who your audience is. Some essays touch on classic roommate topics, like sleep schedules, activities, and sharing snacks. However, the writer only includes these facts as a means of showing who they are. 

What Matters to You and Why Stanford Essay Examples

what matters to you and why stanford essay examples

What matters to you, and why? (250 words)

‘what matters to you and why’ stanford essay examples:.

“You’re stupid!!” exclaimed James. “Well you’re ugly!” shouted Ethan. We were sitting around the dinner table and my brothers, as usual, were bickering. After about two minutes of this, my dad broke into song. He sang, in a mostly on pitch falsetto, “what the world needs now, is love sweet love.” My brothers, my mom and I all rolled our eyes, but of course we kept singing. Then we sang “All you need is love” and “I’ll be there.” After years of this constant playlist, during laundry, dinners, and hikes, I realized what truly matters to me: love.

Love is what makes my life worth living. Whether it be love of my family, of my friends, of my activities, or of my future it makes me excited to get up and start my day. The sense of harmony I feel when dancing in the car with my family, or painting with my friends, or working with my team on our solar car is indescribably fulfilling. Through playing ukelele and singing with my family to working diligently in a lab to create a process that will alleviate the pain of another person, I will have the love that is of utmost importance to me. I will fill my life and the lives of others with love and harmony.

The last of our Stanford supplemental essays examples shows just how honest and vulnerable you can be in your essays. This essay does a great job of showing rather than telling. It gives us a great example of what love looks like to this student and how love continues to be the most important thing in their life.

How to write Stanford Supplemental Essays: 5 Tips!

1. start early.

If you’re worried about getting your Stanford essays up to par with these Stanford essays examples, don’t leave them to the last second. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the Stanford prompts and reviewing our Stanford supplemental essays examples. This can be the first step in your writing process. Next, start brainstorming topics and ideas you can start incorporating into your drafts.

2. Keep an idea journal

Now that you’ve reviewed different Stanford supplemental essay examples and have read Stanford essays that worked, it’s time to get brainstorming. Try writing down the main topics of each Stanford essay prompt, like “roommates,” “important experiences,” or “content I like.” Have a place where you can write down all your ideas as soon as they come to you. That way, when it comes time to start drafting your Stanford essays, you’ll have plenty of ideas.

3. Think outside the box

If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer to one of the Stanford essay prompts, don’t worry. Remember our “what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples?” These questions are at the core of what Stanford admissions is looking for. You’ll include traces of them in every Stanford essay you write regardless of which prompt you answer.

4. Consider what Stanford Admissions will take away from your Stanford essays

For instance, think about the Stanford roommate essay examples. While the prompt asked students to direct their attention to their future roommate. Remember your reader will be coming in with the perspective of an admissions officer, not your potential future roommate. While this may seem like the space to offer up fun, random facts about yourself and your interests, consider how the characteristics you choose to highlight build upon other aspects of your application and Stanford essays.

5. Draft, edit, rewrite, edit, and edit again

These Stanford supplemental essays examples weren’t written overnight. You can’t expect to produce Stanford essays as engaging and effective as our Stanford essay examples unless you put in enough time and effort. Remember, our Stanford essays examples are final drafts. Make sure you get your first draft down on paper as soon as you can so you have plenty of time to edit, proofread, and finalize your essays.

Stanford Essay Examples- Final Thoughts

roommate essay 250 words

Applying to Stanford can feel overwhelming, especially given the low Stanford acceptance rate. If Stanford is your dream school , you should do all you can to ensure your Stanford essays shine.  

If you’re looking for answers on how to get into Stanford, think carefully about every aspect of the Stanford application. Knowing the requirements for the Stanford application will be much more helpful than worrying about the Stanford acceptance rate.

Focus on what you can control

So, focus on the parts of the Stanford admissions process you can control, like your responses to the Stanford essay prompts. Understanding the prompts, then looking at Stanford essays that worked, can give you a sense of what Stanford admissions looks for when reviewing applications. Then, you can take the lessons and learnings from Stanford essay examples and incorporate them into your own essays.

Take a look at our how to get into Stanford guide for more tips on the Stanford application process. We discuss how Stanford Admissions reviews applications, the Stanford acceptance rate, the interview process, and more strategies on how to get into Stanford.

As you begin working on your Stanford essays, feel free to look back on these Stanford essays examples. Rather than using them as a shining example you need to model your own Stanford essay after, think about why they worked, the impact they had on you, and how you can incorporate those techniques into your own essay. So remember, get started early, and good luck.

roommate essay 250 words

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How to Write Stanford's Essays (with Real 2023 Essay Examples)


Kate Sliunkova

AdmitYogi, Stanford MBA & MA in Education

16 min read

How to Write Stanford's Essays (with Real 2023 Essay Examples)


Stanford University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and their admissions process is highly competitive. Writing compelling supplemental essays that stand out from other applicants is key to getting accepted into this top-tier school. However, approaching these essays does not have to be an intimidating endeavor! With some preparation and guidance, you can write powerful and persuasive supplemental essays that will help your application shine among the thousands of other applicants vying for a spot at Stanford University. In this article, we'll look at the supplemental essay prompts for Stanford University and provide an in-depth analysis of how to approach them. We'll also examine real-world examples of successful essays written by past applicants to give you a better understanding of what makes a great supplemental essay. By the end, you'll have all the tools needed to create powerful and persuasive supplemental essays that will make your application stand out from other applicants vying for admission into one of the most prestigious universities in the world. So let's get started!

Stanford's Essay Prompts

Stanford applicants will have to write eight essays in total. This includes writing three longer-form essays (with a 250-word maximum count) and answering five short answer questions (with a 50-word maximum count). Stanford's supplemental essay prompts include the following:

  • The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.
  • Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better.
  • Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.

Short Answers:

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  • How did you spend your last two summers?
  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  • Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.

Writing Stanford's Essays

Approaching stanford's intellectual vitality essay.

"The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning."

When approaching Stanford's 250-word essay prompt about an "idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning," it is important for students to take some time to reflect on what truly excites them. Asking yourself questions such as “What topics engage me the most?”, “What have I enjoyed learning recently?”, and “What interests motivate me to take action or dive deeper into a topic?” can help you identify what ideas or experiences make you truly passionate about learning.

Once you have identified at least one idea or experience with which you are passionate, brainstorming specific examples of times when this passion has been demonstrated can be helpful in creating a stronger and more compelling essay. This could include recalling particular moments in school when the topic was discussed, describing challenges that were overcome during research related to the topic, or even sharing reflections on how this idea has impacted your life outside of school.

In addition, it is important to consider ways in which your passions may connect with others, demonstrating how your passions may create new opportunities for collaboration and growth among students at Stanford. For example, if you are passionate about environmental studies and sustainability initiatives, discussing ways in which Stanford could become a more sustainable campus could highlight both your enthusiasm for learning and potential contributions to the overall community.

By taking the time to reflect on moments where their passions have been demonstrated and thinking creatively about potential connections between these passions and Stanford's goals and values, students can effectively craft powerful supplemental essays that demonstrate their genuine excitement for learning.

Here's a great example from Hannah, a Stanford student who was also accepted to UPenn, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, and many other great schools! You can read all of Hannah's essays and activities here.

Whenever I need an extra boost while studying, I listen to iconic film soundtracks. Not only are they beautiful artistically, but the carefully-selected notes and motifs often unknowingly alter your emotions, giving me a subconscious spike in motivation.

I watched Titanic four times in three days because I was entranced by the repetition of musical themes in critical moments. Similarly, I printed out pictures of certain shots in Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby because the color schemes were aesthetically pleasing while also matching up with the characters’ emotions.

As I’ve been exposed to more music and film, I’ve learned how heavily artists can rely on psychology. Not only can certain colors or musical motifs foreshadow events, but they can complete some of the most iconic shots in cinema.

I plan on further exploring this intersection of science and art on Stanford’s campus. As a psychology major, I will study the intricacies of the human brain and its effects on behavior; on the other hand, I can take advantage of the rich creative culture on campus by participating in the Stanford Storytelling Project. By pursuing both, I can learn how masters of cinema capture audiences’ attention and deliver a beautiful, impactful story.

Tackling Stanford's Roommate Essay

"Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better."

To ace the Stanford roommate essay, it's important to focus on personal and intimate details about yourself. The essay is an opportunity to reveal something unique, quirky, and memorable about yourself to your future roommate. As you write, think about what sets you apart from others - what makes you special and interesting. Here are some specific tips for approaching the Stanford roommate essay:

  • Highlight your unique quirks: The admissions committee is looking for something that sets you apart from other applicants. Consider what makes you different and let those quirks shine through in your essay. For example, maybe you have an obsession with collecting old maps or you're a huge fan of a lesser-known band.
  • Think about your ideal roommate: As you write the essay, think about the kind of roommate you want. What qualities would you look for in a roommate? Reflect on those qualities and think about how you embody them yourself.
  • Avoid controversy: While it's important to be authentic in your essay, it's also important to avoid controversial topics or anything that might be offensive to others. Stick to lighthearted, positive aspects of your personality and interests.
  • Use imagery and senses: To make your essay stand out, use vivid imagery and sensory details. Engage the reader's senses by describing your favorite flavors, sights, sounds, and smells.

We have some specific tips on approaching Stanford's roommate essay here . In the meantime, read through one of our favorite Stanford roommate essay examples from Atman, a Stanford student who is now studying biology and design! You can read Atman's entire application here.

Don’t mind the morning clutter! I’ll be swapping out jewelry. My daily earring choices are contingent on anything from the outfit to the weather—today, I’ve got on a dangly butterfly and a silver key, but I may shift to some big resin sunflowers to protest this Minnesota cold.

Unfortunately, my beautiful smile won’t greet you some mornings as I’ll be starting bright and early in the lab. If I feel like leaving the excitement, we’ll go rate bubble teas from local shops (my spreadsheet would benefit from more Californian influence).

If you’re the type of person who “doesn’t really listen to music,” that will definitely change. Our room will be playing a variety of sounds 24/7—I’m talking tunes from Tyler the Creator to Thundercat, Michael Buble to Baby Keem. You’ll find me making my viral TikToks dissecting Frank Ocean songs—share your music taste with me and maybe I’ll remember you when I’m famous!

I’ll be passively beatboxing as we study, arbitrarily prompting any stranger to freestyle over my bizarre, yet curiously potent beats. Prepare yourself: You’ve arrived at Stanford’s “Bars 101” class.

You play Ping-Pong? Check again. Against more ill-advised challengers, I’ll replace my paddle with objects around me—a stray shoe, my hospital ID, my wallet, or even your wallet (you’ll grumble now, but true mastery requires complete material detachment). This habit had a shamefully large impact on my decision to buy a larger phone, so meet me at the tables!

How to Write Stanford's "Something Meaningful Essay"

"Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why."

When writing the "Something Meaningful Essay" for Stanford University, it's crucial to choose a topic that encompasses your personal values and beliefs. Your essay should connect with the reader emotionally and relay how an experience or moment has influenced your character. In order to demonstrate your perspective on life and the world around us, you will want to creatively depict the significance of the moment or experience you have chosen. Here are some specific tips to help you approach the "Something Meaningful Essay" confidently:

  • Reflect on your values: The "Something Meaningful Essay" is an opportunity to share something that is important to you. Start by reflecting on your values and beliefs. Consider what matters most to you and how those values have shaped your life.
  • Choose a specific moment or experience: Once you've identified your values, think about a specific moment or experience that embodies those values. For example, maybe you volunteered at a homeless shelter and learned the importance of compassion and empathy.
  • Write with emotion: The admissions committee wants to see that you care deeply about your subject. Write with emotion and use descriptive language to bring your story to life. Don't be afraid to include dialogue or sensory details if they add to the story.
  • Connect to the bigger picture: While your essay should focus on a specific moment or experience, it should also connect to a larger theme. Think about how your experience relates to the world around you. What broader implications does it have?

For inspiration and guidance, read through this beautiful Stanford "something meaningful" essay example below from Apollo. Apollo was accepted to Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton! You can read every single one of his college applications here.

I pull out the piano bench, lift the fallboard, and prop up my music. Today, I'm playing Liszt's "Mazeppa." It's one of the toughest pieces ever written for the piano, but to master it, there’s only one thing I need: the metronome.

First, 48 beats per minute, an easy largo.

I hated practicing. Simultaneously, I was a perfectionist. Those two traits clashed throughout my early piano years, contributing to a "limbo" period full of botched performances. Frustrated by my lack of progress, my teacher began imposing slow metronome practice. Although I was stubborn at first, I gradually learned to steady myself. "48" taught me patience, and encouraged me to seek deeper levels of ability.

Now, 112, a striding allegretto.

When I began competing seriously, I discovered a new enemy: performance anxiety. In practice, I came back to the metronome, setting a moderate tempo where I could be rock-solid. Through "112", I was able to build my confidence.

192, a barrelling presto.

My fingers fly. It’s a speed I once viewed as beyond my capability, but it now feels completely natural. "192" was when practice transformed into performance, freeing me to explore new worlds of artistic growth.

0. In high school, I learned how damaging it is to get caught up in a perpetual cycle of work; by taking breaks, I could open up valuable time to reflect on myself. As the foundation of my practice, "0" taught me balance.

I click the metronome off. Practice is done for the day.

Answering Stanford's Short Answer Questions:

Approaching stanford's "significant challenge" question.

"What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?"

To approach this Stanford essay prompt, consider a challenge that you are passionate about. Be specific in identifying the issue and its impact. Then, focus on developing a unique perspective on the challenge and propose potential solutions. Remember, Stanford values diversity of thought, so be sure to express your individuality in your response. Here's a great example of an amazing Stanford significant challenge essay from Ryan, who got into Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, and Brown. You can read all of Ryan's college applications here.

Through many forms of corruption, the ever-increasing wealth and power of the ultra-rich is seeping its way into our governments, slowly redefining who those in power aim to serve. With no control left in the hands of the people, I worry tyrannical, systematic exploitation is only a few "votes" away.

Answering Stanford's Last Two Summers Prompt

"How did you spend your last two summers?"

To approach Stanford's essay prompt "How did you spend your last two summers?" be specific and focus on highlighting your passions, interests, and how you spent your time productively. Did you volunteer or partake in any internships related to your career aspirations? Did you travel to a new place and discover a new culture? Did you learn a new skill or participate in a program that challenged you? Be sure to explain why these experiences were meaningful to you and how it has contributed to your personal growth. Showcasing your unique experiences and interests can make you stand out in your application. So, be bold, creative, and honest. The example below comes from Emma. You can read all of Emma's successful college applications, including her Stanford application, here.

Taking Fiction Writing at Stanford Summer Session, volunteering for the Aspire Education Project, being mentored by fiction author Deborah Davis, assembling masks for essential workers with my nana. Immersing myself in Northwestern’s Medill program, working as a day-camp counselor, teaching sewing at a children’s fashion camp, crafting inventive short stories.

How to Write Stanford's "Historical Moment" Essay

"What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?"

To approach Stanford's essay prompt "What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?" choose a specific moment or event that genuinely interests you. Research the moment or event and provide context on its historical significance. Share why you wish to witness it – what do you hope to learn from that experience? Would it enrich your life experiences or understanding of the world around you? Explain how this moment or event could help you shape your personal and academic path in Stanford. Lastly, showcase your intellectual curiosity and passion to learn by highlighting the specific details you found most fascinating. For more information about writing this essay, read our article here ! Below, we've provided an excellent example of Stanford's historical moment essay from Andrew, who got into incredible schools like Stanford and Columbia. You can read his complete set of college applications here.

The broken concrete of the Berlin Wall, encapsulated by Leonard Bernstein’s An die Freude on Christmas Day 1989, still resonates as a symbol of collective self-determination. I am inspired by the power of music to unite people, especially as we seek strength and reassurance to overcome our own challenges today.

Approaching Stanford's Extracurricular Prompt

"Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family."

To approach Stanford's essay prompt "Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family", choose a specific experience that highlights your character. Start by briefly describing your role or responsibilities, then focus on specific instances or achievements that demonstrate leadership, teamwork, or personal growth. Be sure to highlight how this experience has influenced you and contributed to your personal growth. Use concrete examples and quantify your impact, if possible. Remember, the goal is to showcase your unique experiences, skills, and character traits to the admissions committee. This awesome example comes from a Stanford premed student, Jude. You can read all of their applications here!

Heading the lighting department for my school’s theater company is the most difficult and rewarding position I have ever undertaken. Staying at school into the night, I spend hours hanging lights from scaffolding 50 feet in the air and methodically designing each and every lighting cue to tell a story.

How to Approach Stanford's "Looking Forward to Experiencing" Essay

"Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford."

To approach Stanford's essay prompt "Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford", be specific and personal in your response. This question is an opportunity to showcase your individuality, so choose something that genuinely excites you and aligns with your interests and passions. You might describe events, courses, clubs, or traditions at Stanford that you are eager to participate in. Focus on how this experience will impact your academic and personal growth, and how it will help you achieve your goals. Research the specific opportunities at Stanford and show that you have a genuine interest and connection to the university. The incredible example below comes from Thu, who got into Stanford, Yale, and Brown, and also won over $2.5 million in scholarships! You can read about his incredible essays and accomplishments here.

After watching countless videos about it on Youtube, I’ve become obsessed with it. I can clearly picture it in my mind: the bright California sun, the Spanish colonial architecture, and their grief-stricken faces. Rodin’s Burghers of Calais replicated in Memorial Court. It’s my favorite artwork and coincidentally at Stanford.

Reading example essays is an invaluable tool for students when crafting their own college application essays. Remember, the goal is not to copy the examples, but rather to learn from them and apply those lessons to your own unique experiences and perspective. If you want to read more excellent essay examples for Stanford, visit our massive essay database for a wealth of inspiration and guidance.

Writing essays for Stanford University requires more than just good writing skills; it requires ingenuity, creativity, and authenticity. You have the opportunity to showcase your unique experiences, perspective, and personality to the admissions committee. The key is to approach each essay prompt strategically, focus on specific experiences that demonstrate your character and potential, and edit and revise your work thoroughly. Remember that Stanford values diversity of thought, so don't be afraid to express your individuality in your responses. By following these tips, you can craft essays that make you stand out as a candidate and capture the attention of the admissions committee.

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  1. How to Ace the Stanford Roommate Essay (Example Included)

    First, here's the actual Stanford roommate essay prompt: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better. (100-250 words) Here's what our student, Angelica, wrote: Dear Future Roommate, Most ...

  2. 3 Tips to Write Your Stanford Roommate Essay

    Let's take a look at the actual text for this essay question: "Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better." The Stanford letter to roommate prompt has a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 250 ...

  3. How to Write the Stanford Roommate Essay + Examples

    Part 2. Here's one way how to improve your Stanford (or any) roommate essay if you've already written a draft: 1. Count how many details in your essay reveal something deep and true about you. (I count 14 good details in the example essay in Part 1 of this post.)

  4. Stanford Roommate Essay

    Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better. (100-250 words.) Despite our use of scare quotes above, this question actually can be a lot of fun.

  5. 6 Stellar Stanford Essay Examples

    (100-250 words) Hey, future roommate! ... but it's important to remember that while the prompt is officially for future roommates, the essay is actually going to admissions committees. So, you want to think carefully about what kinds of practices you mention in your essays. In most college dorms, students aren't even supposed to light ...

  6. How To Write Stanford Room Essay With An Example

    The actual Stanford roommate essay prompt: Essentially all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better. (100-250 words) Here's what our student, Angelica, wrote: Dear Future Roommate,

  7. How to Write the Stanford Roommate Essay

    Topics to Cover in Your Stanford Roommate Essay. 1. Living habits. This essay is all about who you are in your home. The topics you could write about are endless. If you want to go down the more serious route, you can do that. There are a lot of students who write about their gender identity, sexuality, culture or home life.

  8. How to Write the Stanford University Essays 2023-2024

    Essay Questions (100-250 words) Prompt 1: The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. Prompt 2: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something ...

  9. How to Write the Stanford Supplemental Essay

    Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — get to know you better. (250 words) Prompt #8. Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University. (100-250 words)

  10. How to Write Stellar Stanford Essays: 3 Expert Tips

    (100 word min, 250 word max) Stanford's roommate essay question is notorious. While the other two of the three Stanford essays may change from year-to-year, the Stanford roommate essay is always on the application. First, remember that this essay is written to your future roommate, who will be one of your peers.

  11. How to Approach Writing the Roommate Essay

    Stray away from cliches and trite statements. These prompts typically allow for a maximum of 250 words, which means that there's not much space to list out everything you may want to share with your future roommate. Every word matters! One of the factors to consider when writing this essay is to stray away from cliches and overused statements.

  12. CC

    (100-250 words)" Many students interpret this as a straightforward assignment and write something generic, missing the larger opportunity to strengthen their application. To help you brainstorm for this essay, let's break down the prompt into what it's not vs. what it is. What the Roommate Essay is NOT: It's not A roommate preference survey

  13. Tips for Writing Your Stanford Roommate Essay

    The length requirement for the Stanford letter to roommate prompt is a minimum of 100 words and maximum of 250. Given that, feel free to answer the question however you deem fit. ... The Stanford roommate essay is your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the reader and show them that you are more than just a list of accomplishments.

  14. Stanford Supplemental Essay Examples

    Stanford supplemental essay example # 3. Prompt: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better. (100 - 250 words) Dear future roommate,

  15. 5 Successful Stanford Roommate Essay Intros

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  16. How To Ace Stanford's 2023/24 Supplemental Essay Prompts

    (50 words) Short Essay Questions. These essays provide a deeper insight into your intellectual curiosities, personal experiences, and how you'll contribute to Stanford's vibrant community. ... (100-250 words) Roommate Introduction: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals ...

  17. How to Write the Stanford Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better. (100-250 words) For your second long-answer essay, you'll answer either this prompt OR Prompt 3 below. Try brainstorming a few ideas for both prompts ...

  18. Stanford Supplemental Essay Prompts

    Stanford's 2023-2024 supplemental essays include one of our all-time favorite prompts, the notorious "roommate essay." Stanford asks applicants to "Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate - and us - get to know you better."This is a tough question to answer in only 250 words!

  19. Stanford Essays

    In this article, we'll discuss each of the Stanford supplemental essays in detail, including the Stanford roommate essay and other Stanford essays. Additionally, we'll review the requirements for each of the Stanford essay prompts. ... Even though each of the essays is only at most 250 words, shorter essays can take longer to revise and ...

  20. How to Get Into Stanford Undergrad: Essays and Strategies That Worked

    The 2023-2024 questions, each of which must be answered in 100-250 words, are as follows: ... We have a separate guide to answering Question 2, the infamous Stanford roommate essay. Question 1: The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely ...

  21. Stanford roommate essay

    Try to convey your personality and character in a friendly, conversational tone. 2. Engage your reader: Begin your essay with an interesting and engaging opener—an anecdote, a question, or a surprising fact. This will not only capture the attention of your (hypothetical) roommate, but also the admissions officer. 3.

  22. Stanford Essays Examples

    The longer Stanford supplemental essay prompts (100-250 words) include: ... The Stanford roommate essay examples show how open-ended this prompt actually is. If, after reading our Stanford roommate essay examples, you feel like you have no idea what to write about, know that there is no perfect recipe for responding to this prompt. ...

  23. How to Write Stanford's Essays (with Real 2023 Essay Examples)

    This includes writing three longer-form essays (with a 250-word maximum count) and answering five short answer questions (with a 50-word maximum count). Stanford's supplemental essay prompts include the following: ... To ace the Stanford roommate essay, it's important to focus on personal and intimate details about yourself. The essay is an ...