Elon University Essay Prompt

Elon University 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 1 essay of 500 words; 1 optional additional info essay

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Additional Information, Oddball

The task here is simple: help Elon admissions officers get to know you better. No weird prompts, no extensive lists. Just write one extended essay that tells admissions something they don’t already know. Elon is one of the few schools that uses the Coalition application platform exclusively, so this could be a prime opportunity to recycle your Common App personal statement if it’s markedly different from your Coalition essay. If you’re starting from scratch, remember to think strategically about choosing a prompt that will illuminate an aspect of your personality that doesn’t show up elsewhere on your application.

Your essay should be approximately 500 words. Reminder: Only ONE essay is required


College applications are often about listing achievements. We want to know what matters about you that doesn’t fit into a simple list or a box on this application. What counts in your life that’s not necessarily an obvious, quantifiable accomplishment?

This catch-all prompt is a great option for applicants who feel wary of (or uninspired by) the oddball prompts to come. Elon recognizes that students have lives and interests beyond their academics and extracurriculars, and they want to hear about them! So dive in: write about something admissions couldn’t glean from any other part of your application. But don’t forget, you should still frame your story as an accomplishment of some kind. Think about times when you felt you had a small victory. Maybe it was the time you felt like a great friend after you convinced the school cafeteria to offer gluten-free tortilla chips so your friends with Celiac Disease could have some too. Perhaps teaching six year-olds to swim at camp every summer didn’t win you a trophy or supply you with an awesome stat for your activity resume, but it did fill you with pride and happiness. (Hint: this prompt is somewhat similar to Common App prompt 5, so check out our guide for more info.)

“Nature vs. Nurture” is one of the most debated arguments in history. Reflect on your identity and describe how concepts described in the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate have influenced who you are today.

The key to this prompt is the part where it says: “Reflect on your identity.” It would be easy to get mired in the abstract aspects of this debate or focus on stories of family members who have influenced you. But at the end of the day, this prompt wants to know about your identity and how you have become the person you are today. Maybe you’re sure nurture is stronger than nature because your mom has taught you how to be a more empathetic and open-minded person and it doesn’t come naturally to you. Maybe you’ve applied these skills to your internship at a local non-profit. Or maybe you think nature plays more of a role than nurture, since you find yourself excelling in math and golf just like your grandfather (who you’ve never even met).

Social media provides immediate access to a wealth of news, ideas, and opinions. Given all of the information you consume, tell us one particular issue you really care about and why. How do you see yourself as an agent for change?

This prompt begins with an assumption: you, a millennial, consume lots of information about the world around you every day, both online and off. Does this sound like you? Are you an avid reader or late-night redditor? This could be the prompt for you, but keep in mind the specifics. Elon wants to know that you are the type of person who can identify a problem, come up with a solution, and execute. Developing your problem solving skills will help you way beyond college and admissions wants to know you are ready to use your talents and smarts to do some good in the world. First, tell admissions about an issue you care about. It could be dog homelessness, global warming, poverty, police brutality, gender equality, you name it. Then, tell admissions how you see yourself contributing to positive change surrounding that issue. Hopefully, you’re already taking steps to combat this problem, and if so, tell admissions about that. (Note: this prompt is eerily similar to Common App prompt 4, and Elon isn’t on the Common App! If you’re running short on time, this could be a prime opportunity to recycle your personal statement! Otherwise, check out our written and video guides!)

If there is anything about your background or personal experience that you feel would be helpful for the Admissions Committee to know as we evaluate your application, please write an optional personal statement below (no more than one page, please). (1,000 words) This should not be an additional essay as it will not be evaluated as such.

This is the classic additional information essay. Do not write an essay and submit it to admissions unless there’s something really important you feel you need to address. Some of these important topics might include an unusual drop in your GPA sophomore year, a gap year, or a criminal record. Do not recycle a community essay you wrote for another school just because you think it’s excellent. Admissions only has so much time to spend with each application, so don’t stretch the limits of their attention unless you think some aspect of your application requires additional context.

Hello ETA readers:

After 12+ hours on an airplane, I finally arrived back to the U.S. on Saturday evening.   With a “red-eye” flight back to Boston on Saturday evening as well, I have come to my destination for this week – which would be my parents’ house.  I am actually staying with them as I do some traveling in up in New England a bit for this week.  Thus, while I spend today catching up on work and battling jet lag, I thought I might provide some tips in regards to another admissions topic – The Application Essay.

  • Why do Admissions Office require an essay/ personal statement?  This is probably the most important thing to understand before you even begin writing!  The essay is important for several reasons.  The most obvious reason is that it allows the admissions office to evaluate a student’s writing.  However, the essay also allows for us to better understand who you are in your own words.  For those who we have not had the opportunity to meet, the essay allows for you to speak to us and hopefully get to know you better as an individual.
  • Be sure to understand the parameters of the essay.  Another essential element to a great essay is understanding what is being asked of you.  For example, how many essays are you required to write for the application?  Are there specific topics that need to be covered?  What is the minimum number of words required?  Is there a maximum number of  words allowed?  Be sure to know the answers to these questions before you begin your writing.
  • If a school asks a specific essay question, be sure to answer the right question for you.  Often times, students will write their answers to specific essay questions based upon what they think the Admissions Office would like to read.  My advice is to chose an answer to the question that you would like to write about.  For example, one of Elon University’s essay questions involves choosing an issue of significant importance to you and your community.  Many students have often chosen to write about the environment.  Without a doubt, this is one example of a significant issue.  However, maybe the environment is not your passion, but something else might be.  Opt to write about your passion and not what you think we want to read.
  • Editing and corrections.  Once you have created the perfect essay and before you hit the submit button on that online application, take a moment to do some editing.  It is always helpful to do a quick spell check of your essay (for Microsoft Word users, it is the F7 key!) which I am sure many of you do.   But also consider having someone else read your essay for you.  This other person, whether it is a teacher, friend, parent, or sibling, can provide you with valuable feedback.  For example, have your proofreader review the essay and then tell you the main points of your essay.  If their insight and thoughts are similar to what you were trying to convey, you have a strong essay on your hands.
  • Avoid writing an essay that is a resume of activities.  If a university gives you more of an open-ended question or the opportunity to write about a topic of your choice, do not just create a list of all of your extracurricular activites.  One previous pages of your application, we have already asked you to list the activites that you have been a part of through your high school years.  Thus your essay should reflect something more than a resume.  If one of those activities was particulary meaningful, you are more than welcome to elaborate on that.  Go into depth and dig deep about why that activity is meaningful or what you have learned about yourself by participating in that activity.

Those are just a few tips to help you get started as you begin the thought process behind your essays.  I wish you the best of luck – happy writing!

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