Jun 24, 2021

UVa announces essay prompts for 2021-22

The University of Virginia announced this week that essay prompts for fall 2022 applicants will remain exactly the same as those used last year.

According to associate dean of admission Jeannine Lalonde, “Dean J” to the readers of the UVa
Admissions Blog
, “
Feedback from students and admission officers have helped us tweak our prompts over the years and it seems like we have them in a good place because we don't really have edits this year!”

As in the past, there are three required pieces of writing on the UVa application—the Common Application personal statement and two shorter responses that are specific to UVa. And once again, UVa continues to look “for passionate students” to join a “diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.”

For the first essay, applicants should respond in a half page or approximately 250 words to one of a series of questions corresponding to the school/program to which they are applying:

  • College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: Describe an engineering feat that serves the common good and why it inspires you to study engineering.
  • Kinesiology Program: Discuss experiences that led you to apply to the kinesiology major.
  • School of Nursing: Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing.
  • School of Architecture: Describe [a] significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.

While the College of Arts and Sciences has remained loyal to the tried-and-true prompt seeking a challenging or surprising work of art, music, science, mathematics or literature for several decades, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has occasionally tinkered with wording to mix things up a little. This year, however, both stood pat—good news for the essay coaching industry!

For the second essay, applicants are being asked to pick one of five questions to answer also in roughly 250 words:

  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
  • UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
  • Rita Dove, UVA English professor and former U.S. Poet Laureate, once said in an interview that “…there are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” Describe a time when, instead of complaining, you took action for the greater good.

In her blog, Dean J reminds applicants, “…the prompts are deliberately broad, these are supposed to be personal, and the word counts are guidelines meant to remind you to be concise.” And she has gently suggested in previous years, “A good essay conveys the voice and personality of the writer. A good essay shares something that hasn't come through in the other parts of the application. A good essay has made it to its final form after a round or two of editing.” 

The Common App will go live on August 1, 2021. And if the past can predict the future, UVa will be among those colleges actually launching on that day.

But in the meantime, the early release of essay prompts will give prospective ‘Hoos months to consider their topics carefully and write compelling essays in time to meet either the nonbinding early action or the binding early decision deadline—both now set for November 1.

No comments:

Post a Comment