How to Write the Emory Supplemental Essays

Emory supplemental essays
May 6, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/6/24

Writing a compelling supplemental essay can be your key to getting accepted into Emory University. 

Nestled in the heart of Atlanta, Emory University is known for its rigorous academic environment, vibrant student life, and strong emphasis on community engagement. As such, the supplemental essay is not just a formality in the admissions process; it's an opportunity for you to showcase your unique personality, intellectual curiosity, and how you align with the university's values.

In this article, we will guide you through the nuances of crafting a standout essay. We'll explore strategies to effectively convey your story, align your goals with Emory's ethos, and demonstrate your potential as a future member of their community. 

Whether you're an aspiring scientist, a budding entrepreneur, or a creative thinker, this guide is designed to equip you with the essential tools for crafting an Emory supplemental essay that truly resonates with the admissions committee. 

Emory University Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-2024

For the 2023-24 application cycle, Emory requires applicants to respond to two short-answer essay prompts.

Prompt #1

"What academic areas are you interested in exploring at Emory University and why?" (200 words)

Prompt #2

Applicants must also write a response to one of the following six essay prompts in a recommended length of 150 words.
  • Option A: Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?
  • Option B: Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
  • Option C: Emory University aspires for all students to flourish on campus. Reflect on what flourishing at Emory means to you.
  • Option D: Emory University’s unique mission calls for service to humanity. Share how you might personally contribute to this mission of service to humanity.
  • Option E: Emory University has a strong commitment to building community. Tell us about a community that you have been part of where your participation helped to change or shape the community for the better.
  • Option F: Reflection is a central tenet of Emory University’s values. Craft a personal email providing advice to yourself in your first year of high school.

These essay prompts are a vital opportunity for applicants to highlight their unique attributes and articulate their suitability for Emory University.

How to Write Each Essay Prompt for Emory University

Here is a guide on how to approach Emory’s essay prompts, including key strategies for crafting captivating responses. It's important to tailor your essays to reflect the university’s unique values and culture, ensuring that your voice and experiences shine through.

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #1 + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt #1: This prompt seeks to understand your academic passions and how they align with Emory's offerings. Begin by introspecting on the subjects or fields that ignite your curiosity, drawing from your academic and extracurricular experiences. 

Reflect on why these areas intrigue you, whether it's due to personal experiences, career ambitions, or a drive to solve specific challenges.

  1. Show Why You Care: Dive deep into your personal motivations and experiences that drive your academic interests. Emory seeks students who are genuinely passionate about their fields of study. Reflect on experiences that sparked your interest in a particular subject and how they have shaped your academic journey.
  2. Fill Your Essay with "How You Will Contribute" Language: Discuss how you plan to use Emory's resources to further your academic and personal growth. Be specific about Emory’s clubs, organizations, or research opportunities that you are excited to be a part of, and discuss how you see yourself making a positive impact.
  3. Engage with Emory's Unique Culture and Values: Discuss how your personal beliefs and experiences align with Emory's ethos. Mention specific cultural aspects, traditions, or initiatives at Emory that resonate with you and how you plan to actively participate or contribute to these facets of university life. 

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-A + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-A: This prompt invites you to explore your deep personal connection with a piece of creative work and articulate why it resonates with you. It's an opportunity to reveal your values, interests, and the aspects of your identity that align with the chosen work.

  1. Paint a Vivid Picture: Create a well-phrased hook that captures the essence of your chosen work, setting the stage for a detailed exploration of why it resonates with you.
  2. Consider Incorporating Annecdotes: Share anecdotes or specific instances from your life to illustrate the deep connection you have with this piece, emphasizing its role in shaping your perspectives.
  3. Move Beyond the Surface-Level: Explore the nuances of the characters, themes, or lyrics, and discuss how these elements resonate with your own beliefs, experiences, or aspirations. Analyze specific passages or moments that have left a lasting imprint on your mind.

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-B + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-B: Reflecting on a moment where you actively sought to understand a culture different from your own shows openness, adaptability, and a commitment to diversity. This prompt values personal growth and the recognition of a global community.

  1. Craft a Compelling Narrative: Use descriptive language to transport the reader into the experience, focusing on the sensory details that made this cultural journey memorable.
  2. Emphasize the Impact: Dive deep into the impact of this experience on your cultural understanding and personal growth. Reflect on how your perspectives evolved, detailing the moments of realization or revelation. Don’t be afraid to also explore the emotional and intellectual shifts that occurred as a result of this intentional cultural exploration.
  3. Bridge Awareness to Action in Diverse Communities: Provide concrete examples of situations where your heightened cultural awareness played a role in fostering positive interactions or overcoming challenges within diverse communities. Illustrate how the lessons learned have shaped your attitude, communication style, and overall engagement with diverse individuals and groups. 

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-C + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-C: This prompt seeks to understand your vision of personal and academic success within Emory’s unique environment. It reflects on your expectations for college life and how you envision taking advantage of the opportunities at Emory.

  1. Consider a Holistic Definition: Clearly define what flourishing means to you in both academic and personal contexts. Articulate your vision for success, encompassing not only scholarly achievements but also personal growth and fulfillment. 
  2. Align Yourself With Emory: Relate your definition of flourishing to specific aspects of Emory's culture, resources, or opportunities. Showcase a deep understanding of what the university offers, tying in elements such as academic programs, extracurricular activities, or unique campus traditions. 
  3. Illustrate Personal Growth:  Choose anecdotes that highlight your adaptability, resilience, or moments of self-discovery. This helps the reader understand not only your vision for success but also the journey of personal transformation you anticipate at Emory.

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-D + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-D: Emory’s mission emphasizes social responsibility and service. This prompt asks you to reflect on how your personal goals and experiences align with this mission, showcasing your commitment to making a positive impact.

  1. Use Concrete Examples: Share a specific example of how you have served others or outline a tangible plan for future service. Whether through past volunteer experiences, community projects, or a detailed proposal for future endeavors, provide a clear and impactful illustration of your commitment to service.
  2. Highlight Your Strengths and Passions: Connect your personal strengths, passions, or experiences to the broader mission of service to humanity. Articulate how your unique attributes make you well-suited to contribute meaningfully. Discuss specific qualities, skills, or experiences that position you as an advocate for positive change.
  3. Showcase Your Fit: Discuss how Emory’s resources or community can help you further contribute to the mission of service to humanity. Highlight specific aspects of Emory's environment, programs, or support systems that align with your service goals. Illustrate how being part of the Emory community will enhance and amplify your impact.

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-E + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-E: Emory values community engagement and transformation. This prompt allows you to demonstrate your ability to contribute positively to a community, highlighting leadership, empathy, and initiative.

  1. Specify Your Role and Contributions: Describe your specific role and contributions within a particular community. Provide a detailed account of the responsibilities you undertook, the initiatives you spearheaded, or the unique role you played in fostering positive change within the community. Ensure your narrative highlights the depth and breadth of your involvement.
  2. Highlight Changes and Impact: Emphasize the changes or impact that resulted from your participation in the community. Quantify the measurable outcomes or qualitatively describe the positive shifts that occurred as a direct result of your contributions. 
  3. Explain How You’ll Make a Positive Impact at Emory: Reflect on the lessons learned from your community engagement and how they prepare you to contribute to Emory’s community. Discuss how your experiences have shaped your understanding of effective community building, leadership, and empathy. 

How to Write Emory University Supplemental Essay #2-F + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of Prompt 2-F: Offering advice to your younger self encourages introspection and demonstrates growth. This reflective exercise reveals your capacity for self-awareness and your values.

  1. Be Authentic and Personable: Adopt a sincere and personal tone, as if you're genuinely advising your younger self. Create a conversational atmosphere that reflects the depth of your introspection. Speak from the heart, offering insights that you wish you had known during your early high school years.
  2. Be Insightful and Share Practical Advise: Be specific about the lessons you want to impart, ensuring they are relevant and impactful. Consider moments of growth, resilience, or self-discovery that have left a lasting impression on you.
  3. Relate Your Lessons Back to Emory: Tie your personal growth directly to the values and ethos of Emory University. Illustrate how these lessons have not only shaped you as an individual but have also equipped you to thrive within Emory's community that values reflection and personal development.

When writing your essay for Emory University, make sure it's straightforward and to the point, but also share a story or example that shows who you are. This story should help the reader understand you better, showing how you've grown or what you're passionate about. It's important that your essay sounds like you and reflects your own views and goals. 

Make it clear how you fit in with what Emory values and how you see yourself making the most of what Emory has to offer. By keeping your essay clear, personal, and true to your own voice, you'll be able to show Emory why you'd be a great addition to their campus.

Examples of Emory University Supplemental Essays That Worked

Each of the essays highlighted below was written by a successful applicant to Emory University. We have also provided feedback on these Emory essay examples, explaining why the admissions committee found them compelling.

Sample Essay #1

Strategy and management consulting as a primary area is exactly what I have always wanted to do in college. After researching this area, I see it can bring together and develop my diverse interests such as psychology, economics, and political science. Entrepreneurship would be the perfect secondary area. It can teach me the strategy of starting a venture, and also give me a practical approach to bringing value. Emory’s Goizueta School of Business is an amazing school and can teach me all the skills to become an effective leader in the business world.
I honestly can’t remember a time when business hasn’t been my chosen path, so naturally the Strategy and Management BBA program at Emory’s Goizueta School of Business is my primary academic area of interest. I’m especially keen to complete coursework in the psychology of leadership, negotiation, and Goizueta’s marketing consultancy practicum while pursuing a secondary focus in entrepreneurship. 
Currently, I’m interning for an executive coaching company. My internship has exposed me to the psychology of leadership as well as how a business works. I’ve also been able to assist with the company’s online marketing strategies and evaluation of marketing tactics. In years past, I’ve run a dog-walking business, dove for and peddled sand dollars to tourists at the beach, and volunteered for nonprofit enterprises such as [NAME OF ORGANIZATION]. I often spend time brainstorming ideas for new companies as well. Meanwhile, I love exploring the business of sports, specifically football, and am endlessly researching blockbuster deals, contracts, and trades. For all these reasons, I’ve become enamored with business as my chosen pathway to making a significant impact on the world around me. At Emory, I look forward to uplifting both my community and my business propensity to new heights.

Why Essay #1 Worked

This essay effectively communicates the applicant's passion and commitment to a career in strategy and management consulting. It successfully links the applicant's diverse interests in psychology, economics, and political science to their chosen field, demonstrating a well-rounded and thoughtful approach to their academic and career goals. 

Including specific examples, such as the internship experience and entrepreneurial ventures, also provides concrete evidence of the student’s engagement and skills in business. 

Additionally, the essay clearly articulates how Emory’s Goizueta School of Business aligns with their aspirations, showcasing a strong fit between the applicant's goals and the program's offerings.

Sample Essay #2

Prompt: “Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?

The hair stood up on my arms the first time I heard Frederic Chopin’s “Suffocation” (Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28 No.4). After just two musical phrases, I was gripped. I’m convinced that, in 1839, Chopin composed this piece just for me. In a way, it's like that movie scene in The Shining where Lloyd the bartender says to Jack, “You are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker.” I am the pianist, I’ve always been the pianist. 
“Suffocation” contains precious little composer notation, so it’s my job to interpret it. To start, Chopin notates espressivo piano, so I show my soft, kind side. He writes stretto, and I build with confidence and exuberance. Scattered crescendos/decrescendos highlight my intensity and spirit. A final smorzando pianissimo exhibits my calm and grounded nature. Mr. Hallorann from The Shining says, “Some places… shine, and some don’t.” For me, this piece shines.

Why Essay #2 Worked

Essay 2 effectively resonates with the prompt by vividly illustrating a deep, personal connection with Chopin's "Suffocation" (Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28 No.4). It skillfully intertwines the music with the writer's identity as a pianist, demonstrating how the piece mirrors and expresses their own characteristics and emotions. 

This personalization, coupled with references to "The Shining," adds a unique and compelling layer to the narrative, making the essay stand out.

FAQs: How to Write the Emory University Supplemental Essays

Below are some of the frequently asked questions and answers about the supplemental essays:

1. Does Emory Have Supplemental Essays?

Yes, Emory does require supplemental essays as part of its application process. These essays are an important component of the application, providing applicants the opportunity to showcase their individuality, interests, and how they align with Emory's values and community.

2. How Many Essays Do You Need to Write for Emory?

You typically need to write two supplemental essays for your Emory application.

Final Thoughts

The Emory supplemental essay is your chance to highlight the unique attributes that distinguish you from other candidates. Your essay should be thoughtfully composed and captivating while effectively conveying your values and aspirations. 

A well-written essay can significantly enhance your prospects of securing a place at Emory University. Best of luck!

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