• Office of Undergraduate Admissions
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  • For Freshmen

Drone shot of the UofSC Visitor Center on the Horseshoe as the sun is setting

Freshman Requirements

Freshmen applicants are currently in high school or have graduated high school and never attended a post-secondary institution. Freshmen are sometimes referred to as "first-year" students at other schools. If you would like more information about the University of South Carolina, provide us with your information so we can add you to our mailing list!

General Requirements

The University of South Carolina will be test-optional for the spring, summer and fall 2023 terms. This applies to general university and South Carolina Honors College admission, as well as merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Freshman admission will be based primarily on high school courses and grades. Students will indicate on their application whether or not they want UofSC to consider their standardized test scores in the admission process.

Required Materials

All domestic first-year applicants must submit the following items:  

We accept the Common Application or the UofSC Application . Choose the application you are most comfortable using; we do not prefer one application over the other. You must select two major choices and complete the essay and activities section regardless of application type. List your top major choice first, and select two different majors.

Regardless of which application you select, you must pay the $65 nonrefundable application fee or use an ACT, College Board, NACAC, or Common App application fee waiver, if you qualify.

Your high school counselor should submit a school report form on your behalf. This form documents your academic progress and may include a school profile. Your counselor can access this form regardless of which application platform you choose. Letters of recommendation are not considered for general university admission. Do not send letters of recommendation unless you are applying to our  South Carolina Honors College .

Upload a clear, legible unofficial copy of your high school transcript in a JPG or PDF format. The unofficial transcript must list grades through the conclusion of your junior year and include your full name and high school name. A web-based copy of your transcript will meet this requirement. You will self-report your senior year schedule and credits on the application. Do not send an official high school transcript to the admissions office unless it is requested.

If you have already graduated from high school, you must request to have your official high school transcript with your graduation date sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by the deadlines. You do not need to complete the “Senior Year Schedule” section of the application.

Test-Optional Admissions FAQ

Students are not required to submit standardized SAT or ACT scores through the spring, summer or fall 2023 terms.

Required High School Courses

Students entering UofSC as freshmen are expected to complete the minimum high-school core course curriculum.

AP, Cambridge Intl. and IB Credit

Discover how to receive UofSC credit for Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

u of south carolina supplemental essays

Columbia, South Carolina

University of south carolina | usc.

Want to see your chances of admission at University of South Carolina | USC?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

University of South Carolina | USC's 2022-23 Essay Prompts

Common app personal essay.

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

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PrepScholar SAT

University of South Carolina Requirements for Admission

Choose your test.

What are University of South Carolina's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into University of South Carolina and build a strong application.

School location: Columbia, SC

This school is also known as: Carolina, SC

Admissions Rate: 68.6%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at University of South Carolina is 68.6% . For every 100 applicants, 69 are admitted.

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This means the school is moderately selective . The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

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We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies . We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.

Get Into Your Top Choice School

University of South Carolina GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 4

The average GPA at University of South Carolina is 4 .

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(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 4, University of South Carolina requires you to be at the top of your class . You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate . This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

University of South Carolina SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1275

The average SAT score composite at University of South Carolina is a 1275 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes University of South Carolina Competitive for SAT test scores.

University of South Carolina SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile SAT score is 1180, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1370. In other words, a 1180 on the SAT places you below average, while a 1370 will move you up to above average .

Here's the breakdown of SAT scores by section:

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

University of South Carolina has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."

This means that University of South Carolina requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1300 on one test and a 1500 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.

More commonly, the school will take your highest score on a single test date. Even better, some schools form a Superscore - that is, they take your highest section score across all your test dates and combine them.

Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that University of South Carolina will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit . The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1275, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it . You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.

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Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 240+ Points

University of South Carolina ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, University of South Carolina likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 28

The average ACT score at University of South Carolina is 28. This score makes University of South Carolina Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

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The 25th percentile ACT score is 25, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 31.

Even though University of South Carolina likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 25 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 28 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to University of South Carolina, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 28.

image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.

University of South Carolina requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section . They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that University of South Carolina requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not . At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.

Final Admissions Verdict

Because this school is moderately selective, strong academic performance will almost guarantee you admission . Scoring a 1370 SAT or a 31 ACT or above will nearly guarantee you admission. Because the school admits 68.6% of all applicants, being far above average raises the admission rate for you to nearly 100%.

If you can achieve a high SAT/ACT score, the rest of your application essentially doesn't matter. You still need to meet the rest of the application requirements, and your GPA shouldn't be too far off from the school average of 4. But you won't need dazzling extracurriculars and breathtaking letters of recommendation to get in. You can get in based on the merits of your score alone.

But if your score is a 1180 SAT or a 25 ACT and below, you have a good chance of being one of the unlucky few to be rejected.

Admissions Calculator

Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are. Pick your test: SAT ACT

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

At PrepScholar, we've created the leading online SAT/ACT prep program . We guarantee an improvement of 160 SAT points or 4 ACT points on your score, or your money back.

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Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of University of South Carolina here.

Application Requirements Overview

Testing Requirements

Coursework Requirements

Deadlines and Early Admissions

Admissions Office Information

Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school's admissions process and found the following information:

Complete a general application by December 1 to be considered for scholarships. A full list of scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students is available here .

If you're interested in the Honors College, you will complete an honors application alongside your general university application, due November 15th. Additionally, if you apply by December 1 you will be considered for the Capstone Scholars program , a two-year enrichment program.

Other Schools For You

If you're interested in University of South Carolina, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to University of South Carolina.

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Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are have higher average SAT scores than University of South Carolina. If you improve your SAT score, you'll be competitive for these schools.

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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

If you're competitive for University of South Carolina, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.

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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

If you're currently competitive for University of South Carolina, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If University of South Carolina is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.

If You Liked Our Advice...

Our experts have written hundreds of useful articles on improving your SAT score and getting into college. You'll definitely find something useful here.

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University of South Carolina Undergraduate College Application Essays

These University of South Carolina college application essays were written by students accepted at University of South Carolina. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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College Application Essays accepted by University of South Carolina

Stick with me amanda craig hudson, university of south carolina.

As I sit staring with droopy eyes at my computer, the mere thought of having to write another 1000 word essay describing the “most influential person in my life” or “a time that I made a bad decision” makes me cringe. With seven essays down, and...

The Performance Changed the Performer Anonymous

Two flamboyant characters sat in the center of the first row; I saw their hands dancing wildly in the air while I tiptoed quietly into the theatre so as not to pop their bubble of eccentricity. However, the heavy door’s loud click as it closed...

Kolbe Francis Roy Graham

Some of the most heroic people are those who aren’t tremendously famous. In 1941, after three prisoners had escaped a work camp, the SS selected ten men to die of starvation in an underground bunker in order to discourage escape attempts. Among...

Dream to Race Paige Dougherty

Turning around the sharp corner and onto the straightway, the car next to me, number 32, inched closer and closer to the inside of the track, forcing me to move to the outside. While trying to speed up my pace around the next curve, my car’s front...

Good ole days Jake Galante

"I think I'm ready to go home now," I inform my roommate Patrick, yet again, as we mix cement and shovel rocks for hours upon hours under the beating Mexican sun. It is Tuesday of our week-long mission trip to Nuevo Durango, and I already feel...

The Pastor's Daughter Lauren DeRoco

I nervously sat down to the computer and started typing. Creating an Evite wouldn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but it was to me. Always having been too shy to reach out to my teammates from soccer, I had never been included in their...

Selfishness Anonymous

I slowed my car outside of the soup kitchen and looked at the parking lot. There was one space left, and the only way I could park was to back up into it, which I was terrible at. My heart dropped into my stomach.

Nervously, I put my car in...

No Pain, No Gain Anonymous

First, it was my leg. I was three years old, running around the grassy backyard in my sparkly purple leotard, quietly catching glances of my neighbors flying up and down from across the lawn. With a misguided confidence, I determined that I,...

Recent Questions about University of South Carolina

The Question and Answer section for University of South Carolina is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

What does this tell us about Atticus when Heck says it is a one shot job?

Heck's comment tells us that there won't be another shot.... that killing Tim Johnson has to be accomplished by the best shot.... "One-Shot Finch".

Univ of South Carolina

I'm sorry, this question will require you to contact the University directly. This is a short-answer literature forum, I do not have that information. You might begin by looking at the University's website.

What are your top majors?

I'm not sure I understand the question. If you are seeking information about majors at the University of South Carolina, I'd advise you to go directly to the University's website.

u of south carolina supplemental essays

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Secondary Essay Prompts – University of South Carolina School of Medicine

u of south carolina supplemental essays

Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, SC.

2019 – 2020

The 2019 – 2020 secondary essay prompts from this school are not currently available. Please check back at a later date.

2018 – 2019

Please address the following question in a short essay of 500 words or less (either type or copy and paste into the text box):

One of the Guiding Principles of the USCSOM Greenville is to “produce physicians competent not only in medical knowledge, technical skills and patient care, but also in compassion, collaborative interpersonal communication, professional responsibility and ethical behavior.” Patients sometimes complain that physicians are “aloof”, “don’t seem to care” or “lack compassion”. How, especially in a busy and often hectic setting, can a physician best demonstrate his or her compassion and genuine concern for a patient? How might compassionate patient-centered care improve patient outcomes?

Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

2017 – 2018.

Secondary essay webcast with Dr. Jessica Freedman, founder and president of MedEdits Medical Admissions.   Read more about Dr. Freedman.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Secondary Essay

University of South Carolina School of Medicine

Topics covered in this presentation:

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Admissions Requirements

Learn more about this school:

Secondary Essay Prompts for Other Schools

Do you want to see secondary essay prompts for other medical schools?

Select a school below:

Secondary Essay Prompts By School

University of Arizona College of Medicine (Tucson) University of Arizona College of Medicine (Phoenix) A.T. Still University–School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), Mesa Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (AZCOM), Glendale

University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), Dothan Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Auburn Campus (VCOM-Auburn), Auburn

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Little Rock Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM), Fort Smith

California Northstate University School of Medicine, Elk Grove Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Irvine University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, Riverside University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine–California (TUCOM-CA), Vallejo Western University of Health Sciences/ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (Western U/COMP), Pomona

University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM), Parker


Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, Hamden University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington Yale School of Medicine, New Haven

DC, Washington

Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington Howard University College of Medicine, Washington

Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Boca Raton Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton Campus (LECOM Bradenton), Bradenton Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM), Fort Lauderdale

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, Augusta Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia Campus–Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM), Suwanee

University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu

Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM), Des Moines

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), Meridian

Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, North Chicago Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM), Downers Grove

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM), Indianapolis

University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City

University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville University of Pikeville–Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM), Pikeville

Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, New Orleans Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, Shreveport Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans

University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM), Biddeford

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Bethesda University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore


Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Harvard Medical School, Boston Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Mount Pleasant Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), East Lansing

Mayo Medical School, Rochester University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis


University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), Hattiesburg

Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis A.T. Still University–Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM), Kirksville Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), Kansas City

Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha

University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM), Henderson

New Hampshire

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM), Stratford

University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM), Las Cruces

Albany Medical College, Albany Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx City University of New York School of Medicine, New York Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York Hofstra North Shore – Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo New York Medical College, Valhalla New York University School of Medicine, New York State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester Weill Cornell Medicine, New York New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), Old Westbury Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine–New York (TouroCOM-NY), New York City

North Carolina

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, WinstonSalem Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM), Lillington

North Dakota

University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), Athens

University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM), Tulsa

Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, Portland


Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Erie Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Philadelphia

Puerto Rico

Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine, Ponce San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Caguas Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, Bayamon University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan

Rhode Island

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence

South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Charleston University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville, Greenville Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Carolinas Campus (VCOM-Carolinas), Spartanburg

South Dakota

Sanford School of Medicine The University of South Dakota, Vermillion

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City Meharry Medical College, Nashville University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Memphis Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville Lincoln Memorial University–DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM), Harrogate

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, San Antonio University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Harlingen University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM), San Antonio University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM), Ft. Worth

University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City

University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington

Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), Lynchburg Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Virginia Campus (VCOM-Virginia), Blacksburg

University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM), Yakima

West Virginia

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), Lewisburg

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison

*Data collected from MSAR 2022-2023, 2022 Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, and institution website.

Disclaimer: The information on this page was shared by students and/or can be found on each medical school’s website. MedEdits does not guarantee it’s accuracy or authenticity.


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University of Southern California (USC) 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 15

You Have: 

University of Southern California 2022-23 Application Essay Questions Explained 

The Requirements: 2 or 3 essays (depending on major selection) of up to 250 words; 2 short-answer lists.

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why , Oddball , Short Answer , Community

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 word limit)

Unlike the second prompt above, this one is all about your enduring academic interests and passions, but it’s not really about you. Rather, it’s not about you alone. This is USC’s take on the classic Why essay. In asking how you plan to pursue your interests, admissions is really trying to suss out your core reasons for choosing USC. While college will offer you a wealth of social and professional opportunities, its primary function is academic — and your primary role is as a student. So, what kind of student do you hope to be? Where do you hope your studies will take you? What resources and opportunities does USC offer that will meet your needs and guide you towards your goals?

To answer these questions, set aside an hour or two to pore over the USC website (there’s no hack, you’ve just got to put in the time). Beyond the basic departmental listings, look up information about news and research coming out of your department, the kinds of courses available, the opportunities that other undergrads have had studying in your area of choice. Even if you have a wide array of interests, consider explaining how two to three departments might complement each other or foster your interest in a larger idea or theme. Your ultimate goal is to show that your interest in USC (just like your intellectual curiosity) runs deep!

Describe yourself in three words (25 characters).

When the challenge is pith, the opportunity is humor. We rarely offer an across-the-board directive to be funny because humor writing is hard — and sometimes it just simply isn’t appropriate for the story you need to tell in a longer essay. But with lists and short answers, it’s wit that will make you stand out. Your answer doesn’t need to be laugh-out-loud funny, but it should avoid the generalities that so often populate these questions: loyal, kind, smart… you get the idea. We’re sure you are all of these things — and they are lovely qualities to showcase in the stories you tell elsewhere in your essay — but these sorts of terms can ring hollow if you aren’t able to back them up with evidence. A good place to start might be to examine your contradictions (you’re mostly easy-going, until you start playing Scrabble) and craft an essay that showcases some funny irony about your personality. Think about how different people in your life would describe you, and then think about order. Can you make it read like a very short story? Can you make it rhyme? Though this assignment is short, you may need to spend some time wordsmithing different combinations. When the prescribed format is a list, order matters just as much as content, so use every element of the assignment to your advantage!

The following prompts have a 100 character limit:

What is your favorite snack, best movie of all time:, if your life had a theme song, what would it be, dream trip:, what tv show will you binge watch next, which well-known person or fictional character would be your ideal roommate, favorite book:, if you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be.

Behold! USC’s attempt at being quirky! You’ve been limited to less than the length of a tweet for each answer, so you’d better make every word (and character) count! These prompts don’t have time for generalities or gentle introductions, so you’ll have to cut straight to the point. The more specific your words are, the more memorable your answers will be. Favorite snack? Don’t just say, “popcorn and Junior Mints.” How about, “A box of junior mints melting over hot popcorn as I watch a horror movie” (72 characters). If you can paint a funny picture or display a knack for wit, take this chance, but don’t force it. You also don’t exactly have to think of this as filling in the blanks, but more as filling in any blanks in your application. Anything that doesn’t feel like it merits a full essay can go here as a tweet, hot take, punchline, or elegantly-worded sentence.

USC Dornsife Applicants: Please provide an essay of no more than 250 words on the topic below. In your response, we encourage you to write about something that you haven’t already discussed elsewhere in your application.

For more information, please click here ., many of us have at least one issue or passion that we care deeply about – a topic on which we would love to share our opinions and insights in hopes of sparking intense interest and continued conversation. if you had ten minutes and the attention of a million people, what would your talk be about (250 words).

We at CEA love this question because it’s a unique way of asking applicants: what do you care about and why? What’s important to you? What information do you wish other scholarly minds had access to? Start by making a list. Maybe you’d like to use your ten minutes to speak about media literacy and how we can and should consider what we see online through the lens of the powers that dictate how and when we receive information. Perhaps you’d want to spread the word about the dangers of climate change and the irreversible impact it will have on the planet if we don’t take action swiftly. What keeps you up at night? What kind of positive effect do you want to have on the world? These are the questions you should be asking yourself when brainstorming for this prompt. Bonus points if you can speak to how a USC Dornsife education will prepare you to address this issue head-on in the future! 

USC Viterbi Applicants:

The student body at the usc viterbi school of engineering is a diverse group of unique engineers and computer scientists who work together to engineer a better world for all humanity. describe how your contributions to the usc viterbi student body may be distinct from others. please feel free to touch on any part of your background, traits, skills, experiences, challenges, and/or personality in helping us better understand you. (250 words).

USC Viterbi School of Engineering wants to accept students who will contribute to diversity on campus. When considering an aspect of your identity or background to expand upon, we recommend choosing one that has had the biggest impact on the way you experience and interact with the world. Ideally, the unique aspect you select should come with a couple anecdotes. Maybe you want to write about your experience as a person living with a disability and how this has shaped your interest in engineering, design, and accessibility. Perhaps you embody #BlackGirlMagic and will bring a fresh perspective to a field in which women of color are underrepresented. Regardless of the part of your identity you choose to address, be specific about how it impacts your worldview and how it will add a distinct perspective to USC Viterbi.

The Engineering Grand Challenges (for USC Viterbi Applicants):

The national academy of engineering (nae) and their 14 grand challenges go hand-in-hand with our vision to engineer a better world for all humanity. engineers and computer scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. learn more about the nae grand challenges at http://engineeringchallenges.org and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why. (250 words).

Strong responses to this prompt will showcase self-reflection, care for the greater good, and ambition. Review the fourteen Grand Challenges and see which you connect with the most. Maybe you’re passionate about providing access to clean water, since you know firsthand what it’s like to not have that access in your hometown in Michigan. Perhaps you hope to engineer better medicines in honor of a loved one you lost to illness prematurely. Maybe you’ve always been fascinated with outer space and would jump at the opportunity to engineer new tools of scientific discovery. Make sure to relate your own life experiences and/or interests to the challenges the world is facing and emphasize how you’d like to be part of the solution.

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2022-23 USC Supplemental Essay Prompts and Tips

When applying to a school like the University of Southern California, it is important to grasp that their acceptance rate in 2022 is lower than Harvard’s back in the late 1990s. Last cycle, USC received roughly 69,000 applications and admitted just 12% from that pool. We don’t bring up these numbers or the Friends -era Harvard comparison to cause future applicants unnecessary fear. Rather, we want aspiring Trojans to realize that in addition to strong high school grades and standardized test scores, they need to excel in other critical areas of their application as well. This brings us to the topic of the USC supplemental essays.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into the University of Southern California? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into USC: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

The supplemental essay section offered by USC is a fairly epic one and presents just such an opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from swarms of other qualified applicants. In addition to one 250-word essay, you are also required to answer 10 short answer questions. Below are the USC’s supplemental prompts for the 2022-23 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one.

2022-23 USC Supplemental Essays – Required Prompt #1

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words)

This is part “Why Us?” and part “Explain Your Major” and your aim is to seamlessly touch on both topics in a tightly-woven 250-word composition. For a deeper dive, let’s examine a list of characteristics of a winning USC “Why Us?” essay:

In any “Why Us?” composition, you need to show that you’ve done your homework on a given school, but you don’t want it to read like a robotic list of items that you Googled ten minutes before writing the essay (even if the timing of the Google search is roughly accurate). In addition to the pure research element, a lot of the time and skill required in creating a stellar USC essay will involve connecting the classes, professors, opportunities, etc. of interest that you have uncovered to your distinct values, talents, aims, proficiencies, and future goals.

USC Short Answers

(25 characters each)

It would be a bit silly to try to advise you on what your favorite snack is. Obviously, the USC admissions committee wants to hear “Pepperoni Pizza Combos” but will also accept “Ranch-flavored Bugles”. As such, we’ll keep our advice on these a bit broader:

How important are the USC supplemental essays?

There are five factors that USC considers to be “very important” to their candidate evaluation process and the essay section is one of them. Along with GPA, standardized test scores, rigor of high school coursework, and recommendations, the Common App and supplement essays play a huge role in the USC admissions staff’s decision-making.

Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

Lastly, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your USC supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.

u of south carolina supplemental essays

Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

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How to Write the UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental Essays: Guide + Examples 2022/2023

u of south carolina supplemental essays


How to Write Each Supplemental Essay Prompt for UNC Chapel Hill

Think of the UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essays as a Venn diagram.

Each prompt is a circle. And each circle is filled with details about some aspect of who you are. 

And you know that nice little space in the middle of a Venn diagram where the circles overlap?

Yep, that’s you.

Not sure what all those circles (and triangles, and maybe even pentagons) make you, well, you? No worries, we’re here to help.

Want to get a better sense of what UNC Chapel Hill is looking for before you start writing? You’ll find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at its offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, on its Common Data Set . For deep insights into how this public research university envisions student success (and how it wants to grow and evolve), read its strategic priorities . Reading through this will give you a strong idea of UNC Chapel Hill’s values.

What are the UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essay prompts?

Unc chapel hill supplemental essay prompt #1.

In addition to the essay you provided with your Common Application, please choose two of the prompts below and respond to each in 200-250 words. Your essay responses below should be different from your common app essay response. Carolina aspires to build a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that students can only achieve their best when they learn alongside students from different backgrounds. In reading your responses, we hope to learn what being a member of such a community would mean to you.

Describe an aspect of your identity and how this has shaped your life experiences or impacted your daily interactions with others? Describe a peer who is making a difference in your school or community. What actions has that peer taken? How has their work made a difference in your life? If you could change one thing to better your community, what would it be? Please explain. Former UNC-Chapel Hill employee, community service member, and civil rights activist Esphur Foster once said “We are nothing without our history.” How does history shape who you are?

UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental Essay Prompt #2

You’ll complete all four of the following fill-in-the-blank Please complete these short fill-in-the-blanks in 25 words or less.

One family, friend, or school tradition I cherish… If I had an extra hour in every day, I would spend it... If I could travel anywhere, near or far, past, present or future, I would go… The last time I stepped outside my comfort zone, I... People who meet me are most likely to notice...and least likely to notice...

UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essay prompt #1

As a public university, UNC Chapel Hill puts a lot of value in people and the experiences they bring to the table. Much of what school officials are interested in is how you relate to the world around you. The Common App personal statement is a great way to show off who you are as a person, but the focus of many of these supplemental prompts is everything outside of you. We encourage you to use these two additional short essays to show that you have an awareness about the influence of other people, communities, and perspectives. 

General Tips:

Don’t repeat what’s in your personal statement. The prompts are explicitly asking you to talk about something new. Remember the Venn diagram analogy; each essay is a circle, and each circle should contain different details.

Brainstorm a list of communities and see which ones you would be the most excited to write about. Several of these prompts (specifically #1 and #3) are asking you to think about different communities you’re a part of and expand on what they mean to you. Before you start writing, brainstorm. And don’t write about the same community for both your essays. Each one is a chance to showcase a new part of yourself. Here are different ways to approach the idea of community:

Place: Groups of people who live/work/play near one another

Identity: Groups of people who share a common race, sexuality, ethnicity, or other marker of identity 

Action: Groups of people who create change in the world by building, doing, or solving something together (ex.: Black Lives Matter, Girls Who Code, March for Our Lives)

Interest: Groups of people coming together based on a shared interest, experience, or expertise

Circumstance: Groups of people brought together either by chance or external events/situations

Get specific. Don’t just give a generic answer followed by a generic reason for your generic answer. Be creative and use details that give you a distinctive/memorable voice.

Use the space they give you. You only get about 250 words per answer, so try to use it all up. If you don’t have 200-250 words to say about something, consider writing about something else.

When you can, try to make your answers school-specific. Because it’s a big public school, UNC Chapel Hill receives a ton of applications. The more you can do to demonstrate that you’ve done your research, the better chance you have of standing out. Universities want to feel wanted. None of these prompts explicitly mention UNC, but imagine that each of them has an implicit “Why us?” at the end. Even if they aren’t asking you about UNC, you want to give them an idea of how you could fit into their school community.

Expand on the impact of your topic. Why does impact matter? It helps the reader understand why they should care. Hopefully, the topic you’ve chosen is something you’re already pretty jazzed about. The key here is getting your reader to be just as jazzed as you, and showing impact is the way to do it. Here are some ways to think about impact:

Numbers . Perhaps what you choose to talk about has a particularly shocking statistic. Maybe your interest in that topic inspired you to do something that had a significant numerical effect. Consider adding specific numbers to bolster your claims and give your readers a sense of magnitude.

Anecdotal evidence of impact, or quotations . Impact doesn’t have to be quantitative to convey urgency, importance, or power. The more of you that you put in your essay, the better.

Personal impact (on you, the author) in the form of lessons learned, skills gained. It’s especially interesting to note if these skills transferred to other areas of your life. 

Write it long first, then cut it. In our experience, this tends to be easier than writing a very short version and then trying to figure out what to add. 

Here’s a great example if you’re choosing the first option.

Option 1: Describe an aspect of your identity and how this has shaped your life experiences or impacted your daily interactions with others?

You wouldn’t think an American Asian Affinity Space would be diverse, after all its whole premise is centered around one specific identity. However, members of the affinity space at my high school come from several different grades, genders and ethnicities. The group included a sophomore from China, a junior from Pakistan, and members from Korea, Japan, and even Israel. We each had unique stories of living as an Asian-American, yet, we had all chosen to come to this affinity group. As we spent time together, we were able to find shared experiences, like our parents preparing packed lunches for us from our country and being too embarrassed to bring them to school. Whether eating humbow or biryani, we all knew what it was like to feel out of place.  My work with the AAAS got me thinking about what diversity can look like, and what it means to embrace diversity. On the one hand, you can find diversity even when people appear to be alike. By exploring our differences, we can continue learning from each other even when it seems we have shared backgrounds and values. At the same time, people who seem really different may have shared human experiences, feeling like the "other" or being embarrassed by their parents, that can bring them together. Moving forward, I want to learn about people’s differences, hearing their stories and learning about their backgrounds while also creating spaces for people to have shared experiences that bring people together. — — — 

Tips + Analysis

Challenge a misconception or generalization. This applicant does a great job of subverting expectations when it comes to her American-Asian identity. She highlights how her affinity group was more diverse than one might generally expect. By doing this, she demonstrates a compelling ability to self-reflect and see nuance within important cultural spaces. The idea that diversity is more than what meets the eye is a mature and complex insight that makes this essay stand out. This is a prompt that allows you to show off your ability to “see behind the curtain,” so to speak, when it comes to a specific community or identity. Acknowledging an assumption and then challenging it is an excellent way to do this.

Highlight growth. When you answer this prompt, it’s great if you can create a narrative arc by showing how you developed within a specific identity. In this case, the author talks about her growing ability to find common ground with other members of her affinity group. In this way, she’s showing her values of inclusion, culture, and diversity. Although this is a short essay, having a “story” is very helpful. Think of the narrative arc as a rope that you can use to pull your reader through your answer. Showing how you changed over time or learned more about yourself compels people to keep reading.

Use paragraph structure to clarify your main points. The author here uses her first paragraph to expand on a part of her identity (being Asian American) and the second paragraph to expand on how that part of her identity has shaped her values and perceptions. She also touches on how this ties into her ongoing interest in creating inclusive spaces and embracing difference. This is a really nice way to answer the prompt because it’s very clear which part of the question she’s answering in each paragraph. The first paragraph sets the scene of the past, and then the second one speaks more to the present and future. Having a paragraph break also gives the reader a chance to breathe before moving right into the second half of the answer. Try to use the structure of your piece to amplify your content.

Connect to the future. As we mentioned, the author does a nice job of segueing into how the lessons she learned from her American Asian Affinity group have inspired her interest in creating more inclusive spaces. This is something you should do in your essay too. You don’t have to be super specific about what you want to do (although you definitely can!), but giving your reader a sense of how this aspect of your identity would impact what you do or who you’d interact with in college helps them better understand what kind of student you’d be.

Here’s a great example of an essay answering the second option:

Option 2: Describe a peer who is making a difference in your school or community. What actions has that peer taken? How has their work made a difference in your life? (200-250 words)

When I met Bella, my ears didn’t work. I could hear, but not listen. When I conversed with friends, we were in our own universes. There was little empathy, just interruptions and distractions. And because nobody around me seemed to have the desire to listen, I gave up on it too. From the moment Bella and I were crowned co-winners of a middle-school cup-stacking competition, each winning half of a coveted cookie cake, things changed. I soon realized how perceptive Bella was to people’s feelings.  Our chats morphed into meaningful conversations and fits of laughter. She was the first friend I came out to as bi. After telling her, I waited nervously for the uncomfortable acceptance and frantic search for other conversation topics. But instead, she looked me in the eye and said she loved me no matter who I loved. Then, she asked curious questions rather than trying to ignore my identity. And I was there for Bella too. When she told me about the emotional distance she felt growing up far away from her dad who lives in South Korea, I supported her, not trivializing her pain with dismissive reassurances. Since our cup-stacking battle, we’ve been strong for each other. Bella unplugged my ears. That’s why she was the first person I interviewed for my podcast, Portraits, about people in my life. I know that as an empathetic listener, I am more vulnerable now, but, thanks to Bella, I understand how to communicate love. (246 words)  — — —

Consider starting with a punchy first line. This author’s first line is super strong. All she says is, “When I met Bella, my ears didn’t work.” This raises lots of questions. Who’s Bella? What do you mean your “ears didn’t work?” How did you meet this Bella person? This is the best kind of hook because it elicits more questions than answers. It’s also short and to the point. It’s not overly convoluted. And don’t worry, it’s okay to disorient your reader a bit in the first line. It intrigues people and makes them want to keep reading, particularly when the essay focus isn’t directly on yourself.

Highlight your own values. Think of the peer you choose as an extension of yourself. By writing about what you admire in this person, you are essentially saying that you value those qualities. Although the author of this essay is talking about what a great listener Bella is, she’s also showing us that she cares about empathy and open dialogue. The person you write about becomes your surrogate, so think carefully about how you can represent yourself through the peer you choose. 

Showcase your peer’s impact. Share clear actions that demonstrate how your peer is making a difference. Paint a clear picture so readers can understand the tangible effects they’ve had in their school or community. Detailing your peer’s impact emphasizes your own observation skills and offers insight into how you perceive the world around you (and also speaks directly to the new aspect of this prompt, specifying that this peer is someone who is making a difference in your school or community) . When describing actions, remember to include as many specific, sensory details as possible. Consider how your peer’s actions resonated with you and recreate that moment for the reader. Though this response doesn’t exactly address the newly modified UNC Chapel Hill prompt, the topic could have still worked by noting how Bella gave to her community in an inspiring way. Perhaps, the author could have expanded on other ways in which Bella “unplugged ears” at her school. Or maybe Bella is unplugging more ears by speaking on the author’s podcast.

Embrace vulnerability. This essay is chock full of vulnerability. The author talks about her sexuality and her journey toward a greater sense of empathy. A great essay isn’t just about showing off all your great accomplishments. In fact, reflecting on how you’ve changed over time shows that you’re introspective and adaptable. Nobody is perfect, and oftentimes it works to your advantage to embrace that. A great question to ask yourself if you’re writing for this prompt is: How did this person help me grow? Think of the answer to that question as the frame for your essay and fill the details in with the words you have left.

Make your reader want to be friends with this person too. After reading this essay, we want to sit down with Bella and absorb her awesomeness. The author writes about her in such a way that we feel the love she has for her friend. Part of what helps us feel that love is the amount of details she includes. She tells us about the cookie cake competition that started it all and the kinds of topics she talked about with Bella. Those specific moments where she explains what it felt like coming out as bi or listening to Bella talk about her family situation in Korea give us a more visceral sense of what this friendship looked like. Get someone who doesn’t know the person you’re writing about to read your essay when it’s finished. That person should want to meet your peer after they read it. Remember, you might know the person who you choose super well, but your reader has never met them before and needs you to do as much legwork as possible in conveying all the aspects that make them worth writing about.

Option 3: If you could change one thing to better your community, what would it be? Please explain.

My earliest memory of orchestra wasn’t about the orchestra, but what happened after. I was ten, and a kind retirement community resident was so enamored by our performance, she invited my family to her apartment for cookies. This was a glimpse of what was to come: standing ovations, the tears in my neighbor’s eyes when my music reminded her of her hometown, the community my fellow string members and I formed over nervous glances before the curtain went up. I knew my peers could benefit from these rewards, so I started a strings club at my high school. The school band teacher agreed to conduct, and I spread the word through social media and flyers. The club started off as a small-but-mighty group of four, but grew as we tutored beginner violinists. At the end of our first concert, I was moved by the shared hugs, the high-fives, and the satisfaction on the students’ faces as they saw a teary family member in the audience.  I’m proud of our strings club, but I still have the nagging sense that it isn’t enough. Our school was only the third out of thirty in the county to begin an orchestra club, so there are still hundreds of students who can benefit from being a part of the orchestra community. It would require school administrators to recognize the impacts orchestral music can have on teens’ growing brains, but I hope to one day see many more string clubs at schools across our county. — — —

Be positive about a negative. This applicant skillfully addresses the need for orchestral music while not criticizing administrators or bashing the school for not having a strings club. She paints positive pictures of cookies with a retiree, students bonding over high-fives, and the tearful support of parents. If possible, acknowledge what’s already good or working, then frame what you’d change as something to improve or a way to make your community even better.  

Show your advocacy or activism streak. This prompt is an invitation to all those with drive to serve a cause. Maybe you’re an advocate for the environment—could you propose safer crosswalks or more bike racks to encourage pedestrian traffic? Think about what gets you fired up, and how that energy could be used to better your community. What do you care about that hasn’t been addressed elsewhere in your application? Whatever you choose, whether it stems from a cause or a hobby, expressing genuine interest by flexing your values and conveying your enthusiasm will make the reader care too. Speaking of your advocacy work …

Take the opportunity to showcase what you’ve already done. This student reverse-engineered the essay by starting with something she’d already done—established a strings club at her school—speaking to its benefits before advocating for a change for the better: more strings clubs across the district. If you take this approach, though, you’ll probably want to spend a bit more time than this student did on the actual change you’d make, since that’s a key part of the prompt and would allow you to speak to your solutioning skills.

Keep it real(istic). Make sure you address a real issue—with realistic solutions. This author wanted a strings club, got the band teacher on board, started with just four participants, and things grew from there. This probably isn’t the appropriate time to showcase your imagination, unless you have creative and realistic solutions. Notions of solving traffic jams with flying cars or creating a utopian society where everyone sings while they skip to work may be fun, but this question is probing for your values and your problem-solving skills for real-world challenges. 

Think in thirds. The 250-word limit may not feel like a ton of space for what’s essentially a three-part prompt—1) what you’d change, 2) why it’s important, and 3) how you’d contribute—so it may be helpful to divide the essay into three parts. In this example, those three parts looked like this: 1) getting wider support for strings clubs, 2) the rewards of standing ovations and community-building, and 3) … um … ? See how breaking it up this way exposes the gap in this essay? It doesn’t really speak to how this student would contribute to the change she wants to see. So try allocating roughly 1/3 of your words to define a unique challenge in your community that you want to address, 1/3 to explain its importance, and 1/3 to showcase your leadership and problem-solving skills. The division doesn’t have to be exact, but this approach will help you ensure you’re addressing all this prompt is asking for.

Option 4: Former UNC-Chapel Hill employee, community service member, and civil rights activist Esphur Foster once said “We are nothing without our history.” How does history shape who you are?

Here are questions and tips you may want to consider as you go to write this essay:

Find a historical moment that influenced you in some way. Maybe it’s a specific period of time, like the Renaissance (we see you, art history buffs), but keep in mind that it’s generally harder to write a strong essay about something that broad. So maybe it’s a specific event, like the first female American astronaut in space. Or you could make it more personal, exploring your family’s own  history, like how coming from a long line of musicians shaped your love of the ukulele or clarinet. How you define history is wide open here. The key is to choose something that brings it home to you.

What role(s) does history play in your present? You can touch on a couple of those ways or explore one with greater depth. Does history shape how you interact with others? Does it give you context to appreciate your world in new ways? A cautionary note: It may be wise to avoid polarizing topics, to avoid the risk of offending your reader. But if you do go there, consider asking a few trusted friends/mentors for feedback on how your response made them feel about you. 

If you choose a historical moment or event, don’t assume your reader knows as much about the topic as you do, so share enough to provide context. Just don’t get carried away talking about the historical moment and not about yourself. The better approach: As you’re explaining the history, make it personal to you. If it’s about the women’s suffrage movement, for example, maybe you’d share how Susan B. Anthony’s bold stance on labor rights and equal pay inspired you and paved the way for the kind of advocacy work you’re doing today. 

What do you hope your reader learns about you? What are the values you hope your essay conveys? If you don’t know, do this Values Exercise , asking yourself that same question, then read your essay over again. Are those values coming through? If not, tweak it to make sure it does. Still not sure? Ask a trusted friend/mentor whether they’re picking up on the values you identified. 

Bonus points: Consider taking the essay a bit farther than the prompt asks by considering how you’d use your understanding of this history to help others. Don’t repeat something you’ve already shared on your application, but if you’re on a mission to help others, and if that mission is rooted in some historical context, here’s a chance to share another dimension of who you are and what you value. 

Finally, if your response incorporates a quote (as the prompt did), be sure you triple check the authenticity and give credit where credit is due.

Here’s an example we love.

I have a deep adoration for the Golden State, particularly how the diversity due to immigration has added so much to my home.  I wouldn’t even be sitting here in Lafayette writing this if it weren’t for immigration; my great grandfather settled in the US, through Ellis Island to Queens, during the Roaring Twenties. Once World War II rolled around, he enlisted in the Navy, and after 36 months at sea, he wound up in golden San Francisco. From that point on, my lineage has been rooted in Northern California.  Besides my family’s immigration, Asian and Latin American immigration to the Bay Area, which increased in the early 20th century, has positively impacted my experiences here in many ways. Whether it be Dim Sum in Chinatown, Slanted Door’s Vietnamese food in the Mission District (my all-time favorite restaurant), or Tacos El Patron in Pleasant Hill, the dazzling composition of culture has cultivated my adoration of food. I value living in an area with so many represented cultures, and visiting the traditional pockets of ChinaTown and Japantown broadens my horizons and ability to empathize with others. I also love witnessing classic events such as the acclaimed San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. I am ready to leave my home and bring my appreciation for diversity, education, and hard work, and obsession with food, to Chapel Hill. In my new home, I am excited to carry the history of California with me as I cultivate new values and advocate for positive change. (250 words) — — —

Identify a personal connection to history. Acknowledge how history has played a role in your life. What historical connections can you draw on? Consider your various identities and their histories: family, cultural, national, etc. This author establishes the theme of immigration and then immediately shares an example from her family history. Drawing on those influences can help demonstrate your unique perspective of the world.

Expand your historical connection to your present self. Show how history has evolved into the present day. One of the main components of this prompt points to how historical factors often define the here and now. In this essay, the author uses geography and culture to connect her history to the present moment. When you go to write, identify ways in which history maintains its threads in your life today. Think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate a side of yourself that may not be revealed elsewhere in your application. Since history informs all aspects of life, you have lots of options to choose a topic you’d like to expand upon. 

Emphasize core values. Be sure to spotlight new values or values you’d like for UNC Chapel Hill to recognize in you. The open-ended nature of this prompt can sometimes stump students, but if you begin by identifying additional sides of yourself you’d like to reveal, narrow down the potential topics so you’re not trying to do too much with 250 words. This author clearly states four values of “diversity, education, and hard work, and obsession with food,” each of which is illuminated throughout the essay. She also takes the time to envision herself at UNC Chapel Hill to provide more evidence of how she and the school would make a great fit.

UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essay prompt #2

We don’t have any examples to share here, but you can find some great advice on how to write responses to short-answer questions like these in this blog post .

With these tips and examples in mind, you should be ready to start mapping out your own Venn diagram. 

Want advice on dozens of other supplemental essays? Click here

Special thanks to Jon for writing to this post

u of south carolina supplemental essays

Jon (he/him) knows the value of writing from a place of personal truth. As a classically trained theater artist, he is committed to crafting authentic stories that reflect the range of human experience. 

Top Values: Mindfulness | Adaptability | Self-Expression


Create amazing supplemental essays for the most selective schools, polish your activities list, and complete everything else with ease and joy. Learn more here.



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u of south carolina supplemental essays


  1. University of South Carolina: Acceptance Rate, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA

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  1. Office of Undergraduate Admissions

    All application deadlines are the same. On September 1, the South Carolina Honors College application supplement will be available to students who submit the general admission application by November 15. Tips for Applying We communicate heavily through email, so make sure to check it regularly.

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    UofSC offers over 320 degrees of study, as well as an Honors College, the Top Scholars Program, and Capstone Scholars Program. In the 2018-2019 admissions cycle, UofSC received 30,778 applications and ultimately accepted around 63%. The middle 50% GPA of those enrolled students was 3.78-4.5, and for SAT scores, it was 1200-1350.

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    University of Southern California 2022-23 Application Essay Questions Explained The Requirements: 2 or 3 essays (depending on major selection) of up to 250 words; 2 short-answer lists. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball, Short Answer, Community Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC.

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    The supplemental essay section offered by USC is a fairly epic one and presents just such an opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from swarms of other qualified applicants. In addition to one 250-word essay, you are also required to answer 10 short answer questions. Below are the USC's supplemental prompts for the 2022-23 ...


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  13. How to Write the UNC-Chapel Hill Supplemental Essay

    UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental Essay Prompt #1. In addition to the essay you provided with your Common Application, please choose two of the prompts below and respond to each in 200-250 words. Your essay responses below should be different from your common app essay response. Carolina aspires to build a diverse and inclusive community.

  14. How to Write the USC Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

    USC Supplemental Essay Prompts. Prompt 1: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections (250 words). Prompt 2 (Optional): Starting with the beginning of high school/secondary school, if you have had a gap ...