Trinity College Supplement Essay

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Duke University Application Essay Prompts


Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better — perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background — we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words maximum)


The 250-word essay reminds applicants to consider what makes them unique as people, and what diversity they can bring to the Duke community. This should be similar to other essays you have written, or if not, just write about yourself. What makes you you? What makes you unique? What makes you an actual person instead of just a generic applicant? As the prompt says, Duke wants to get to know the real person behind the application, so write in your own voice about your own experiences, and try to tell it as a story.


Pratt School and Trinity College Prompts


If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 words maximum)


If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (150 words maximum)


The 150-word Trinity/Pratt essays will require more in-depth research. For Pratt applicants, probably about a third of this essay (50 words) should be spent on what attracts you to engineering in general, with the remaining 100 words spent on why you want to study engineering at Duke. For Trinity applicants, “Why Duke?” will take up the full 150 words.


For this type of essay, it’s best to avoid generalities unless you can speak passionately about why they’re important to you — you’ve probably heard this advice before, but if you can drop in ‘Princeton’ or ‘Vanderbilt’ instead of ‘Duke’ and have the essay still make sense, you need a lot more specificity.


A piece of advice would be to dig deep into the many special programs that Duke offers, and choose a couple that are of particular interest to you. Interested in taking seminar classes on a specific topic in your first semester at Duke? Look into Duke’s freshman FOCUS program. Love theater? Write about the Mainstage Productions series or Hoof ‘n’ Horn, the completely student-run musical theater society. Maybe you’ve always wanted to study marine biology or ecology, and Duke’s Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC is what attracts you.


Whatever it is, find one of the many offerings that piques your interest and is unique to Duke, and use that to demonstrate your interest in attending. Since you are also asked why you consider Duke a good match for you, how does this unique aspect of Duke relate to your personal background, experiences, and interests?


To summarize, for the first essay, delve deep into your own background and experiences, and tell the story of what makes you different from the thousands of other applicants — that is, why should Duke want you? For the second essay, be as specific as possible about why you want Duke (and also why you want to study engineering, for Pratt applicants).


For further assistance and advice, check out the CollegeVine admissions specialists and mentorship services!


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