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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2009 Application Essays

With the Common App's "go live" date around the corner, I thought I'd post the 2009 application essays for any of the juniors who want to start thinking about their essay topics. All applicants (first-year and transfer) will write three personal statements. Please pay attention to the word limits. These are not term papers, then are short, personal statements.


The Common App General Essay
Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below. This personal essay helps us to become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself.

  • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  • Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  • Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
  • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
  • Topic of your choice.

UVa Supplement Essays for First-Years
1. Answer the question that corresponds to the school you selected above. Limit your answer to a half page or roughly 250 words.
  • College of Arts and Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • Engineering: Discuss experiences that led you to choose an engineering education at U.Va. and the role that scientific curiosity plays in your life.
  • Architecture: What led you to apply to the School of Architecture?
  • Nursing: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.


2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words
  • What is your favorite word and why?
  • Describe the world you come from and how that world shaped who you are.
  • Discuss something you secretly like but pretend not to, or vice versa.
  • "We might say that we were looking for global schemas, symmetries, universal and unchanging laws - and what we have discovered is the mutable, the ephemeral, the complex." Support or challenge Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine's assertion.

UVa Supplement Essays for Transfers
1. How do the possible career or professional plans you indicated on the Common Application relate to your planned course of study?
  • If you are applying to the College of Arts and Sciences and are undecided about your major, indicate your general area of interest.
  • If you are applying to the Architecture, Commerce, Education, Engineering, or Nursing Schools, tell us why you have chosen this field and what experiences (work, internships, etc.) have prepared you for it.
  • If you are applying to the Five-Year Teacher Education Program, indicate your academic major within the College of Arts and Sciences and your intended teaching area (e.g., elementary education, secondary education).

2. Describe your activities during periods of time (other than summer vacations) when you were not enrolled in college. Do you plan to spend the Spring term away from your current college or university? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please describe, in chronological order, your activities or employment during these periods.