Essay questions evolve as our students' reactions to them change. Our goal is to present prompts that serve as jumping off points for many types of students. There have been times when I've thought a question was amazing, but it hasn't inspired too many (like the "Dumbest Generation" question from 2010-2011) and times when I've thought that it was time to retire some questions just to have students passionately advocate for them to stay.
This year, the required essay that is on the Common Application is changing. The Common App prompts (PDF) cover some of the topics we had in our supplemental questions, so it made sense to wipe the slate almost completely clean and come up with some new prompts.
2013-2014 UVa Supplement Essay Questions for First Year Applicants
1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to the school you selected. Limit your answer to a half page or roughly 250 words.
- College of Arts & Sciences: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
- Engineering: If you were given funding for a small engineering project, what would you do?
- Architecture: Students in the school of architecture study the physical design of the environment in which we live, including cities, landscapes, and buildings. That environment has a profound effect on the way that people and societies interact and develop. Describe how a particular physical place has influenced your growth as a person.
- Nursing: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
- Kinesiology: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.
2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words:
- What is your favorite word and why?
- The Honor Code at U.Va. states that students will not lie, cheat, or steal. This strengthens our Community of Trust. What would you add to the Honor Code and why?
- In 2006, graduate student Robert Stilling discovered an unpublished poem by Robert Frost while doing research in U.Va.’s Small Collections Library. Where will your Stilling moment be in college?
- We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
- To tweet or not to tweet?
Believe it or not, I have nothing to do with that last option.
What do you think?