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The Written Interview: Essay Writing

  • Brittney Snider
Posted on January 11, 2018
Application Tips

At Drexel, we review applications holistically. Every required piece of your application is important. We do not rely solely on academic profiles to determine best fit students for our institution.

We like to see the full picture of a student and one of the most enjoyable ways for us to do so is through your Common Application essay. This is the perfect channel for you to truly talk to us, the admissions counselors, and set yourself apart.

This year, the Common Application provided seven essay prompts for you to choose from:

  • 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?
  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • 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. 

No matter which prompt you choose, each option provides a great way for you to share your story in a way that may not have been highlighted in your activities and academic profile alone.

Although this is your story, grammar is still important. You want your essay to be readable. Read it aloud and consider letting someone else read it. Ask yourself if you have truly answered the prompt. Do you sound like a thesaurus or yourself?

Try not to offend the reader. Institutions of higher education provide an inclusive culture. You do not want to paint the picture that you would not add to that culture.

Be Creative. If your essay were the prologue to a book or the back-cover synopsis, would we want to read more? We want to see your passion, your curiosity, your thoughtfulness, and depth in your understanding. What does this essay say about who you are?

The Best Part. You are in total control of your essay. Be authentic.


Brittney is a self-proclaimed "frugalista fashionista" hailing from the first "Small Wonder." She lives for tax-free shopping, misses having her gas pumped for her in college, and bleeds green on any given Sunday.

Brittney Snider

Brittney Snider
Posted in Brittney Snider