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Auburn University is located in Auburn, Alabama and touts a total of 22,658 undergraduate students with a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Although the university began as an all-male private liberal arts institution, it is now represented equally by men and women, and international students from 91 countries.

 

In terms of value, Auburn ranked #2 on the Affordable Colleges Online List of the “Most Affordable Large Public Colleges.” The institution also boasts a D1 sports program with an intense football culture, and its surrounding college town has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top ten best cities to live!

 

Auburn University Application Essay Prompts

The questions posed on the Auburn application are limited to 2000 characters, which should clock in at around 300 words, depending on the writing style. Although this may seem like a hefty amount at first, this limit is actually quite difficult to achieve when describing yourself as a viable candidate for admission. Being concise is crucial in college applications such as this one, as you are trying to simultaneously convey your personality to an admissions officer, gain their trust as a responsible student, and depict yourself as a forward-thinking go-getter.

Prompt #1

Describe extracurricular activities, including leadership positions, in which you have participated.

This question seems to ask for a list, but as the application itself already asks for a resume, one should be careful when approaching it. Rather than list out every single extracurricular activity you have participated in, you should hone in on perhaps two or three that you have the most passion for, and in which you have spent the most time in. That way, your descriptions will be more informative than those given on your attached resume, helping to bring more depth to your character.

 

Doing so also gives the admissions readers a more holistic idea about what your typical week looks like and creates a realistic persona of who you are, rather than just a list of things that you do or did. It is advisable that you include activities in which you held leadership positions (noted in the prompt) to present yourself as a responsible student who is up for tasks not necessarily associated with school or participation.

For example, if involvement in Girl Scouts was a large part of your time, your response could resemble this:

 

    • When I joined my local Girl Scout troop in fourth grade, I found a different, refreshing outlet to explore and articulate my opinions. I progressed through the levels and received numerous badges and pins for my work. However, during my freshman year, a new program called the Girl Advisory Bureau was launched, and I applied to represent Girl Scouts throughout the Greater Los Angeles region. While representing the organization, I was given the opportunity to share one of my most personal stories regarding mental health. In front of a hundred adults, I divulged for the first time my battle with depression and which steps I took to work on not only my personal health but also raising awareness about such a sensitive yet crucial topic to the public. Through Girl Scouts, I fostered a sense of bravery as well as service in myself and utilized such skills to push for mental health awareness in my community as well as personal growth by opening up about my experiences. As a Girl Scout, I have expressed my opinions, worked with others, and further developed my confidence, courage, and character to speak my mind.

 

Make sure to address some sort of growth within this experience, and how you continue to learn and discover yourself through these sorts of activities. It is important to note that as you discuss these extracurriculars, you should phrase the response in a way that demonstrates that these activities were beneficial to your growth but that YOU were the one to ultimately drive your growth and understanding of the world and/or yourself.

Prompt #2

Describe your employment experiences, including positions held, job responsibilities, and dates of employment.

This question should be approached in a similar fashion as the one above, except using employment experiences. If you have had employment experiences, this is a place in which you can not only divulge the dates of employment and job tasks, but also how you fit into the company and what you did to extend your reach past just your responsibilities. Express that you earned many new (or unexpected) skills associated with the job, and how that can apply to your future either professionally or personally.

For example, if you were a cashier at a clothing store:

 

  • When I worked at Forever 21 over the summer after my junior year, I had no idea that I would learn so much about the nuance of fashion marketing. As a sales representative, an exceptional amount of meticulousness and attention to detail were required to keep operations running smoothly. Floor sets were switched out almost once every two weeks, which involved working midnight shifts. Further, I employed methodical and calculated approaches to each table and mannequin, and collaborated with the sales team to design the most approachable looks for the products. Everything was done so that the customer would resonate with the aesthetics while never glimpsing the chaos behind the scenes of revamping a two-story clothing store. I was baffled by how at Forever 21, and in any business, employees actively promote and create the company brand.

Prompt #3

Provide other information about yourself that you would like considered in your application review

This is a chance for you to discuss anything else that might have had a significant impact on you. So long as the experience or information is relevant to your goals and is not expressed in other portions of your application, feel free to respond to this prompt.

 

For example, if you would like to elaborate on your volunteering at a hospital due to your family’s medical troubles, this is your opportunity to do so. Providing concrete reasons that back up your passions may strengthen your application, as the admissions officers will view you as a more holistic person. However, if you have nothing significant to report, it is perfectly acceptable to leave this section blank.

Here is an example that highlights the origin of an important, goal-shaping interest:

 

  • I was serving at a community event when my Congresswoman, Judy Chu, showed up for support. I had previously only seen her on lawn signs and the news, but seeing her in the flesh and supporting my small but wholesome community caused me to swell with pride. I timidly approached her after her little speech to our town and congratulated her for the positive impact she has had on Asian women. We spoke about the perceived “complacency” within Asians and how it is a personal issue for me. As an Asian American in society, especially in situations in which racism still does exist, I now aspire to be an agent of change, urging many of my fellow Asian Americans to be confident and unafraid. As I am looking forward to working in government in the future, double-minority was something that I felt would hold me back, but Congresswoman Chu erased all of my doubts with poise and confidence, showing me that through determination I can be successful at anything I set my mind to. I draw from her experience and develop my own, pushing boundaries to create a better society.

Prompt #4

Describe a significant experience, achievement, or failure in your life and its effect on you.

This is an excellent opportunity to cover something that has not been explained through the first two questions. One of the best approaches to this question would be to hone in on a failure, focusing on what you learned from this failure and how it changed your perspective. This prompt provides a chance to further describe your leadership, decision-making skills, and strategy when facing obstacles.

For example, if you had struggled to start a new club, you could write a response along these lines:

 

  • My freshman year, I was undaunted and started two clubs — Giving Bach (musical philanthropy club) and speech & debate. I was incredibly dedicated to both, but unfortunately I severely underestimated how much time and effort they would require. I found myself juggling my time from speech & debate, obstacles related to school board funding, and the logistics of Giving Bach. The end of my freshman year was punctuated with my speech vice president deposing me. I was devastated and at first did not understand why I was being “betrayed.” Since then, I have come to the realization that instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, investing deeply in one or two commitments or responsibilities can be more beneficial both to me and to other organizations. Whenever I pursue anything now, I guard my time closely to ensure that I can dedicate myself as best I can.

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Prompt #5

What are your goals after college, and how do you think that your selected major at Auburn will help achieve those goals?

Essentially, Auburn University and its admissions officers want to know whether you have a goal that you are working towards, and how much thought you put into your future at the university. This is your opportunity to show your extensive research into Auburn’s majors and how your studies will apply to your future life, as well as why you think that major is unique from other majors offered at various colleges. Even if you want to study something that many other colleges and universities offer, you must explain in this section why you think that major program is the best fit for you. In your response, you must identify your goal and align it with specific opportunities at Auburn.

 

For example, if you were particularly interested in conducting research at Auburn, the university offers a fellowship program that is incredibly unique if you are in the College of Science and Mathematics. This fellowship program allows students to conduct part of their research off-campus and helps connect you to local mentors in case you want to extend your research into the summer and do not want to or are unable to stay on campus. This incredible opportunity is also equipped with funding!

Here’s an example:

 

  • My curious mind always wants to dig deeper for the truth, which I believe makes me suited for research. I am particularly interested in conducting biomedical research while studying biological sciences for a pre-medical track to not only continually learn about the nature of our bodies but also to extend that knowledge to help improve people’s lives, and Auburn is the perfect place for me to pursue that dream. I would flourish under the research fellowships available through the College of Science and Mathematics, as they provide guidelines on how to find mentors and raise funding creatively. At the same time, these fellowships still afford a great amount of leeway and freedom to express my creativity in attempting to understand the topic of my choice. Auburn fosters a research experience that is not only a learning process, but is also supportive of self-development and guiding projects based on each person’s interest — this is incredibly appealing and is the best place for me as I love exploring my passions and would experience a rapid learning curve and personal growth in developing my own research project with proper funding, rather than working directly under a professional researcher in a structured, straightforward environment.

Prompt #6

Describe your reasons for selecting Auburn University and why you believe you will be successful at Auburn.

This is another question through which the admissions officers at Auburn want to gauge your interest. You can approach it similarly to other “Why us?” essays, so feel free to check out CollegeVine’s “Why Us” essay guide. Essentially, Auburn wants to understand how you would contribute to the university if accepted, as well as how much you care about being a part of the community. You could write about not only how their motto and/or values align with yours, but how the surrounding college town (as well as the student body) are a great fit for you.

Here is a brief example that highlights a specific opportunity at Auburn and ties it to a personal interest:

 

  • The feeling of being in the air is liberating to me. Whenever I am off the ground, my mind recalibrates, and I become a more patient and level-headed person. Auburn’s Aviation Program provides an opportunity for me to pursue and deepen my somewhat unorthodox interest that I otherwise would never had considered beforehand. As a history buff, I value the military affiliation that Auburn promotes, as its aviation program first took off during World War II and has maintained its strong connection to air force methods. In addition, I am ecstatic at the possibility to start flying during fall semesters, which allows for a head start that most other programs do not offer.

Prompt #7

If you feel that special circumstances may have adversely affected your high school performance, please summarize.

This is the place to let admissions officers know about any extenuating circumstances. Perhaps your grades took a dip one semester because you were ill for an extended amount of time. Perhaps you were experiencing some family issues that took away from your extracurricular activities. Perhaps you were financially unable to attend a certain internship or program. However, approach this section with caution — it is not a place to look for sympathy or pity. This is simply a place to lay out all of your circumstances.

 

The explanations should be concise and emotions should not be depicted in detail. Simply explaining what was happening at the time and how it affected your performance will suffice. If there were no extenuating circumstances you experienced, feel free to either leave this section blank or write that there were none during your high school experience. You don’t need to respond in an essay or narrative style; simply summarize and be comprehensive.

The Bottom Line

Be creative, expressive, confident, and authentic! Don’t be afraid to challenge perceptions and explain your ideas.

 

Best of luck, and happy writing!

 

If you’re applying elsewhere as well, check out our database of essay prompts for hundreds of other colleges!

 

Want help on your Auburn University application or essays? Learn about our College Apps Program and Essay Editing Program.

 

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CollegeVine College Essay Team

CollegeVine College Essay Team

Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work. Learn more about our consultants
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