How to Write the Bucknell University Essay 2021-2022
Note: Bucknell’s essay prompt historically does not change very much, if at all. This prompt isn’t yet confirmed for the 2021-2022 cycle, but we expect it to stay the same. Check back in August for any updates!
Bucknell University is a private liberal arts school in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The school is known for the way its liberal arts education intersects with its professional programs. Within Bucknell, there are three schools for undergraduates to enroll in—College of Arts & Sciences, College of Engineering, and Freeman College of Management.
Bucknell’s acceptance rate hovers at around 33%. If you want to secure a spot in this year’s class, writing strong essays will help you stand out. Read on to learn how to respond to Bucknell’s supplemental prompt! Want to know your chances at Bucknell? Calculate your chances for free right now.
How to Write the Bucknell University Supplemental Essay
Please explain your interest in your first-choice major/undecided status and your second-choice major, should you opt to list one. (250 words)
This is a straightforward “why this major” essay. Your first step is to pick a first-choice (and maybe second-choice) major, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to be undecided! As long as you can speak to a couple things you might be interested in, admissions officers won’t hold your uncertainty against you. Whatever you write in this essay isn’t binding–so while you should pick something you’re genuinely interested in, you don’t need to feel pressured to stick to your choice should you change your mind.
To begin your essay, you should explain why you’re interested in pursuing the field(s) you’ve chosen. For example:
- A student interested in a career in medicine might want to double major in biology and sociology to gain a better grasp of both the science and the interpersonal aspects of healthcare.
- A student dedicated to protecting the environment because they grew up camping regularly might want to major in environmental engineering to combine their love of math with their passion for environmental preservation.
- Someone who sought to be a young entrepreneur, whether through lemonade stands or something larger-scale like a local business, could be interested in the Markets, Innovation & Design major to help them develop into stronger businesspeople.
It’s also perfectly acceptable to choose two majors for two totally different reasons–maybe you want to major in computer science for career preparation, but have a second major in Art History simply because it’s a subject you enjoy.
If you are applying as an undecided student, be sure your reason for being undecided isn’t “I just don’t know.” Think about why you haven’t settled on the one field that really captivates you. Try not to say anything that could have any negative connotations–like that all of your school subjects bore you, or that nothing has interested you enough for you to try very hard.
However, there are several positive ways you can frame your choice to apply undecided:
- Perhaps your diverse passions–ranging from art to natural sciences to engineering–have made it difficult for you to choose just one or two specific fields to pursue in college.
- Maybe you grew up in an environment where you did not have the opportunity to explore many different academic fields, and entering college undecided gives you the freedom to try new things–like engineering or anthropology.
Think about how you can best frame your “undecided” status in a way that still demonstrates your passion for learning and shares a couple fields you might explore.
When you start writing, be concise with your language. Avoid explicitly stating “I am interested in this major because….” Even though that’s a very clear statement, it’s not very compelling writing. You only have 250 words to show admissions officers that you’re really, genuinely captivated by your choice in major. Dive right into descriptions and details so that your readers can see why you’ve chosen to pursue it–or why you haven’t decided yet!
The second component of this prompt is why you chose this field of study at this particular school. “Why X Major” prompts are essentially “Why X Major at X School” prompts, and are used to gauge your interest in the university as a whole, as well as its specific offerings. It is important to include elements specific to Bucknell in your essay, which means you will need to do some research. We recommend the school’s website as a great starting point. Bucknell has a site dedicated to Majors & Minors and you can see the requirements for any prospective field of study. This will allow you to apply the existing framework to your own life, in order to craft a more compelling narrative.
Here are two examples:
Bad: I am interested in Bucknell’s opportunities for biology majors, such as summer research programs and a small class size. I think that Bucknell stands out from other universities because it has a hands-on research program. By studying in the field, I can accrue the crucial skills I need to succeed in my future career.
Good: It’s common for kids to collect pretty rocks, but I took collecting rocks to the next level–I would attempt to classify my specimens into the three basic rock types, and identify the exact name of the rocks through my massive rock encyclopedia. I solidified my love of earth sciences when I took my first formal geology course my freshman year. Since there was no higher-level geology course beyond that, I was inspired to start my own club, where we would go on hikes in the Berkshires to collect soil samples and study the different rock formations. I look forward to further developing my geosciences knowledge at Bucknell, in the Geology & Environmental Geosciences Department. I’m especially looking forward to widening my repertoire by taking courses such as Stream Restoration and Geology for Engineers. I want to use what I learn to help preserve and protect our environment and its countless years of history.
The former response lacks the specificity and depth of the latter, making it pale in comparison. A well-researched response rooted in your personal interests shows that you’re genuinely invested in attending Bucknell and are a strong fit–this is what you should be aiming for.
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