What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write the Davidson College Essays 2020-2021

We’ve updated this post! Read the 2021-2022 Davidson essay guide.


Davidson College is a private, selective liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina. Davidson prides itself on its community: a group of critically thinking, supportive, hard-working, and kind students. Geographically, Davidson is the best of both worlds: the campus is just a short drive from Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, and a few minutes away from Lake Norman, where the school has a private campus. 


Davidson had an acceptance rate of 19% for the class of 2024. The middle 50% SAT range of enrolled students in the class of 2023 (most recent stats) was 1320-1470, with middle 50% ACT scores ranging from 30-33.


Writing strong essays can certainly give you a leg up on the stiff admissions competition. Luckily, the Davidson application is fairly straightforward and will likely look similar to questions asked by other schools. Read on for a breakdown of this year’s prompts! Want to know your chances at Davidson? Calculate your chances for free right now.


How to Write the Davidson College Supplemental Essays


Why Davidson? (250-300 words)

When answering “Why This College?“, you want to show how you and the school are a good fit. You should be specific and hit on unique aspects of the Davidson experience that appeal to you


Look into their unique academic offerings, annual cultural events, research labs, or extracurriculars. Try to create personal connections to your previous experiences! Be sure that you aren’t just throwing a bunch of random facts together and calling it a day. Your essay should ultimately reveal something about you that is consistent with yet complementary to the rest of your application. 


For example, maybe you’re interested in the community-based learning courses at Davidson, which allow students to engage in the political and social world around them. Maybe you want to take the class Queer Families, having grown up with two dads who have faced discrimination. Or, perhaps you want to join the Davidson Mindfulness group, as you regularly meditate and want to share the practice with others. Aim for this level of specificity—note that these are precise aspects of the college that can’t be copied and pasted into another school’s essay. 


On a final note, be sure to share at least one academic aspect and one extracurricular one. Remember that college isn’t just about your classes, but also how you engage with the campus. Davidson wants to see that you’ll contribute to the community in a meaningful way!


List the books you have read in the past year for school or leisure. Place an asterisk by those books required for classes you have taken.

The most important thing here is to just be honest. Davidson isn’t looking for groundbreaking literary commentary or a list as long as an entire library’s index. Rather, they simply want to get a sense of what interests you beyond the classroom setting. Did you read a lengthy history of Russian monarchs? Great. Did you read a sappy romance novel on the beach? Let them know. An overly curated book (or dishonest) list will be apparent to the admissions committees. That being said, you can organize the list however you like. In addition to asterisks by those books required for classes you have taken, you could indicate which books you read to your niece or nephew. If you have a few academic interests that you tend to explore through reading, you could also organize your book list by that. 


Here are a few example listings (your actual list is hopefully longer!):


  • North by Scott Jurek (an ultrarunner’s memoir of breaking the Appalachian trail record—would love to attempt a long-distance trail run/hike myself one day!)
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • *The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Magic Tree House #10: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne (I was babysitting for my brother, who loves this series!)


Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (200 words)


By the time you have finished your college applications, you will likely have responded to this Extracurricular Activity essay question at least once. Many students write their personal essays about one of their activities. If that’s the case for you, you should try to write about something that the committee won’t learn as much about elsewhere in your application.


You don’t need to focus on what you think is the single most important or impressive activity on your application. Writing about a part-time job can be fascinating and hilarious if done correctly! That being said, it’s best to select an extracurricular activity or work experience that you’ve participated in for a while; writing about something you’ve only been involved in for a few months will be inherently less deep or emotional. 


You want to make it easy for admissions committees to identify your strengths, and creating a narrative or theme using a couple anecdotes is a great way to do just that. While you should tell us a story, remember to convey how the activity shaped you. A common mistake students make is to only narrate what the activity was like, without detailing how it impacted them. Did you gain grit from practicing your gymnastics routine? Did you learn how to lead a team during your robotics competition? Let us know what the activity taught you!


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