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How to Write the Drexel University Supplement Essays 2023-2024

Drexel University has one optional supplemental essay prompt for all applicants. There is also one required prompt for applicants to the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and one required prompt for applicants to the BA/BS+MD Early Assurance Program.


Since Drexel receives thousands of applications from academically strong students, your essays are your best chance to stand out from the crowd. In this post, we’ll discuss how to craft an engaging response to each of these prompts.


Drexel University Supplemental Essay Prompts


Westphal College Applicants


Prompt 1: Please write a short essay describing why you are interested in pursuing your major of choice at Drexel University’s Westphal College. What have you done that prepares you to study in your major of choice? (500 words)


BA/BS+MD Early Assurance Program Applicants


Prompt 2: Tell the Admission Committee why you are applying to the joint program with the Drexel University College of Medicine. Be sure to explain why you want to be a physician and, more specifically, why you want to obtain your medical education at the Drexel University College of Medicine. (500 words)


All Applicants, Optional Prompt

Drexel is committed to preparing each new generation of students to become productive, professional and civic-minded members of the community while continuing to focus on how we can contribute to solving some of society’s greatest challenges. What do you view as a challenge facing society that you would like to contribute to solving? How would a Drexel education aid you in taking the first step toward a solution? (250 words or less)

Though this prompt is optional, you should definitely respond to it. There are only so many opportunities for you to make your individual voice heard to the admissions committee, so take advantage of each one!


In this prompt, you’re asked to identify a challenge facing humanity today. This sounds like a tall order, but don’t worry; it’s an opinion question, so any reasonable challenge you choose will be fine. To help you with this essay, you might want to take a look at CollegeVine’s guide to writing the Political/Global Issues essay.


Brainstorming your topic


Admissions committees want to see specifics, so we often recommend not identifying too broad a problem. In the brainstorming stage, however, you can think as broadly as you’d like. Global poverty, world hunger, illiteracy in developing countries, human rights abuses—each of these things can be an effective starting point.


Thinking about your identity and values might help you determine which issues are most important to you. Aspects of your identity include your ethnicity, race, country of origin, language, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, hometown, income class, socioeconomic status, illnesses/disabilities, and even interests and activities!


Consider these different aspects of your background and list broad world issues that may have an impact on some part of your identity. For example, you might be Ukrainian and have family members directly affected by the current war. In this case, your ethnic background may compel you to write about geopolitical conflicts or human rights issues.


Be sure to narrow your topic to something specific once you begin writing. Even though the prompt asks for “a challenge facing society,” you should be prepared to discuss concrete examples of that challenge.


For instance, if you want to write about world hunger, try to also describe particular situations and specific problems related to that broader issue—some things you might want to examine in such an essay can include widespread food and water shortages in Venezuela as a result of governmental policies, hunger in Haiti due to food insecurity and currency inflation, and the impending famine in Sudan as a result of internal conflicts.


The aforementioned examples can add a great deal of nuance to your essay for a couple of reasons. First, citing specific instances of your chosen challenge goes beyond simply stating that your challenge exists. It creates tangible reasons to be concerned about the issue. Second, having a few concrete examples demonstrates that you are informed and knowledgeable about the issue.


Tips for writing your essay


Once you have decided on a societal challenge and have thought of a few examples to support your point, reflect on how you might be able to contribute to a solution to this problem, and how a Drexel education can help you achieve this. The prompt explicitly asks for this last part, so make sure you leave room in your 250 words to discuss this in detail.


You might already have some ideas about how you wish to help solve your chosen problem on your own, but need to connect your goals to the school (and possibly to your desired degree). Do some research on Drexel’s website and look for information about your major to inspire your writing!


There really is no wrong way to envision yourself as part of the solution. Consider the following hypothetical students to see how contributions can vary:


  • A student who’s passionate about the environment might say that climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity, and might describe how it has devastated different communities around the world, including his small coastal town, which has experienced worsening floods. He might hope to major in Global Studies to eventually work in the United Nations and be a part of climate change conferences and agreements.


  • A student who wants to be a doctor might say that lack of access to good, inexpensive healthcare is the greatest global challenge. She could describe how the U.S. healthcare system fails many low-income people, and how poorer countries lack the infrastructure and resources to treat easily treatable illnesses. She hopes to pursue Drexel’s Accelerated Degree in Global Studies and Public Health (BA + MPH), then possibly go to medical school and eventually join Doctors Without Borders to help those in conflict zones and those facing disasters get the treatment they need.


This prompt is meant to gauge which societal issues you deem important and how you intend to use your Drexel education and degree to contribute to ongoing efforts to solve these issues. You’ll have a strong essay as long as you’re sincere and write about a problem you’re personally invested in.


Mistakes to avoid:


  • Picking an issue that is too broad or not very personally relevant
  • Showing misalignment with Drexel’s values
  • Focusing too much on the issue and not enough on why you’re passionate about it, or what can be done about it
  • Not mentioning how an education specifically from Drexel can uniquely equip you to tackle this issue


Westphal College Applicants, Required Prompt

Please write a short essay describing why you are interested in pursuing your major of choice at Drexel University’s Westphal College. What have you done that prepares you to study in your major of choice? (500 words)


Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is unlike traditional arts school. Westphal encompasses a variety of majors that help artistic and creative individuals find practical and sustainable applications of their craft to high-demand industries. The Westphal College application is direct and focuses on your specific path. It also asks a core question: “Why pursue your selected major, and what experience have you had?”


Note: Prior to writing your essay, you should first select a specific Westphal major that has significance/relevance in your life.


Why your major?


This is the classic “Why This Major?” Essay. When answering the “why,” you can take a number of different approaches as long as you satisfy your primary goal of demonstrating that you are passionate about a subject. Why are you inspired to pursue your desired major? Why is your desired major important to you? Why will this major allow you to impact society more than another? These are all questions that you should be considering as you write.


You can write about an experience that significantly impacted your life and has sparked your interest in a subject. Maybe it was a book, movie, or class that just clicked for you and helped you realize what you want to do with your life. Discuss how a subject excites you or changes the way in which you understand the world. Try to zone in on building a narrative so that the reader understands your perspective and thinks, “I can’t see this student studying anything but this major.”


What experience do you have?


After introducing your interest, you want to explain what you have done that makes you qualified to be a student of a particular major at Westphal. Ideally, you want to develop an image of yourself as someone who found a passion and pursued it.


If you have allowed your love for a subject to manifest outside of the classroom in the form of a personal project/pursuit or extracurricular activity, discuss that. It will show that you took advantage of your opportunities and turned an interest into something tangible and impactful.


If you haven’t quite had the chance to further your interests, you can write about classes you’ve taken in school or books that you’ve read that relate to your desired major. Make sure you demonstrate your knowledge by delving deeply into the subjects to build around the underlying passion that you want to drive your essay.


Even if you haven’t had much specific experience relating to your desired major, you can still write a strong essay. Oftentimes, your inspiration for pursuing a subject is the source of your experience. For example, someone seeking to study Game Design & Production may not have actually designed video games before, but perhaps has spent significant hours playing Pokémon and thus understands user interface and graphics.


The primary goal is to indicate that your passion for a subject has manifested in ways that have given you insight and experience into your desired major, to prove that you are suited for the program.


For example: A student can talk about how she grew up playing Pokémon, which provided her with an escape from difficulties in her childhood. It sparked her imagination and brought her immense joy in the form of imaginary adventures in a world that she could control, unlike the real world that often disappointed her. Though she has not had extensive experience with Game Design & Production, she took a programming course in Python in which she made basic games, such as Brick Breaker and Air Hockey. She could express how it excited her to know that if she studied Game Design & Production, she would one day be able to merge her experience as a gamer with technical skills to bring the kind of joy to other children that Pokémon brought to her!



BA/BS+MD Early Assurance Program, Required Prompt

Tell the Admission Committee why you are applying to the joint program with the Drexel University College of Medicine. Be sure to explain why you want to be a physician and, more specifically, why you want to obtain your medical education at the Drexel University College of Medicine. (500 words)


This prompt asks students applying for the joint program with the Drexel University College of Medicine two questions:

  • Why do you want to obtain your medical education from Drexel University? (Why This College?)


To successfully answer this prompt, you’ll need to consider answers to both questions. Focus on your reasons for pursuing the medical field for about 300-350 words of your essay and why you’re interested in attending Drexel University’s College of Medicine for about 150-200 words.


However, before you get started, consider these tips for writing an excellent medical essay:

  • Blend scientific skills with human compassion. Most students who are pursuing healthcare are passionate about science. It’s important to blend your interest in diagnosing symptoms and prescribing treatment with your desire to care for humanity.
  • Use personal healthcare stories. Do you have any previous medical experience? Perhaps you volunteered at a local hospital, shadowed a doctor, or worked at your school’s clinic. If you have a personal story from these experiences that inspired you to pursue a career in the medical field, you’ll want to use it in your essay.
  • Demonstrate human care. Even if you don’t have experience in the medical field, think about a non-clinical volunteer opportunity that highlights your care for people, like a humanitarian trip. You may also want to share about a family member or friend who has battled severe health issues and why that inspired you to choose medicine as a career path. Try not to lean too heavily on the emotional aspect of these experiences, but rather why they sparked your interest in a medical career.


Why Medical School?


Start your essay with a summary of reasons you’re interested in pursuing medicine. Like we mentioned earlier, these reasons should showcase a balance of the scientific and humanitarian aspects of medicine you are passionate about. You should spend roughly 150 words focusing on these reasons.


Try to be as detailed as possible when selecting your reasons for applying to Drexel’s medical program. For example, saying that you want to “improve people’s lives” is far too general and should be assumed by someone interested in healthcare. Additionally, steer clear of cliches, like saying you want to “find the cure to cancer.” If this is truly a compelling reason you want to become a doctor, it’s ideal to have personal experiences that explain these broad claims.


After explaining your reasons for pursuing medicine, you need to share the experiences that have led you to choose a medical career. These experiences can include coursework, job experiences, volunteer work, and patient care experiences. Ideally, you should include a personal anecdote that correlates with your reasons for choosing medicine that you listed earlier. You should spend roughly 200 words highlighting your experiences.


As we mentioned earlier, it’s ideal to highlight a patient care experience, if possible. However, it’s important not to lean too heavily on the emotional appeal of life and death stories to avoid sounding cliche.


For example: A student may talk about their experience shadowing a pediatrician at a local clinic and note how the doctor’s patience and intentionality helped calm children of all ages, even in stressful or scary situations. ​​ This student may explain how this doctor’s approach to healthcare inspired them to pursue pediatrics because they want to give children a positive outlook on healthcare from a young age, so they remain proactive about their health as they grow older.


Why Drexel University College of Medicine?


To close out your essay, include a small summary of why you’d like to pursue medicine at Drexel University (about 150 words). Your reasons should be college-specific, and they should dive into the specific programs, classes, and out-of-classroom opportunities the university offers.


The perfect litmus test to determine whether your reasons are too general is to insert another college’s name into the sentences. If the reasons still hold, they aren’t unique enough to Drexel University to be included in your essay. For instance, saying “I want to attend Drexel University because of the small class sizes” is too general. Many colleges have small class sizes.


Instead, say something like, “I’m interested in attending the Drexel University College of Medicine because of the opportunity to dive into faculty-mentored undergraduate research so early in my education, right after my freshman year, as a part of the STAR Scholars Program. I’m also interested in attending the Intensive Course Abroad to Oslo, Norway, about ‘Understanding the Norwegian Approach to Public Health, Education, and Justice.’ I think this experience would help me gain a more holistic understanding and appreciation for how the healthcare system in the United States contrasts the healthcare system in the modern welfare states.”


Note: Even if it’s true, it’s important not to mention that you’re applying to the BA/BS+MD early assurance program to save time or money. Try to think of more profound reasons why this program is an excellent fit for you personally and what you have to offer to the university in return.


How to Get Your Drexel University Essays Edited


Do you want feedback on your Drexel essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 


If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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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.