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How to Write the Fordham University Essay 2022-2023

Established in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City in 1841, Fordham University is known for its deeply-held Jesuit values and Gabelli School of Business. The oldest private Catholic university in the Northeast consists of four undergraduate and six graduate universities across their Rose Hill, Lincoln Center, and Westchester campuses. 


“New York City is your campus,” the school website says, and it’s true; students are fully immersed in the urban experience.


With an undergraduate population of just under 10,000 spread out over 93 acres, the university has garnered a reputation for its fantastic undergraduate teaching within classes rarely exceeding 30 students. The university has no Greek system, and all students must complete a core curriculum spanning subjects such as mathematics, theology, and the arts.


Beyond strong grades and test scores, your essays are your chance to stand out to admissions officers and to show them that you possess the insightful and analytical thinking skills they are looking for. Read on to learn how to write an engaging response to Fordham’s supplement.


Fordham University Supplemental Essay

Optional Prompt

At Fordham, we expect students to care for and engage with their communities. Please share a specific instance in which you challenged yourself or stepped out of your comfort zone in order to be an advocate for your community (for example, your family, friend group, high school, or town). Please provide an example that illustrates a facet of yourself that we would not find anywhere else in your application. (150 words)

This prompt is optional, however, we fully recommend you answer it. If you don’t, you run the risk of not looking interested enough in Fordham. Providing a meaningful answer here can help distinguish your application to admissions officers.


While writing your response, keep in mind that the Fordham admissions office is looking for students who are always seeking to improve themselves and that its placement in one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world requires self-sufficient self-starters.


At its core, this prompt is asking you about an instance in which you served your community. Be sure to check out CollegeVine’s guide to writing the “Community Service” essay for in-depth tips and examples!


For starters, think of the ways, big or small, in which you have impacted any community you consider a part of your identity. Consider any volunteer work, clubs, jobs, or teams you may have been involved in. 


We normally recommend that students write about long-term commitments in community service essays, but since the prompt asks for “a specific instance,” you don’t necessarily have to do this. If you do have any long-term community service background you wish to draw upon though, consider just one experience within that framework to write about. Be open to diverse definitions of community, such as your racial identity, religious background, or neighborhood.


Ponder these questions to get your brainstorming started:


  • Do you have a deep (developed over multiple years with significant accomplishments) involvement with some sort of community service based club or organization, or have you worked on a project of activism or on behalf of social or political justice?


  • If the answer to the first question is no, is there a situation or event where you showed true altruism, kindness, generosity, or selflessness? What about a dedication to activism, social change, and social justice?


  • If the answer to question 2 is still no, then are there any activities that you participate in that have a positive social impact? For example, if you do data entry for medical research, that has a strong, positive social impact.


Though your service doesn’t have to be long-term for this prompt, it should still be something deeper and more meaningful. Things like making your little brother lunch when your parents weren’t home or helping an old man cross the street are nice, but they are very short, simple events. Spending the entire day at a soup kitchen or volunteering at a nursing home expresses the same traits and values, but these experiences are more sincere and significant.


Out of all of these events, which ones were the most challenging for you? It’s easy to help others when it’s convenient for us, so while your anecdote doesn’t have to include an act of heroism, it should still convey your willingness to embrace the uncomfortable.


Once you have decided on your event/experience, think about these questions about it:


  • What happened?
  • What was going through your mind and how did you feel as this happened?
  • How have your emotions about the event or activity changed over time?
  • Which of the values above (altruism, kindness, activism, social change, social justice, generosity, or unselfishness) best describes your motivation for participating in this activity or event?


You may write about anything from acting as a board member for an environmental fundraiser to standing up to a bully to stepping in for an injured teammate at a track meet. Consider starting your piece with a lively anecdote to draw the reader in, establishing both who you were fighting for and how the experience required different strengths from those you were used to.


Consider this example answer from a student who had always struggled with shyness and public speaking:


In the elementary school musical, I played a tree because I was too terrified to have a speaking role. So what was I doing now, as a high school junior, approaching the bench of my district’s monthly board meeting? I swallowed my nerves and began.


I explained to our administrators why they should work with our Environmental Club to eliminate plastic from our cafeteria, and my glances weren’t met with the disinterest I had predicted, but instead with curiosity. 


Next month, our cafeteria will introduce compostable trays. I’ll be first in line, beaming.


I didn’t overcome my fear of public speaking overnight, but this experience encouraged me to take on more leadership roles. I’ve since joined the student council and created a neighborhood gardening club. I look forward to tackling more initiatives at Fordham—and if the theatre department ever needs a tree in a play, I’ll be there too.


This sample works for a few reasons. A humorous anecdote draws the reader in, and the community she is stepping out of her comfort zone for—her club and the environmental community as a whole—is quickly introduced. So is the fact that public speaking is a challenge for her; admissions officers are likely to connect with this, as public speaking is a very common fear.


Finally, at the end, the writer establishes not only the practical results of her stepping out of her comfort zone to help her community, but also her growth as a person. She paints a picture of herself as someone brave enough to do uncomfortable things in order to fight for what is important to her, and dedicated enough to inspire others in her community.


Remember, your event does not have to be long-term, but it should be unique and should have a meaningful impact on your community. Be honest about why you stepped out of your comfort zone, and be sincere in your reflection on having done so. Also be mindful that 150 words is a short space to work in, so introduce your event early, be succinct, and be direct with your words.


Where to Get Your Fordham Essay Edited 


Do you want feedback on your Fordham 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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