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 George Mason University Essay 2020-2021

This post has been updated! Check out our 2021-2022 George Mason essay guide.


George Mason University is the youngest and largest public university in Virginia. It is ranked #153 by US News & World Report and is the most diverse university in Virginia. In 1956, it was founded as a branch of the University of Virginia, going on to become an independent university in 1972. Four of the campuses—Fairfax, Arlington, Front Royal, and Prince Williamare in Virginia, and the fifth is located in Songdo, South Korea (about 20 miles southwest of Seoul). The primary campus, the Fairfax location, sits on a 677-acre suburban location 15 miles from Washington D.C.


George Mason’s acceptance rate is slightly competitive at 81%. The middle 50% SAT range is 1120-1320 and 24-30 for the ACT. The university has 82 undergraduate degrees.


If you’re interested in living close to the booming hub that is Washington D.C. and attending an innovative public university, read on to learn how to answer GMU’s supplemental prompt. Want to know your chances at George Mason? Calculate your chances for free right now.


Want to learn what George Mason will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering George Mason needs to know. 

Optional Essay

Why do YOU want to go to college? We know it is an excellent path to a career, but we want to hear more specifically about what you are hoping to gain from your time in college. Tell us about yourself and your experiences that have led to this decision. (250 words)

Although this prompt is optional, we strongly recommend that you answer it. Your response to this prompt can help admissions officers learn things about you that they might not be able to glean from other parts of your application. 


This prompt is open-ended in nature and could be answered in several ways. In terms of length, 250 words is not a lot of room to capture your entire reasoning behind attending college. You might be tempted to simply write out a list of reasons motivating you to pursue higher education, but this approach will detract from your essay. Rather than writing about multiple disparate topics, try including 1-3 major-related reasons that go beyond the superficial. 


Avoid clichés like “I want to make my family proud,” “I want to become a smarter/better person,” or “I want to make the world a better place using my education.” These platitudes are generic and do not add personal value to your response. Instead, try brainstorming deeper into the reasons you wish to attend George Mason University. Your response should be extremely detailed with specific information that uniquely relates to you.


Instead of saying you want to make your family proud, think about a particular family member who has influenced your decision, and recount what specific interactions with them led you to want to attend GMU. For instance, an applicant might write about wanting to go to school to find a cure for a relative’s chronic disease.


Rather than saying “I want to make an impact on the world” think about what specific skills you want to gain and what specific contributions you want to make. What do you specifically want to learn how to do and why? A good starting point for this approach is browsing GMU’s website to see what opportunities there are for you to attain your goals.


For instance, an applicant might write about how learning to use geospatial technology will help them create a travel social media app where users’ feeds are algorithmically comprised of locations that they wish to explore. This is a good example of a specific goal that matches up with GMU’s offerings and shows, rather than tells, admissions officers that you want to make a difference.


Although this essay should mainly center on you and your personal reasons for wanting to go to college, it would be beneficial to include some specifics as to why GMU in particular is the university you want to attend. Mentioning GMU-specific offerings like classes, research projects, internship opportunities, and extracurriculars can add authenticity to your essay by creating a connection between GMU and you.


Here is an example of a potential response to this prompt:


“I will never forget how powerless I felt when my hometown’s river became polluted. For much of my childhood, Green River graciously hosted copious family picnics, summer fishing days, and school field trips. I spent countless hours on its banks picking wild geraniums for flower crowns as bullfrogs and crickets called to each other in the background. As my town became more industrialized, trash and chemicals tarnished our river. Town hall meetings and cleanup efforts were not effective, as there was a large scientific knowledge gap preventing families like mine from understanding how to resolve this issue. 


The opportunity to obtain the mental and physical tools to restore my childhood river greatly fuel my desire to pursue higher education. As an environmental science major at George Mason, I hope to find solutions that mitigate the issue of water pollution so that ecosystems like Green River can be saved. I want to create a biodegradable device that can filter and replenish the water by balancing pH levels and combating the adverse effects of harsh, man-made chemical products. GMU’s Mason Innovation Exchange program will afford me the interdisciplinary, collaborative space I need in order to solve water pollution issues both in my local community and in the larger global sphere. My motivation to get a higher education stems from my belief that I can make a positive difference for communities like my own. I know college will afford me the necessary resources to expand my scientific knowledge, allowing me to mitigate community issues.”


This response integrates a narrative-like feel with the author’s personal motivations. It demonstrates the applicant’s desire to attend college within the framework of GMU’s offerings. By taking this approach, you can humanize yourself in a way that allows admissions officers to gain a better understanding of who you are. This will make your application stand out and bolster your chances of gaining admission to GMU.


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