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Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Bloomington — often known as IU — is a large public research university with a reputation of being known as a “Public Ivy.” Offering a more affordable, yet intensive education, IU is a popular choice among applicants who are looking for the vigor of an Ivy League school.

 

With programs such as the Kelley School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, IU provides students with a wide array of academic opportunity. Beyond coursework, however, the university also boasts an active social life, with a decent portion of its student body participating in Greek life.

 

Although somewhat less selective with an acceptance rate of 78%, IU’s supplemental essay is still a crucial part to the college application process. There is no need to worry — CollegeVine has prepared the following guide to help you tackle this essay.

 

Indiana University Bloomington Application Essay Prompt

Required Prompt

Describe your academic and career plans and any special interest (for example, undergraduate research, academic interests, leadership opportunities, etc.) that you are eager to pursue as an undergraduate at Indiana University. Also, if you encountered any unusual circumstances, challenges, or obstacles in pursuit of your education, share those experiences and how you overcame them. (Response required in 200-400 words.)

This prompt is essentially a “Why Major X?” and “Why School Y?” combined. Readers are looking to understand which of IU’s programs and opportunities you will take advantage of to further your career. First, discuss your academic and career interests and goals; second, explain how Indiana University specifically would help you reach these aspirations.

 

The first part of this essay should ideally answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? This part of the essay should present a cohesive picture of your passion in a specific academic field. Start off with a personal anecdote that showcases your interest in a single course of study or future career.

 

Keep this introduction concise, yet vivid, grasping the reader’s attention. For example, you could begin with a description of performing the oboe in a dark, packed auditorium on a bright stage at the state symphony, or the immense pride and relief you feel after distributing the school newspaper you and your staff worked on for countless hours.

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Next, detail your accomplishments and experience in this field — remember to show more than tell. Provide evidence of your interest through your actions during a research project or an extracurricular activity. For example, instead of saying “I like both science and art,” illustrate the year you spent researching the brain’s ability to store memories through Dali’s paintings, and how this caused you to view the process of recollection as more of an art rather than a hard science, leading to your desire to study both neuroscience and art history. Not only does this show your interest in both fields, it also implies you are curious and innovative.

 

This paragraph is also a chance to portray your ability to grow and conquer challenges in your given field. So, rather than writing “I won state for Mock Trial,” describe the struggles you overcame and the growth you experienced in your role as president of your school’s mock trial team. By weaving narration throughout the paragraph, you will be able to portray a more authentic and unique story.

 

Lastly, connect your aspirations to IU. Specificity is key here. Avoid being vague and general with sweeping statements like “Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business is perfect for me” or “As a student at IU, I could study abroad.” Vague statements demonstrate a lack of interest and lack of effort. Research and learn about the qualities and programs that make Indiana University unique and special to your needs. What are unique programs or extracurriculars at Indiana University, and what will they teach you? What is a quality of IU that is important to you? Avoid generic responses that could apply to any other university.

 

If you want to be an investment banker through Kelley, describe the focused skillset you will gain from the school’s investment banking workshop, or the network you will create from the small classes and tight-knit community of the Kelley Business Honors Program. An aspiring global correspondent could describe the IU’s worldly approach towards learning and interning in London through the Media School’s “Summer in London” program.

 

Your primary goal is to connect your accomplishments and aspirations with the opportunities that await you at IU; however, avoid listing every possible activity you could participate in and stay focused.

 

To review:

 

  1. Start with a personal, vivid anecdote conveying your interest in a single field.
  2. Share a narrative of you overcoming an obstacle in this field; provide evidence of your experience in this interest.
  3. Describe the essence or quality of a program or activity at IU that would help you grow in this area.

 

Good luck!

 

Want help on your Indiana University application or essays? Learn about our College Apps Program and Essay Editing Program.

 

Want us to quickly edit your college essay? Submit it to our Rapid Review Program, and we’ll get it back to you quickly with comments from our expert team.

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CollegeVine College Essay Team

CollegeVine College Essay Team

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. Learn more about our consultants
CollegeVine College Essay Team