How to Write the Lafayette College Essays 2019-2020

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Lafayette College, located in the College Hill neighborhood of Easton, Pennsylvania, provides the classic northeastern liberal arts experience. With an undergraduate student population of approximately 2,500 and a curriculum that promotes a broad base of knowledge, Lafayette teaches students to approach problems from various perspectives, strengthening their critical thinking skills.


With an admission rate of 28% for the class of 2023, a middle 50% ACT composite score range of 30-34, and a middle 50% SAT composite range of 1320-1500, acceptance into Lafayette is no easy feat. 


Writing effective supplements will be crucial to impressing admissions officers and securing your spot. Luckily, we at CollegeVine are equipped to give you the best tips and tricks so you can write successful, effective essays that will ensure you stand out from the crowd.  Want to know your chances at Lafayette? Calculate your chances for free right now.

Why Lafayette? (20-200 words)

Ah, the classic “why college” supplement. With prompts like these, the key is to identify specific offerings on Lafayette’s campus that speak to your unique interests and aptitudes. Make sure to mention several logistical characteristics, professors, courses, extracurriculars, etc. and relate them directly to your personal goals. 


Perhaps you want to conduct research through Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, which will connect you with a professor so you can find STEM mentorship and engage with original scientific literature. Maybe you want to join the Lafayette College Democrats in preparation for your political career. Whatever your passion, the key to this part of answering the prompt is thorough research. Don’t speak about academic offerings in broad terms or name drop professors for the sake of it. Rather, figure out what is unique to Lafayette’s programming, and tie it back to your own goals and interests. For example: 


“I want to attend Lafayette because they have a good biology department, and I’m really interested in the more scientific aspects of medicine.” 


This is not a good response because it says little to nothing about Lafayette’s actual biology department. While it tells admissions readers a bit about you, it doesn’t indicate that you actually cared enough about the school to look deeply into their offerings. Instead, try something like: 


“I look forward to taking BIOL 110 on Edible Ethics, where I will not only explore the science behind food production and consumption, but also the ethical issues surrounding these fields. As an environmentalist and anti-food waste advocate, I hope to gain knowledge from this course that will allow me to engage in concrete change.” 


This is better because it shows not only that you’ve looked into Lafayette’s offerings, but also that you’ve thought about how that relates to your interests and drawn a clear connection between the two. Additionally, this provides more specificity and substance. You should strive to be as detailed as you can within the word count while also covering all bases that serve as reasons behind your applying to Lafayette. In a situation like this, word count is currency, and you’ll have to spend carefully. 


The more you’ve delved into Lafayette’s offerings, the broader of a base you’ll be able to pull from when answering this question. Admissions officers will be able to tell that you’ve done your research, so you’d better get to work sleuthing around the website! Beyond that, as long as your response answers all the requisite components of the question, and it does so with clarity and detail, you’ll be in good shape with this prompt. 


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Optional: There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations. In response to the prompt below, keep it simple – choose one activity and add depth to our understanding of your involvement. What do you do? Why do you do it? (20-200 words)

First off, although this prompt is denoted as optional, you should still treat it as a required prompt. If you don’t write a response, it might send a signal that you aren’t very interested in Lafayette, and maybe are only treating it as a fallback option. That would not be good! 


Like the above on “why major,” this is another college application staple: the “elaborate on an extracurricular” prompt. This time, with a maximum of 200 words, you have some breathing room. Make it count! 


This prompt seems quite straightforward, but the ceiling is high, as behind the scenes, it presents an opportunity for you to demonstrate your maturity and introspection. As per the prompt, you should expand one extracurricular activity beyond the scope of what is listed in your activities section or resume. The key will be how you convey personal growth.


The biggest challenge here will be choosing the right activity to write about. You don’t necessarily want to choose your most impressive one. Often times, writing about your personal experience with something more grounded can be just as effective.


If your application has a central theme (like commitment to service, intellectual fervor, or social activism), you might consider using an activity that relates to this theme, even if it is only tangentially related. This will uphold the overall cohesion of your application.


On the contrary, it can be good to demonstrate your capacity to engage with the world in multiple, often contradictory ways. A diverse portfolio can be a good indicator of a mature thinker, capable of seeing multiple perspectives.


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