How to Write the Lafayette College Essays 2020-2021

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 acceptance rate of 29%, a middle 50% ACT composite score range of 30-34, and a middle 50% SAT composite range of 1320-1490, 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 this 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. 

 

 

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, though this prompt is marked optional, you should still treat it as a required prompt. These optional prompt responses distinguish genuinely interested applicants from those who are just using Lafayette as a fallback option. Answering this prompt with a well-thought response signals to admissions officers that your interest in Lafayette is genuine and helps differentiate your application from the pile. 

 

Like the previous essay, 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, 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.

 

Whatever you choose to write about, make sure that it is a compelling read. A common blunder is to list out your accomplishments like a laundry list, or to write out a series of events like a chronological itinerary. Instead of these hackneyed approaches, try starting your response in the middle of the action, and make sure to include vivid imagery and plenty of details. For example, an essay about hockey might start something like this:

 

“Gliding smoothly across the ice, I brandished my stick as I weaved in and out of the other players’ paths. With the buzzer’s harsh tone imminent, I skidded in front of the goal and hooked the puck right as my opponent was about to tap it into the goal.”

 

But your essay doesn’t have to be action-packed in order for detail to draw readers in. A less hectic but equally immersive essay about starting a literacy program for kindergartners could go something like this:

 

“It was 100 degrees outside, and only one fan twirled lazily in the entire library. But I hardly noticed the heat over the clamor of the twenty young students that were voting on what book I should read for Storytime. After they chose one, I sank into the green beanbag chair as they eagerly plopped down on the shaggy rug around me, ready to learn parts of speech from me and their favorite characters.” 

 

These types of introductions engage your reader and provide a vivid scenario that shows, rather than telling, admissions officers what you do and why you do it. After your anecdote, you can generate more analytical content that delves into your role and the passion behind your actions. 

 

End on a general, future-facing note that details how you plan to continue pursuing this activity in the future. Do you plan to join the college version of your favorite high school club? Is the service you described something you plan to continue during your career? Share these thoughts to conclude your essay on a note that demonstrates to admissions officers that you are committed to the values you outlined in your essay.

 

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

Want more college essay tips?

We'll send them straight to your inbox.


Short bio
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.