How to Write the Montclair State University Essay 2019-2020
Montclair State University is a public university located in Montclair, New Jersey. Its campus sprawls across 252 acres and is home to 21,000 students total, 17,000 of which are undergraduates. The university offers 11 colleges and schools, including the New Jersey School of Conservation, an environmental education field campus in Stokes State Forest.
Montclair State is ranked 166 in the US News and World Report, and has an acceptance rate of 71%. Admitted students have an average SAT score of 974, and a class rank in the 65th percentile.
The school doesn’t accept the Common App, so students will need to apply using Monclair State’s specific portal. If you’re interested in becoming a Red Hawk, keep reading to learn tips on how to answer Montclair State’s supplemental essay. Want to know your chances at Montclair State? Calculate your chances for free right now.
Explain your reasons for seeking admission to Montclair State University, including what you believe are your academic strengths and interests. Be sure to explain any situations that may have had an impact, either positively or negatively, on your academic record.
This prompt is essentially asking “Why Montclair State?”. Most students’ first instinct is to respond with nebulous sentiments about the perks of a smaller class size or the breadth of the curriculum offered at Montclair. To avoid this common pitfall, you will have to do some research on your own – we suggest the school’s site as a great starting point.
Look into programs that stand out to you, as well as your course of study’s departmental offerings and major-specific programs. When you find an item that piques your interest, explore it further until you feel you know much about the opportunity in enough detail to comfortably speak about it. Keep in mind that you should ponder how this opportunity would help you achieve your long-term goals. An important note is that this prompt specifically stresses that you also include your academic strengths and interests, so it may be well suited to incorporate this heavily, by talking about your prospective major and connecting it to your previous academic experience.
Here’s a good and bad example:
Bad: Montclair State’s internationally renowned political science program appeals to me because I have always been fascinated with politics.
Good: Growing up, I had a knack for engaging in fiery debates with my family members. My parents would look on with a sigh while I hotly defended Captain Kirk over Spock, or championed Oreos as superior to Chips Ahoy (my brother’s favorite). I was proud of my ability to drum up counterattacks and rebuttals to my family’s arguments. My interest only grew after I joined the debate club and started getting into politics during the recent presidential election. My love for debate morphed into a passion for logic, wordplay, and spin tactics.
As a debate and politics aficionado, I naturally gravitated towards Montclair State’s political science major because of its multifaceted approach to the subject. I can see myself engaging with the works of Aristotle and Plato in Essentials of Political Thought, and then launching myself into the future in classes like Politics of Science Fiction.
Outside of the classroom, I hope to join The Political Science Club, which will allow me to promote political awareness and involvement on campus. I’m especially interested in helping host debates and talks by those in the field on important issues such as gun control and climate change.
The former response is vague, and the resource mentioned can be found at almost any school. This latter response, written after doing research on the school website, abounds with detail and crafts a compelling narrative. This response gives specific information about the applicant’s personal interests and the school’s unique opportunities, while creating imagery that makes the essay more engaging.
Often, when students are faced with the “Why School” prompt, they forget to mention potential extracurriculars and the social aspect of college. College isn’t only about academics, but also your activities outside of the classroom. Look into extracurriculars or clubs that you would like to join, using your current interests as a reference. Doing this will illustrate genuine interest in Montclair’s extracurricular offerings.
For instance, you could say something along the lines of:
“Ever since I remember, I have loved to dance – growing up, I loved making my siblings laugh with zany new moves set to our favorite Justin Bieber songs. In high school, I started an initiative called Shake it Up Seniors, where my peers and I would volunteer to teach dance classes at the senior center. I look forward to joining Complexions at MSU because I love making people smile and spreading the love of dance everywhere I go. I can’t wait to perform at halftime during football games to jazz up my fellow Hawks!”
This response integrates the student’s personal past experience with potential future opportunities at Montclair State. While many schools have a dance team, this one is specific to MSU.
This prompt also asks you to provide examples of situations that may have had an impact, either positively or negatively, on your academic record. You should use this space to describe any circumstances that may have impacted your education. If you feel that the parameters apply to you, you can explain any topic that was not addressed in the other parts of your application. Since this part of the essay will likely have a more serious tone, it might be better to be straight and to the point in this part, rather than painting a picture with vivid imagery as you would in other parts of this essay or application.
A potential response might sound something like this: “In my first year of high school, my sister was diagnosed with leukemia, and it profoundly affected me both emotionally and academically. My main focus was helping her get better in any way I could, and I often prioritized her treatment over my studies. For that reason, there is a significant decline in my grades in the second trimester of that year.”
Another response might sound like this: “Because my family owns a small gift shop, I am often called on to help by translating for my parents as they do not speak English very well. I also clean up around the shop and take care of my siblings when both of my parents are working. I was unable to join as many extracurriculars as my peers, as a significant portion of my time went towards helping ensure the family shop was running smoothly.”
With these tips in mind, you are ready to begin crafting an effective and powerful essay for your application to Montclair State University! We at CollegeVine wish you the best of luck!
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.