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University of Colorado Boulder, also known as CU Boulder, is the flagship university of the University of Colorado system and one of the oldest public universities in the Southwest. UC Boulder is a large university, with more than 30,000 undergraduate students enrolled every year. Founded in 1876, the university has been home to 12 Nobel laureates and 20 astronauts. In addition to its academic prestige, their athletic teams have won numerous national championships, most notably in skiing.

 

Accepted students had an average SAT of between 1140 and 1370 and an ACT of 25-30. While CU Boulder is a less selective university, having accepted 77% of applicants during the 2016-2017 applications cycle, the essay still plays a large role in admission. With the following guide, CollegeVine is here to help provide some tips on how to tackle this essay.

 

CU Boulder Application Essay Prompt

CU Boulder’s supplementary essay requires a response of between 250-650 words. This is a pretty wide berth, but overall it is best to stick to the longer end, in order to include as much detail in your response as possible.

As a vibrant community of learners dedicated to inclusive excellence, the students, faculty and staff at the University of Colorado Boulder seek to be open and respectful of contrasting beliefs and opinions. Every student has a unique life experience and a set of circumstances by which they are shaped and influenced. Your background may have been shaped by family history, cultural traditions, race, ethnicity, religion, politics, income, ideology, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Reflect on your unique background and tell us about a time when you had to relate to someone whose life experience was very different from your own. How did you approach the difference? If put in a similar situation again today, would you respond differently? If so, how?

There are three main points you want to get across in your response for this prompt: 1) how your background is unique, 2) how you related to someone else who is different from you and how you handled the situation, and 3) how you would react to the same situation today. Since the most important part of your response is the interaction between you and the other person, the bulk of your essay should be spent on points two and three.

 

However, it is still necessary to inform the admissions council of your unique background by devoting around a paragraph to discussing it. It is even more essential to convey the story you choose to tell effectively, and to end it with a brief, but comprehensive, overview of your current thoughts on your previous interaction.

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Here, it is a good idea to comment on your growth as a person. Maybe you were inspired to interact with more people of different backgrounds through a service trip or time spent abroad. Talk about what you would have done differently in the situation you choose to describe, but also show how you’ve changed and matured since that encounter. Lastly, make sure to tie this into how you interact with others today, and how this will benefit you at UC Boulder.

How to structure your essay response:

 

  • Point 1: Your Unique Background — this shouldn’t be just one characteristic, but a plethora of things that have culminated in your upbringing and development.
  • Examples: You were adopted, your parents are significantly older than those of your friends, you have a disability, you’ve lived in the same house for all your life, you’ve moved often, or you had a full-time job all throughout high school.

 

  • Point 2: The Story — discuss your interaction with someone different from you.
  • Examples: “I volunteered at my town’s local living center, and befriended an 88-year-old woman,” “During my sophomore year of high school, I participated in a student-exchange program, and spent a semester at a school in Warsaw,” “When I started babysitting my neighbor’s 11-year-old daughter, I had no idea that I would learn as much from her as she would from me.”

 

  • Point 3: Personal Growth — reflect on the story from point two, focusing on what you would have done differently, and how the experience changed you.
  • Examples: “I would have asked her more questions. What did she think the future would be like? What was her take on the war?,” “After that day, I decided I wanted to learn more about the immigration process. I signed up to help out at a refugee assistance center, helping recent immigrants improve their English skills.”

 

  • Conclusion — tie your narrative to something specific at CU Boulder.
  • Examples: “My time spent abroad, speaking a different language and really becoming integrated into the community, furthered my desire to study intercultural relations and inspired me to publish my own scholarship. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at CU will help make this possible,” “INVST Community Studies will give me concrete skills that can help me further help out the community around me.”

Final Comments

CU Boulder takes great pride in really making an effort to get to know its students. It provides holistic and comprehensive academic advising in order to personalize undergraduate students’ schedules. This commitment toward individual support means that CU Boulder faculty and staff really care about getting to know each student.

 

Your essay should show the admissions committee some of what distinguishes you from everyone else. It should also convey your passion, drive, and strength of character. In commenting on your growth, discuss what your plans are for the future. In writing of the interaction between you and another person, show your strengths and how you make up for your weaknesses. Infuse your essay response with details that will make the admissions committee want to get to know you better.

 

Want help on your CU Boulder 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
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