How to Write the University of Colorado Boulder Essay 2020-2021

Breathtaking views. Exceptional academics. Outdoor adventure. These are just a few of the reasons students choose to study at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Founded in 1876, CU Boulder is a 600-acre public institution with 30,152 undergraduates that is situated in the hip mountain town of Boulder. The University of Colorado, Boulder is ranked #104 by US News, and its acceptance rate is 82%. Want to know your chances at CU Boulder? Calculate your chances for free right now.


CU Boulder is the only university in the Rocky Mountain region to be accepted into the Association of American Universities, an elite group of 62 research universities. The university has highly ranked programs in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. CU Boulder graduates are immediately inducted into the dues-free alumni association, Forever Buffs, whose distinguished members include “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and sportscasters Chris Fowler and Jim Gray.


Want to learn what CU Boulder will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering CU Boulder needs to know.

CU Boulder Supplemental Essay 

At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance. (250-650 words)

This essay prompt allows you to discuss a part of you that is not as apparent in other parts of your application. A good way to start your writing process is by brainstorming your identities. An identity can be religious, racial, ethnic, sexual, socio-economic, related to disability, and personal. However, your essay does not have to go along those lines ─ feel free to make it more casual or humorous if that’s more your style. Your identity could equally mean a hobby, perspective, or your values. CU Boulder wants to know what makes you, you. 


Since you can only choose one of your many identities, try to weigh which ones you can write about in the most unique manner. Also keep in mind that your Common App essay may have a similar theme to this one. You should aim for minimal overlap to make the most of your application. If your Common App essay is already a diversity essay, write about a different identity for CU Boulder.


The best way to introduce your chosen identity is to tell a human story. This means going beyond cookie-cutter explanations and embracing vulnerability. Explain how you came to develop your identity, or when you had an epiphany that this identity has always been a part of who you are. For example, you could start the essay like so:


Hello everyone, thanks for tuning in to the first episode of the Scar Face Podcast. Today I’m going to tell my story of what it’s like to live with a scar on your forehead in a seemingly polite, yet scathingly judgemental world.


I wasn’t born with a scar, but I was reborn when it came to my face. It all started when…


Be sure to highlight the struggles that have come with your identity. Who has accepted you for who you are and who has not? Was it challenging to discover your identity in the first place and reveal it to others? Are there legal and political issues which have prevented you from fully expressing your identity?


You will then want to explain what your identity means to you. What lessons has living with your identity taught you about life and humanity? Has it inspired your educational, extracurricular, and career choices? Most importantly, what do you love about your identity? Describe how being different from others makes your life feel fulfilling and unique. 


Lastly, how is your identity significant to the world around you? Connect yourself to the bigger picture ─ what community of similar people have you found by embracing your identity? Conclude by talking about how you strive for your uniqueness to enrich the spaces around you. 


For instance:


At that moment, I realized that the vegetables and noodles in my bowl were just like humanity – each was of unique shapes and sizes, but together, they came together into something greater than the sum of their parts. I try to be one of the shapes in the chaos of heterogeneity ─ and if I could convince people to accept me as a scar face, hopefully I can convince others to accept people affected by the scars you can’t see…


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