What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write the University of Colorado Boulder Essay 2023-2024

Founded in 1876, CU Boulder is a 600-acre public institution situated in the hip mountain town of Boulder. 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, as well as other fields.


Read along to learn the best ways to approach the CU Boulder essay!


University of Colorado Boulder Supplemental Essay Prompt


What do you hope to study, and why, at CU Boulder? Or if you don’t know quite yet, think about your studies so far, extracurricular/after-school activities, jobs, volunteering, future goals, or anything else that has shaped your interests. (250 words)


This prompt is an example of the typical “Why This Major” essay. The ultimate goal here is to outline your past academic background, your future academic/career goals, and your intellectual passions—all in an engaging essay that stands out!


A good first step is to think about your major and how you became interested in your major:


  • Was there a specific event that triggered your interest? For example, a student who picked up a book by Audre Lorde at the library, was unable to put it down, then learned about their interest in LGBTQIA+ communities, so they decided to major in Women and Gender Studies.
  • Was there a specific moment when you realized your future career goals? For example, a student who went to work with their mother one day because school got canceled and saw the intensity of an emergency hospital, then realized that they don’t want to work in emergency care, but they do want to be a doctor.
  • Do the values associated with your field align with your values? For example, a student choosing to study Architectural Engineering because they value reason and things making sense or a student choosing to get a certificate in Latin American and Latinx Studies because they are passionate about minority representation in media.


This “How I Got Interested” story could serve as a unique way to frame your essay. An anecdote could help your essay stand out amongst all the activities, experiences, and goals that admissions officers will be reading about. That being said, you should supplement your anecdote with the details from the prompt: prior/current coursework, extracurricular activities, and work/volunteer experience.


Keep in mind that your courses, activities, and experiences don’t have to exactly align with your major or intellectual interests. This can be a place for you to show your understanding of the connectedness of academics and forefront ideas of interdisciplinarity. Of course, you can write about something expected like high school theatre inspiring you to study Theatre at CU Boulder. But, if you need to stretch, that’s okay also!


Here are some examples of stretching your coursework and extracurriculars:


  • A student planning to study Strategic Communication could reference their AP Psychology course and emphasize the value of understanding the human mind to applying effective communications strategies.
  • A student planning to study Theatre might mention their performances as a witness for their high school’s mock trial team.
  • A student planning to study Philosophy could write about their involvement with a science fiction book club on campus and describe the fundamental philosophical concepts that permeate today’s literature. 
  • A student planning to study Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology could mention their past experiences with computer science and recognize the ways that technology and medicine are increasingly interacting.


Finally, if you write about career goals, make sure that your field of study aligns with your future career. If it is tangentially related (like studying English to go into Communications or studying Political Science to go into Journalism), focus on the skills that you will learn in your major curriculum that will help you in your future career. Stretch less here. If your major doesn’t relate to your career goals, focus on your passion for your major and your past experiences with your major.


When applying to CU Boulder, you likely have academic interests that you are passionate about. Dig into those as you write this essay and let your excitement shine through. If your interests are authentic, that will show. And, if you aren’t quite sure what you want to study, focusing on specific courses and activities that have interested you in the past will show admissions officers that you are intellectually curious, but just haven’t figured out where you want to focus that curiosity yet. 


Where to Get Your CU Boulder Essay Edited


Do you want feedback on your CU Boulder essay? After rereading your essay countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 


If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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