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Located in the college town of Gainesville, the University of Florida is home to about 35,000 undergraduate students. UF boasts a 2,000-acre campus, but it is large in more ways than just one. Undergraduates choose from over 100 majors in 16 different schools, including the typical School of Business and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as the less typical School of Construction Management. Gators also have three different opportunities for studying abroad, through UF sponsored, non-UF sponsored, and UF exchange programs.

 

The application for UF is through Coalition, and essay components consist of the Coalition Essay and the UF supplement, which has a few short-answer prompts. After completing the online application, be sure to also submit the SSAR, the student self-reported transcript.

 

Regardless of the large student body, the university’s applications process remains competitive. Last year, 13,214 of the 34,553 applicants were accepted for an acceptance rate of around 38%. Read on to learn how to tackle the UF essay prompts.

Coalition Essay Choices (Word Count: 550):

 

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.

  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?

  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?

  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

See our post on How to Write the Coalition Application Essays for 2017-2018.

Questions for the UF Supplement (Character Count: 950):

  • List and describe your community service activities. Please include your role in the activity and level of responsibility.

  • List and describe each job you’ve had, including dates of employment, job titles and hours worked each week.

  • Do you have any employment or family obligations that limit your participation in extracurricular activities? Please describe.

  • List any programs or activities that helped you prepare for higher education, such as University Outreach, Talent Search, Upward Bound, etc.

  • Is there any other information for the Admissions Committee to consider when your application is reviewed?

UF’s supplemental section contains a few short-answer style prompts. Each has a maximum character count of 950, which translates to around 150-200 words. With such a constricting limit, it is advisable to be brief, which may mean writing in fragments rather than complete sentences.

 

UF Application Essay Prompts

List and describe your community service activities. Please include your role in the activity and level of responsibility.

For this question, be sure to provide all of the information requested with as much detail as possible while still being concise. Since this is a list, formatting can help to reduce the number of characters in your response.

 

Do this:

NHS President – Organize and attend ten volunteer events for club members per year (81 characters)

 

Not this:

As the president of NHS, I organize and attend ten volunteer events for club members each year. (95 characters)

 

Although there is only a 14 character difference, it can add up. Formatting the response like the first example means you could include 11-12 activities, whereas you could only list 10 if you formatted the second way. If you have fewer activities, you can add more detail, such as a specific example of your impact on the community service event or organization. It is advisable to select either the most impressive example or the one that you are proudest and most passionate about.

 

For example:

NHS President – Organize and attend ten volunteer events for club members per year, including a dance-a-thon that raised over 5,000 dollars for low-income, special-needs families.

 

Think of the prompt not as a résumé, but as an opportunity to show your personality and any leadership roles that you’ve taken on. This is your chance to brag about the wonderful work that you’ve done! By conveying your direct impact on a community service event, you show the admissions committee both what you value and the skills that you will bring to the UF campus. In the example above, the details show the reader that the student is capable of organizing large, successful events and managing other students.

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List and describe each job you’ve had, including dates of employment, job titles and hours worked each week.

Most applicants will have only a few jobs, and thus won’t have an issue abiding by the character limit, but it’s advisable to maintain the formatting that you used in the previous response for cohesion. For this question, you should be concise, but you can take this time to reinforce an idea that was conveyed through a different part of your application.

 

For example, if an applicant who worked part-time in a grocery store is trying to convey that he enjoys meeting new people and connecting with them, he can use this response to show the admissions committee his personality and how he interacts with the world, rather than just including a job description. The second example below is much more effective at allowing the admissions committee to envision the applicant and understand his personality.

 

Cashier at Grocery Store X (June 2014-present for 8 hours a week) – Ring up and bag groceries for customers.

 

Cashier at Grocery Store X (June 2014-present for 8 hours a week) – Assist and form relations with customers by ringing up and bagging their groceries, inquiring about their shopping experience, and addressing any concerns or complaints to ensure a positive experience and continued patronage.

Do you have any employment or family obligations that limit your participation in extracurricular activities?

For this question, you will have to select either ‘yes’ if this pertains to you, or ‘no’ if it does not. If you select no, you can proceed onwards, but if you select yes, then there is a short-answer section prompting you to describe these obligations. This prompt is an opportunity to explain if your activities are limited. If you do have such limitations, but you managed to work a way around it, such as by working late night shifts, you should still describe that process here.

 

One pitfall to avoid is an overly emotional response, as this detracts from any representation of you and your perspectives. For instance, if you have to take care of younger siblings all afternoon, your response to this question could easily turn into a rant about how much you love and care for them, rather than an informational response that shows how much you value not just this one relationship but all relationships in your life.  

 

When reviewing a response to this question, be sure to think of what this shows the admissions committee about you, and do not proceed yet if the answer is “not much.”

List any programs or activities that helped you prepare for higher education, such as University Outreach, Talent Search, Upward Bound, etc.

Since this prompt only asks to list programs rather than to describe, you should only include a description of the program if it is an obscure one. If you have participated in such a program, keep the response short and to the point, and if you have not, simply say that this prompt is not applicable for you and move on.

Is there any other information for the Admissions Committee to consider when your application is reviewed?

This prompt is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee any integral information that hasn’t been conveyed in any other part of your application. Avoid repeating anything that appears in another section. If you do have something to share, you should generally write this prompt in the format of a short essay rather than the list format recommended for the other prompts.

 

If there are any weak points in your application that have a justifiable reason, use this space to describe them. For instance, if there was a semester during which your grades suffered as a result of a crisis in your family, you should briefly summarize this, as the admissions committee will take this into consideration. Again, try to avoid an overly emotional response.

 

This area could also be used for any information that had no other place in the application. For example, if you ran out of space for AP exam scores, you could include the rest here. If you do include exam scores or extracurriculars here, it’s advisable to format as a list rather than an essay for better readability.

Good Luck With Your Essays!

 

Want help on your University of Florida 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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