How to Write the University of Kansas Essays 2019-2020

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University of Kansas is a public research institution located in Lawrence, Kansas. KU offers over 140 undergraduate degree programs including top-ranked business and engineering programs, and more unusual offerings like metalsmithing/jewelry and news media forecasting.

 

University of Kansas has an acceptance rate of 92%. The University of Kansas accepts the Common Application. Students applying to the SELF Program or the Honors Program will need to submit additional essays. Want to know your chances at the University of Kansas? Calculate your chances for free right now.

 

For Applicants to SELF Program

 

The SELF Program’s primary goal is to develop passionate future engineering leaders in business, industry, and entrepreneurship. Keeping that in mind, tell us why you are interested in becoming a SELF Fellow and what you feel you would contribute. (500 words)

University of Kansas’s SELF Program offers a variety of scholarships and specialized programming for its fellows. Students in the SELF program participate in experiential learning through networking opportunities with various prestigious companies, weekly seminars, and large collaborative projects. 

 

The first aspect of this prompt asks why you are interested in becoming a SELF fellow. The SELF program looks for students with a “fire in the belly,” or a passion for leadership and engineering. Your response to this prompt should reflect this passion and how you believe the SELF program in particular will allow you to achieve your goals. 

 

Your response should emphasize the SELF program’s unique opportunities that you could not find in other universities. Many schools will have research opportunities or honors courses. What makes the self program stand out to you? Why is the integration of engineering and leadership interesting to you?

 

For example, instead of simply saying that you want the opportunity to participate in hands-on research, you could explain how SELF’s capstone program will allow you to spearhead and design your own project. The University of Kansas SELF webpage will provide you with information on SELF’s unique programs such as SELF on the Road or the weekly cohort meetings. 

 

The second portion of this prompt asks you what you will contribute to the SELF program. Your response should explain how you believe your passion for engineering and leadership will positively influence your peers and the program as a whole. Discuss how you would contribute to various programs offered in the SELF Program. 

 

For example, you could discuss how your passion for entrepreneurship and personal organization skills would allow you to be an asset in arranging the SELF program’s speaker lineup. You could also discuss how your passion for community service would encourage you to take on a leadership position for Engineering High School Design Competition. 

 

Required for Applicants to SELF Program AND Honors Program

 

Please respond to one of the following essay questions. Your essay will be evaluated for the quality of your writing and your ability to provide a focused response to the question you choose. Your response should demonstrate intellectual curiosity and academic rigor, and should be thoughtful, well-organized and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Please limit your response to 500 words.

 

Option A: It has been said that there are two types of people. What are they? Which one are you? (500 words)

This prompt is intentionally broad to give you a wide range of appropriate responses. The question does not require a specific kind of toneyour response can range from lighthearted and humorous to serious and meaningful. Regardless of the tone you attempt to take, you need to present a thoughtful answer.

 

Choose “two types of people” that allow you to write a well-reasoned response. For example, while there may be pretzels people vs. chips people, or shower vs. bath people, you might have a hard time writing an entire 500-word essay about this distinction. If you feel that you have enough ideas for an essay this creative, however, do go for itjust make sure you incorporate some sound analysis, even if your topic is more fun. 

 

For the shower vs. bath example, you could bring in environmental facts, such as which tends to use more water, or some history/culture on when and where each one is more popular. Of course, this isn’t to say that a more offbeat topic should become totally academicyou can still keep it light by incorporating jokes and anecdotes.

 

For a more serious essay, you might consider distinctions that center on personality differences or different perspectives on life. For example, are there thinkers and doers? Are there optimists and pessimists? Are there planners and improvisers?

 

Your response should clearly explain this distinction. For example, how are planners and improvisers different? What are the benefits of being a planner, and what are the benefits of being an improviser? Do you think one side of the distinction is clearly better than the other and why do you think that?

 

Once you have decided on your distinction, you need to explain which one you are. Remember that you want to show the reader which choice you are instead of simply telling them. Consider using an anecdote to explain why you believe that you are on that side. 

 

For example, did you color-code your binders even in elementary school? Do you prefer pretzels over chips, as you used to make soft pretzels with your German grandmother? Did you leave for a vacation to Europe without any itinerary and plan the entire trip while you were there? Do you like showers because it’s easier to wash off the grime from your soccer games? These anecdotes will help bring your “two types of people” to life and get to learn more about you. 

 

Option B: When did you know? (500 words)

This prompt is intentionally vague to allow a wide range of acceptable answers. Broadly, this question asks when you discovered a passion or something valuable about yourself. 

 

Think about a time you had a clear moment of realization. For example, did you discover that you wanted to study medicine after a meaningful experience volunteering at the hospital? Did you discover your passion for community service after volunteering for a food drive? Did you realize you wanted to continue participating in student government after you made a big change in your school?

 

While longitudinal structure is usually a strong narrative setup, this prompt asks for a moment of impact. You can spend some time establishing the moment and its consequences, however your essay should primarily focus on this moment of impact and its significance to you. Remember that KU asks you to write a focused response.

 

For example, instead of focusing on the many times you volunteered at a local hospital over the years, you could talk about the time when you were able to meaningfully comfort the patient during a difficult time. You can then explain that this feeling made you want to help as many patients as you could, and therefore helped you decide that you wanted to go to medical school. 

 

Your response should clearly connect your experienceor momentto what you learned or discovered, and how that discovery impacted you. For example, you shouldn’t write about an impactful moment at a hospital without explaining what it helped you discover about yourself. You also shouldn’t write about your impactful moment at the hospital then discuss your desire to go to law school. 

 

Option C: Write a letter to someone you consider to be a leader. (500 words)

This prompt seeks to assess your values in a creative writing format. Your response should be in the form of a typical letter, including a greeting and a closing. The epistolary format makes it easy for your writing to fall into rambling, so write down two or three key points you would like to make before you begin writing and structure your response around them. 

 

First, choose your leader. Although it is tempting to choose large-scale influential figures like presidents, your leader can be someone from your everyday life or an unconventional path as well. For example, does someone in your community front a local organization that inspires you? Has one of your favorite artists been a zealous advocate for important social change? Does one of the teachers at your high school lead the entire department? 

 

Once you have selected your leader, you need to think about what you would want to write to them. Do you want to tell them why they inspire you? Do you want to give them advice on a challenge they are facing or encourage them to consider an important issue that they haven’t given much weight to previously? 

 

Despite being a letter, your writing should be coherent and contain logical arguments and points. Use a clear logical structure and try to have each body paragraph address a different point you are trying to make. For example, dedicate one paragraph to why your leader inspires you, one paragraph to the advice you want to give them, and one paragraph to raising an important issue. 

 

For Honors Program Applicants Only

 

Optional: Is there additional information about yourself, your family, your background, or any adversity (e.g. financial hardship, illness, etc.) you would like us to take into consideration while reviewing your application? (150 words)

The University of Kansas Honors Program is one of the top-ranked public honors programs in the country. Honors students receive priority course enrollment, specialized advising, and access to specialized courses and an honors-specific residence hall. The Honors Program seeks to cultivate a diverse, committed group of scholars.

 

This prompt broadly asks if you would like to share any personal information not otherwise addressed in your application materials. Use this space as an opportunity to explain aspects of your identity or background that would not be readily apparent to the admissions committee. Topics can range from unusual family circumstances to low socioeconomic status. 

 

Although your other essays will have room for creative devices, your response to this question should be concise and direct. Avoid detailed personal anecdotes or metaphors, as you have limited word space. Your response should explain your exceptional circumstance and briefly explain why you believe it is relevant to your application review.

 

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