How to Write the University of Miami Essay 2023-2024
The University of Miami has one required supplemental essay prompt for all applicants. The prompt asks about how your life experiences, challenges you’ve overcome, or skills you’ve acquired would contribute to the UMiami community.
Since UMiami receives thousands of applications from academically strong students, your essays are your chance to stand out. In this post, we’ll discuss how to craft an engaging response to this required prompt.
Read these UMiami essay examples to inspire your writing.
University of Miami Supplemental Essay
Located within one of the most dynamic cities in the world, the University of Miami is a distinctive community with a variety of cultures, traditions, histories, languages, and backgrounds. The University of Miami is a values-based and purpose-driven postsecondary institution that embraces diversity and inclusivity in all its forms and strives to create a culture of belonging, where every person feels valued and has an opportunity to contribute.
Please describe how your unique experiences, challenges overcome, or skills acquired would contribute to our distinctive University community. (250 words)
This prompt is rather open-ended in that you can essentially discuss anything! Unique experiences, challenges overcome, and skills acquired are the three explicitly stated categories of things you might want to discuss. Given the introductory paragraph about diversity, you may want to consider writing about a unique life experience that highlights an aspect of your identity. That said, we will go over writing a diversity essay and an “overcoming challenges” essay so that you can write to your strengths.
Writing a “Diversity” Essay
Note that diversity encompasses several disparate aspects of identity, including ethnicity/race, country of origin, language, gender or sexual identity, geographical location, income class, disability or illness, personality trait, extracurricular interest, or something else entirely!
An aspect of diversity might also be something that taught you or inspired your passions, something that you were born into, or something you’re just now learning that you’re a part of. The life experience you write about simply needs to represent a part of yourself that is genuine.
A quick note if you intend to write about your racial background: In June 2023, the United States Supreme Court struck down the use of affirmative action in college admissions. The ruling, however, still allows colleges to consider race on an individual basis, which is one reason many schools are now including diversity prompts as one of their supplemental essay prompts. If you feel that your racial background has impacted you significantly, this is the place to discuss that.
Once you’ve chosen the life experience or aspect of your identity you want to write about, reflect on the impact that it’s had on your life and begin weaving that into your response. Think about the lessons you’ve learned along the way, the people you’ve met, and the skills you’ve learned. Consider this example:
“Ever since I was a little kid, stories have run rampant in my mind. I would make up stories in the car, in the shower, when I would close my eyes to go to sleep. They’d play out like movies in my head, and I got overwhelmed by not knowing what to do with them, so I turned against myself and wished that I would stop. That’s when I found the Creative Writing Club at my school.
Finding other people who shared the same inherent reflex I did not only made me feel normal again but made me feel accepted. I found that my habits were not unhealthy, but inspired. I suddenly found an outlet for 16 years’ worth of pent-up ideas and creativity. I had people to share my stories with, but more importantly, I was a person with whom they could share theirs. Swapping stories became a way for us to learn about different perspectives, cultures, and identities, and in doing so, it has made us all more worldly and empathetic.
I wish to join the Written In My Soul club to share in the experience of using creative writing as an outlet for emotions and ideas. I am excited by the idea of joining a new vibrant community of writers that is so different from the ones I have been in before.”
Writing an “Overcoming Challenges” Essay
Besides life experiences, aspects of diversity, and interests, you can choose to write about a challenge you’ve overcome. This topic can reflect your ability to handle difficult situations and learn from them.
To write an effective response, you’ll want to construct an anecdote that goes through both the challenge and your thought process during and after it. Start with a brief description of the challenge. Next, describe the steps you took to approach the challenge.
Also make sure to discuss the outcome of the situation and show the admissions officer how you matured from this experience, specifically identifying what you have learned from it. The most common mistake students make is to focus too much on the challenge, rather than their thought process, emotions, and growth as a result of overcoming it.
As you brainstorm and begin drafting your response, here are some questions to direct your thinking:
- Why was this challenge so important to you? What is its significance?
- At that moment, what was your reaction to the situation? How did it affect you (thoughts, emotions)?
- Were the steps you took to manage the situation successful? Why or why not?
- How did this challenge allow you to grow and mature as an individual?
Try to avoid “challenges” that are too trivial; although you may be upset that you got a B on that one calculus test, this is not a significant enough challenge to analyze. For this prompt, it’s important to demonstrate personal growth and maturity, as these are traits that will help you contribute to the UMiami community.
You should also avoid challenges that are clichés, such as:
- A sports injury
- Working hard in a difficult class
- Adjusting to a new culture or school
- Facing tragedy (death, illness, abuse)
- Romantic relationships and breakups
To get you thinking, here’s an example of a hypothetical student’s experience:
A student who is passionate about robotics wanted to start a competitive robotics club at her school. She gathered a group of interested students and began the process of getting the club approved by the administration, but to your disappointment, the club was rejected. Instead of accepting defeat, she and her peers petitioned the school in hopes of having the board members reconsider their decision.
While she ultimately didn’t win over the school board, the student discovered her talent for persuasive speaking in the process, and decided to join the Debate Team. She has since won several awards and even got to give a local TED Talk. She wants to major in Communications at UMiami and hopes to share her knowledge and expertise with her future peers on the Debate Team.
A Final Note
Whether you decide to write about an aspect of your identity, a life experience, a challenge you overcame, a skill you acquired, or something else entirely, be sure to describe how your topic served as an opportunity for learning and personal growth. Also don’t forget to address the final part of the prompt by stating how you will contribute to the UMiami community. This contribution can take a variety of forms, but it’s best to find a specific resource or opportunity at UMiami that you can see yourself being a part of.
Where to Get Your University of Miami Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your UMiami essays? After rereading your essay over and over again, it can be difficult to determine where your writing might be improved upon. 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!