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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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How to Write the University of Miami Essays 2022-2023

University of Miami is a private research university located in Coral Gables, Florida. It is consistently ranked in the top 50 national universities. The university is proximal to many beautiful tropical areas, like the Florida Keys and South Beach. UMiami is known for campus events like the Cannes Film Festival and homecoming Boat Burning Ceremony.


At UMiami, students can choose from 180 majors and programs. Its proximity to large bodies of water enables it to have an entire college dedicated to marine and atmospheric science, with majors such as oceanography and marine science immunology.


If UMiami’s abundant academic offerings and vibrant campus culture pique your interest, read on to learn how to answer its supplemental essay.


Want to know your chances at University of Miami? Calculate your chances for free right now.


The University of Miami’s official mascot is the ibis. Folklore maintains that the native marsh bird is the last to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to emerge once the storm passes, making it an apt symbol of courage and resilience.


Considering your ability to control your own motivation and behavior, how have past experiences helped build your courage and resilience to persist in the face of academic and life challenges so that, once these storms pass, you can emerge in continued pursuit of your goals? (250 words)

This is an example of an “overcoming challenges” essay prompt. Navigating college and becoming more independent is a tough transition, and colleges want to know what skills and tools you already possess to help you be successful in this new chapter of your life. They want to know how you cope with negative events and bounce back in the face of adversity.


A common struggle for students is deciding on a topic to write about. Students who have not experienced trauma might feel as though they don’t have an adequate challenge to write about. On the other hand, students who have gone through a traumatic experience might find it difficult to talk about. 


Keep in mind that the purpose of an overcoming challenges essay is to learn more about you. It matters more how you handled a given set of circumstances and what they revealed about your character than the actual circumstances themselves. 


That being said, try not to choose a hackneyed subject, like losing a sports game or getting a bad grade on a test. Choose something that speaks uniquely to your life experiences so admissions officers can get a deeper look into who you are.


Since this essay topic is so common, ensure that whatever topic you choose has not already been written about in another part of your application—like your Common App personal essay. Then, think about personality traits and qualities that you possess that have not been mentioned in other areas of your application. Think about what aspects of your life or personality feel like they are still unaddressed, and try to generate instances that showcase these traits.


Once you’ve picked a topic, take a few sentences to provide some context for your reader. This should be a couple sentences that lay out the groundwork, but don’t give away all the details. 


An effective method for accomplishing this is a narrative-like approach that starts in the middle of the issue at hand. 


For example, if your challenge is public speaking, your essay can start right when you are being spontaneously called on to present something. This approach captures the reader’s attention and makes them more invested in your response. Be sure to include how you felt in the moment! This humanizes you and helps admissions officers understand the situation and get to know you better.


Here is an example of a potential introduction:


“I double checked my cardstock schedule against the room number, took a deep breath, and walked into the computer lab. My eyes quickly scoured the room and my heart sank as I realized that yet again, I would be the only girl in my engineering class.”


After giving context and clearly outlining the obstacle, you can delve further into your reaction to it. What was the extent of the obstacle at hand, and how did it impact you? What were some of the adverse effects you had to deal with?


Continuing with the previous example:


“When it came time to choose groups for a project, I was always the last one selected. If I needed help on a project, I would have to hear remarks about how I was a “damsel in distress” or how women always required a man’s help. Though many of these comments were in jest, they made me feel even more isolated than I already was. I tried talking to my non-male friends about joining the class, but they felt it was too inaccessible or that they lacked the right skill set for it.”


This sets up the problem so you can discuss the next step, problem solving. This portion is crucial in demonstrating your thought process and character traits to admissions officers. 


The main portion of your essay should focus on how you overcame the challenge you described. Detail how you planned and implemented a solution. Talk through your process as a nonlinear path, including bumps along the road and times where you had to rethink your strategy.


For instance: 


“I realized that the lack of room for women meant that I had to create space for myself and others. I decided to start a club where we could have our STEM teachers give lectures for the students who were unable to join the engineering program. However, when I went to poll my teachers, none of them were interested in using their lunch period to teach us. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn and teach the topics—I spent many nights watching introductory Arduino videos until I mastered enough to host the first session.”


After you talk about how you tackled the issue, you can move into the resolution portion of the response. This wraps up your essay and explains what you learned and how you grew from the obstacle. To conclude, you should discuss how you plan to use the skills you’ve gained in your future.


A sample conclusion might look like this: 


“Our little STEM club eventually grew into a full-on afterschool program, with different people leading each session. Taking on the teaching portion also boosted my self-confidence, and I found myself speaking up more in class. Becoming an active proponent in my own education is something I plan to continue UMiami and beyond.”


This approach to your essay will produce a narrative-like response that draws admissions officers in and helps them get a better idea of how you deal with adversity. By recounting your unique experiences, you can craft a response that distinguishes your application from other candidates.


Where to Get Your University of Miami Essays Edited


If you’ve already written your University of Miami supplemental essay, it is time to get it edited. Having peers read your essay will help you to identify areas for improvement and, ultimately, will help you maximize your chances of getting into UMiami. By creating a free CollegeVine account, you will have access to CollegeVine resources like our free peer-review service. 


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!


We’re here to help you put your best foot forward and feel prepared throughout this application season—because we know how overwhelming it can get.

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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.