How to Write the University of Nevada, Reno Essays 2019-2020

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University of Nevada, Reno is a public research university with over 20,000 students. UNR houses one of the largest earthquake simulation laboratories in the country and is the sole land grant institution in the state. Its School of Journalism has produced six Pulitzer Prize winners. 

 

University of Nevada, Reno has an 83% acceptance rate. Applicants can apply via the MyNEVADA portal located on UNR’S website. Although the school’s general application does not require any essays, UNR requires that Honors Program applicants submit supplemental essays. 

 

For Applicants to the Honors Program

 

Prompt 1

 

Write a 500-word essay responding to ONE of the following questions. The essay is an important factor in the admissions decision. Write an essay that addresses the topic and one that tells us what you will contribute to the Honors Program and how you will take advantage of the opportunities that the Honors Program offers you. Provide sufficient examples to support your argument. Your essay will be carefully reviewed for style, writing ability, and originality.

 

Prompt 1, Option A: How will being a member of the Honors Program enhance your studies at the University of Nevada and help you attain academic excellence? Support your essay with the benefits of Honors membership that are relevant to your personal study and career goals. (500 words)

The Honors Program is university-wide and available within any major. Students in the program receive access to specialized honors courses with small class sizes, an honors-specific residence hall, specialized academic advising, and extended library privileges. The program is selective and looks for motivated, academically strong students.

 

This prompt asks you to explain how you believe the Honors Program will help you achieve your personal study and career goals. Your response should address how UNR-specific programs will allow you to achieve both your study goals during college and your career goals once you graduate.

 

The first part asks about your personal study goals. What do you hope to achieve during your time at college? Do you want engaging discussions with faculty members at the top of their field? Do you want the opportunity to participate in hands-on research and work? How will the UNR honors program help you achieve this goal? 

 

For example, instead of simply saying that the Honors Program will allow you to do research, you could discuss how the Honors Program will allow you to work closely with a faculty advisor to design and conduct your own study. You could also discuss how the opportunity to live in the honors dorm would allow you to experience the living-learning community you desire. 

 

The second portion of this prompt asks how the Honors Program will allow you to achieve your career goals. Although you do not need your exact career interests, you should have a general idea of what you want to pursue after college. Once again, your response should also rest on UNR Honors Program-specific programs.

 

For example, you could discuss how an Honors Program peer mentor could help you select courses and extracurriculars that will maximize your success when you apply to medical school. An honors-specific academic advisor could help you decide if you want to pursue a law degree or a masters in public policy. 

 

Prompt 1, Option B: How do you envision the experience in the Honors Program to be different from that of honors, AP, IB, or other rigorous coursework you have taken in high school? Provide specific examples that support how an Honors experience at the University of Nevada, Reno will benefit you academically and professionally. (500 words)

This prompt asks you to explain how the Honors Program experience will differ from your previous academic pursuits. It then asks how this experience will benefit you both as a college student and a working professional post-graduation.

 

High school experiences can vary dramatically, so consider your personal experience compared to the Honors Program experience. Does your specialized vocational high school have small classes but a limited curriculum? Does your high school have large class sizes that make it difficult to have in-depth classroom discussions? 

 

Compare this to the nature of the UNR Honors Program. The program emphasizes broad curricular offerings and small class sizes that allow for intimate, in-depth discussions. It also requires students to complete an independent research project and oral defense to graduate. How is this program different from what you have experienced? 

 

The second portion of this prompt asks you to explain how the Honors experience at UNR will help you achieve both academic and professional success. You can tie this question to the previous portion by explaining how these changes in your education will allow for your success. 

 

For example, you could explain how smaller class size with more in-depth discussions will allow you to develop the critical reasoning skills necessary to your major and your future career as a lawyer. You could also explain how participation in an independent research project will deepen your education by allowing you to make form close relationships with faculty and prepare you for your time as a PhD candidate. 

 

Try to make your answers as specific to the UNR Honors Program as possible. For example, instead of simply saying that you look forward to exploring various areas of study through UNR’s curriculum, you could say you look forward to taking American Experience and Constitutional Change and Survey of Jazz during the same semester. The UNR Honors course offerings are available online. 

 

Prompt 1, Option C: “The Honors Program seeks to provide students who are both academically talented and highly motivated with an undergraduate education that nurtures and promotes capacities to think competently, understand deeply, and act ethically.” Provide detailed examples that support how your academic and educational experiences, your motivation, and your career goals align with the Honors Program’s mission statement. (500 words)

This prompt seeks to assess the ways your goals and values align with those of the Honors Program. You should dedicate a portion of your essay to your educational experiences, your motivation, and your career goals, respectively. 

 

The first portion of this prompt asks you how your educational and academic experiences align with the Honors Program mission statement. How have your experiences thus far taught you to think competently, understand deeply, and act ethically? Remember to show, not tell. Use specific examples to illustrate how your academic experiences facilitated these actions. 

 

For example, instead of simply saying your AP English class taught you to think and understand subject matter critically, describe a particular assignment that really honed your skills. Instead of saying that you examined ethics in your government class, describe a specific class during your education on ethics that stuck out to you. 

 

Follow a similar format when explaining how your motivation aligns with these themes. Your motivation could be your desire to attend UNR or your broader career goals. How does this motivating factor relate back to in-depth understanding and ethical behavior?

 

For example, you could discuss how you are motivated to become a human rights attorney because you believe it is ethically imperative in our society and the Honors Program will provide you with the critical thinking skills required to succeed. You could also describe how your motivation to apply to the Honors Program arose from your love of the critical thinking required in small class discussions. 

 

Finally, this prompt asks you to specifically elaborate on your career goals. There is no set major or career track for the honors program, and you do not need to have a set career in mind. However, you should have a general idea of what would like to pursue. For example, while you don’t need to know whether you’ll be a veterinarian specifically, you should have a general idea of whether you want to pursue some element of animal science. 

 

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Prompt 2: Provide a 140-character tweet that tells us something about you not captured in your application.

While academics are crucial to your application, admissions counselors also want to know about you as a holistic individual. This prompt assesses your creativity and helps the admissions staff to get to know you better. 

 

Think about meaningful parts of your identity or activities that you value. As mentioned in the prompt, avoid writing about subjects you have already covered in other parts of your application. For example, are you an avid rock climber? Is family time central to your well-being? Are you a certified Zumba instructor?

 

There is no right answer to this question, but choose something that you meaningfully articulate in a limited space. 140 characters is only around a line and a half of single-spaced text. Since this is also a tweet, you shouldn’t just make a flat statement, like “I’m a certified Zumba instructor.” Instead, think of a way that people can learn this fact from something you might actually tweet, such as “Excited to lead my first Zumba class tonight – get ready to dance to some Beyoncé!” 

 

Some other examples might be:

 

Went dumpster diving & found a sweet watch! Diving is stigmatized, but it shouldn’t bethere’s so much perfectly good stuff to be rescued.

 

This tweet shows that you’re adventurous and are passionate about preventing unnecessary waste.

 

Signed up for my first half marathon next spring & can’t wait to start training! Love having a big project to work on & look forward to.

 

Sharing your plans is a great way to show the admissions officers something that you’re working towards that you probably wouldn’t put on your application, as it hasn’t happened yet. This tweet shows that this person likes challenges and can work towards long-term goals.

 

The only thing worse than heartbreak is spending money on food that ends up being nasty. 

 

This is actually a meme going around, but we wanted to include this as a more lighthearted example. If you’re known for your sense of humor, feel free to incorporate it into this tweet. This is, after all, an unconventional prompt, so giving an unconventional answer definitely goes!

 

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