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How to Write the Stanford Roommate Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Johnathan Patin-Sauls in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.

 

What’s Covered:

 

Stanford University is known for a lot of things, and their roommate essay is one of those things. Each year, Stanford puts out an essay prompt asking you to write a note to your future roommate. This prompt isn’t very common, so there is a lot of room to get creative with your response. 

 

How to Approach the Stanford Roommate Essay

 

This essay question allows a lot of room for brainstorming. Think about it—you can tell your future roommate anything. Questions like this aren’t meant to be taken too seriously. They’re meant to show your fun and creative side. 

 

Remember all of those awkward first impressions you’ve made in your life? If you’re anything like me, you probably went home and wished you could do them over. Well, this is your chance. You have complete control over your response to this essay. So, what would you say to your future roommate? 

 

Telling Stanford might sound daunting, but what would your response be if your friend asked you this? Reframing your audience is a great way to approach this question because you would give your friend an authentic answer. This is a great tip to help get the ideas flowing. Of course, the Stanford admission’s committee will be the ones reading your response, so make sure it is appropriate. 

 

Topics to Cover in Your Stanford Roommate Essay

 

1. Living habits

 

This essay is all about who you are in your home. The topics you could write about are endless. If you want to go down the more serious route, you can do that. There are a lot of students who write about their gender identity, sexuality, culture or home life. If that’s the most important thing you want your roommate to know, then definitely talk about that. Afterall, you will be living with this person in a fairly small room. 

 

If writing about your sexuality is important to you, then that is a great topic to write about, but it’s important to understand the difference between sexuality and sex life. This essay is not the place for you to write about your sex life. If you’re writing about something you wouldn’t tell your grandma, it might be best to choose a different topic. 

 

2. Hobbies and extracurricular activities

 

The roommate essay is a good place to show admission what kind of student you are going to be. One option is to write about how you’ll be involved on campus. Stanford wants to choose students that are going to come onto campus and get involved with everything the campus has to offer. They want someone who adds value to the community. Asking yourself how you would do this is a great way to begin your response.  

 

3. Academic plans (with a fun twist)

 

A great approach to this essay is linking your academics to something fun. One of the most successful responses to this essay was from a student who wanted to be a chemistry major. They wrote about learning how to bake a chemically complex cake for their dad’s birthday. 

 

Another response was from a business major who wrote about losing all of his life savings when he was teaching himself how to navigate the stock market. Both of these topics showed the student’s academic interest and tied that into their personality. 

 

Looking for more Stanford essay tips? Check out our full Stanford essay guide.


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At CollegeVine, experts host weekly livestreams on college admissions topics, including application advice, essay writing tips, and college information sessions. To register or check out more livestreams, visit www.collegevine.com/livestreams.