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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
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| 800 verbal
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Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

2 University of Oregon Essay Examples by Accepted Students

 

While the University of Oregon is not overly competitive, it’s still important to write strong essays that will help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to the University of Oregon. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

 

Read our University of Oregon essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

 

Want to know your chances at the University of Oregon? Calculate your chances for free!

 

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

 

Example 1

 

Prompt: The University of Oregon values difference, and we take pride in our diverse community. Please explain how you will share your experiences, values and interests with our community. In what ways can you imagine offering your support to others?

 

It was that time of the year again. Not Christmas, rather it was our temple festival. The pious bells were ringing in the background, and elephants stood near the temple gate. Soon, the priest will climb the elephant with the deity in his hands, and go around the temple thrice, a common form of prayer in our culture. Finally, the deity will be placed back in the sanctum, and that’s when the celebrations begin. 

 

As an Indian, who was born and brought up in the UK until 7 and then relocated to India, I have been deeply exposed to the traditions of both countries. Being a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, a minority caste among Hindus, I have the privilege of having a very distinctive cultural background. I converse in three different languages on a daily basis: Konkani, my mother tongue, with my family;  I speak Malayalam with my friends at school, and I speak English with my friends online. 

 

Every year, in the month of March, our local temple transforms into a gala of lights, music, and celebration. It is the time when people from all over the town get together for a 7-day festival; to commemorate the century long tradition of taking the deity out of the sanctum and around the city. The belief stood that even Gods should have some relaxation.  For those 7 days, the locals would spend morning, afternoon, and evening in the premise of the temple. The energetic atmosphere would keep everyone up as music and dance goes on into the wee hours of the night. 

 

Perhaps the most awaited event of the day would be lunch! Food, blessed with holy water, would be served to all devotees for free. People would sit on the sandy ground, cross-legged waiting for lunch to arrive. My task was to initiate the meal, by placing a whole banana leaf in front of each person. This would serve as the plate the food is served on. And then comes the various dishes and side dishes. 

 

Events like these mean a lot to me. I believe that it’s the events like these that add meaning to life. I look forward to sharing my local culture with the extremely diverse community at the University of Oregon. I believe it would be a tremendous opportunity to share our cultures with people from different corners of the world. In times when we are as disconnected as ever, it is the people that we should bring together. I look forward to introducing my South Indian culture to the university and hosting festivals that will showcase the best of our respective countries. 

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

This essay paints a vivid picture of this student’s culture. Through their use of imagery and storytelling, the reader can really see what is so special about this festival. The detailed descriptions of the religious ceremony and the celebratory lunch create an image in the reader’s mind of what this vibrant celebration looks like. This student’s excitement and love for this festival is evident in their writing through the heavy detail they go into, which shows that their cultural background is something very important to them.

 

Going along with the student’s use of detail, they also do a good job of explaining the traditions and importance of the festival. Especially since the people reading this essay might not be familiar with the festival, the student might have lost the attention of their readers if they didn’t effectively describe the festival. However, this essay is very clear when describing the traditions people engage in during the festival, which makes it much easier for the reader to follow along and stay engaged in the story. 

 

What Could Be Improved

 

One thing this essay could use is more elaboration on how the student plans to share their experiences with the community at the University of Oregon. The prompt is mainly focused on how students will share their diverse experiences and support others from different backgrounds, but the essay doesn’t answer any of this until the last paragraph. It’s important to establish what your unique background or interests are before you explain how you will contribute to diversity on campus, but you shouldn’t let establishing your background overshadow your answer to the prompt.

 

This student discusses how they want to host festivals to introduce their South Indian culture to the University of Oregon community, but doesn’t go into further detail. The essay would be greatly improved—and fully answer the prompt—if there was more detail on how they plan to host these festivals and why they think the campus community would benefit from the festival. The student doesn’t need a flushed out event proposal, but they should have a sentence that says something like, “I plan to work with __ club to organize and host a week-long festival every March to bring the spirit of my local temple festival to campus.”

 

Explaining why they think their fellow students would benefit from attending this festival would answer the second part of the prompt that asked how they will offer support to others. There are many reasons why this student might think others would benefit from experiencing the festival. Maybe the festival highlights important values they believe everyone should hold, like gratitude, humility, and a sense of community. Whatever the reason, including an explanation as to why they want to host a festival on campus would emphasize why the festival is so important and show this student is thinking about how to benefit others using their experiences.

 

Example 2

 

Prompt: The University of Oregon values difference, and we take pride in our diverse community. Please explain how you will share your experiences, values and interests with our community. In what ways can you imagine offering your support to others?

 

I come from many different worlds. As a woman, I’ve learned to be fierce and independent, regardless of how others may try to belittle me. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve learned to love who I love and be who I am unapologetically and with no constraints. As a person who’s overcome mental illness, I’ve learned that I am strong and I can persevere even when it seems that there is only darkness. As the youngest in my family, I’ve learned to look up to others and ask for help when I need it. As the oldest of my friends, I’ve learned to take responsibility and be a shoulder to lean on. As someone who’s grown up in the South, I’ve learned the way a home-cooked meal and good company can sometimes be all it takes to make everything better. But perhaps most importantly, as a person born with some privilege in an unjust society, I’ve learned to use my voice for those who aren’t heard. I know what discrimination feels like—I may not have ever been discriminated against because of my skin color, but my gender, my sexuality, and my mental health have all caused some people to look down on me, to disrespect me, to question the validity of my existence. I am not an archetype; I don’t fit into a mold. I haven’t always felt safe and comfortable being open about who I am and what I’ve experienced. At the University of Oregon, I know that this will be different. I’ll be able to comfortably share who I am and meet people both alike and different from myself. I’ll share my story and listen to others as they share theirs. At UOregon, I’ll find a second home.

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

This is a great essay because of its vulnerability and use of writing techniques. The reader walks away from this essay feeling like they really know who this student is because she wasn’t afraid to share personal details. She tells her readers she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she has struggled with her mental health, she’s the youngest in her family, and she uses her voice to speak out for social justice.

 

Not only does this essay reveal a lot of details about this student, but most importantly, it explains how each aspect of her personality taught her something about herself, which reveals a host of deeper characteristics she possesses. Each trait is accompanied by personal reflection, which all comes together to explain her motivations behind fighting for what she believes in. This essay goes above and beyond the average college essay in terms of the sheer amount of details we learn about a student, but still manages to not overpower the reader with extraneous details.

 

The way this essay is able to deliver all these details about the student and remain engaging is through its use of repetition. The repetitive structure (anaphora) of “As a __” at the beginning of every sentence makes it easy for the reader to follow all the new information being presented. This student also isn’t afraid to let her voice shine through her writing. She uses “I” a lot to show the reader she is actively engaged in telling her story. Also, the injection of some humor, like when she says she knows the importance of a home-cooked meal as a Southerner, makes the essay and the student feel more relatable. 

 

Overall, this essay is an excellent example of conveying a lot of information about a student in an easy-to-follow and engaging way.

 

What Could Be Improved

 

The one thing that could improve this essay would be to discuss how this student plans to engage with the community at the University of Oregon more. Currently, the student really only says she wants to “share [her] story and listen to others.” Compared to the rest of the essay, this is lacking detail and a connection to the student. Since the student shared so much about her personality in the beginning of the essay, a really strong ending would have tied an aspect of her personality she mentioned above to something at Oregon.

 

For example, she could have continued talking about how her experiences have inspired her to fight for social justice and describe how she will encourage her friends from other backgrounds to join a social justice club on campus or host rallies for social justice. Providing a concrete example of what she intends to do at Oregon that directly relates to her personality would have made for a great conclusion to an otherwise great essay.  

 

More Free Essay Resources

 

How to Write the University of Oregon Essays: See our in-depth guide of each supplemental essay prompt for the University of Oregon. 

 

All of Our Essay Guides: Don’t miss our essay guides for all of the top schools.

 

How to Write the Common App Essays: Learn how to write a strong Common App essay for each of the prompts, with examples.

 

Free CollegeVine Peer Essay Review: Submit your essay and get feedback from another student. Editing other students’ essays will also help you improve your own writing skills!

 

 


Short Bio
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.