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University of Richmond Essay Example

 

The University of Richmond is a top liberal arts college with a competitive acceptance, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share an essay a real student has submitted to the University of Richmond. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

 

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. 

 

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

 

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

 

Example

 

Prompt: By the time you graduate from college, there will be jobs that don’t exist today. Describe one of them and how Richmond might prepare you for it.

 

Imagine this: You’re going to your doctor for your bi-monthly medical checkup. You step into the doctor’s room and sit down. He checks your blood pressure, sugar levels, and your weight. He then types the results onto his computers, hits a few buttons, and a machine alongside starts whirring. A few minutes later, it spits out a tiny pellet. This pellet contains your DNA, with all your medical history coded on it. The next time you visit your doctor, you just hand them your pellet, and they can scan it to get your full medical history. 

 

This concept may seem extremely far-fetched and unnecessary. After all, it’s way easier to just save it to your phone than it is to keep a pellet. However, this idea of storing data in the form of tiny pellets is beneficial. By the time I graduate from college, it is predicted that the internet will produce 463 exabytes of data per day. That is equivalent to 212 million DVDs per day! The magnetic or optical data-storage systems that currently hold this volume of 0s and 1s typically cannot last for more than a century, if that. Further, running data centers takes enormous amounts of energy. In short, we are about to have a serious data-storage problem that will only become more severe over time.  

 

The answer to all this is DNA-based data storage. DNA can accurately stow massive amounts of data at a density higher than electronic devices do. I believe that the key to the future is learning how to harness this data and store it. A major in Computer Science from the University of Richmond will enable me to understand how data can be coded in sequences. Moreover, a concentration in Data Science and Statistics helps me learn the concepts and principles behind understanding the vast amounts of data produced each day. I plan to leverage URichmond’s liberal arts curriculum to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges we face in the field of data science. 

 

In my sophomore year of high school, I coded an app that calculated the amount of money our school made from our food fair and told us the best-selling and worst-selling items. Although this is a straightforward app, it is what introduced me to the world of using numbers for real-life applications. Since then, I have done numerous online courses in CS and Data Science. At URichmond, I’ll also have the opportunity to venture outside my comfort zone by taking interdisciplinary classes like “Introductory Econometrics”. When I read the syllabus for this class, I was intrigued by the idea of learning how to extract tangible information from numbers and applying them to the real-world economy.  

 

One aspect that drew my attention to URichmond was its high-quality research opportunities. The Richmond School of Arts and Science’s undergraduate research program would allow me to work with mentors, such as Dr. Jon Park or Dr. John R. Hubbard. Specifically, the Annual Student Symposium will allow me to showcase my work in a professional setting and help me gain valuable public speaking skills. I believe that this competitive environment will also be a fun motivator to push myself to grow both academically and socially. 

 

URichmond’s interdisciplinary approach to education and support for independent undergraduate research will optimally prepare me for a future-proof career in Computer Science and Data Science. I am eager to engage with the faculty of URichmond, and I can’t wait to start.

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

This essay has a very strong hook at the beginning that does a good job drawing the reader in and setting up the rest of the essay. The scenario of coding information in DNA pellets helped turn what could be a somewhat abstract concept for the reader into something relatable and tangible, which is especially important in an essay that asks you to image a job that doesn’t exist. The admissions officers want to see some creativity and imagination in this essay, so taking the time to describe the job without letting it overpower the essay really helped.

 

Another positive aspect of this essay is how it clearly shows the student’s knowledge about the topic, but still leaves room for them to learn more. There is no question that this student has researched data in the past and thought about how it will be addressed in the future. Including the statistics on “463 exabytes of data per day” and the “optical data-storage systems” leaves the reader with the impression this student is really passionate about data and would be a good fit for the computer science department. However, the admissions officers want to make sure their college can offer something to this student, so mentioning classes, professors, and programs shows that this student is curious to learn more. 

 

Finally, this student did a nice job of tying the two parts of the prompt together. By choosing a future job that relates to the field the student wants to study, they were able to showcase their prior high school experience in this field and describe resources at Richmond that would enhance their performance in the field one day. This essay displayed the student’s passion for their chosen topic, interest in Richmond, and creativity, which is everything the admissions committee wants to see.

 

What Could Be Improved

 

While this essay starts off with a strong hook, it falls into the trap of a traditional school supplement and becomes a bit more generic towards the end. The essay conveys why this student wants to study computer science and makes it evident they would be a good fit for any computer science department, but the admissions officers reading it want to know why this student wants to study computer science at Richmond specifically. Although Richmond-specific resources were mentioned, they weren’t very unique.

 

The essay mentions the student is looking forward to taking “Introductory Econometrics”, however this is a fairly basic course offered at most colleges. The student should have found a more unique computer science class that interests them that they wouldn’t have been able to find at another university. Maybe they found a class at Richmond about the ethics of big data in medicine and they feel that this would allow them to approach their idea from a philosophical standpoint to understand the feasibility DNA pellets.

 

Another trap this student falls into is naming two professors they want to work with without explaining why. The student says Richmond “would allow me to work with mentors”, but gives no indication to what these professors study or what project the student wants to help out on. Maybe the student learned about the professors’ research in high school and wants to ask them questions about an experiment, or maybe they want hands-on experience from recognized professionals in a highly specific field. The student could have any connection to the professors, so long as they provide justification and don’t just name-drop them.

 

Finally, one other way the student could have improved this essay was by connecting it back to the job they proposed at the beginning. The last paragraph isn’t very engaging as is, and just mentions “a future-proof career” but misses an opportunity for the essay to come full-circle. Returning to the creativity introduced in the hook would have left the admissions officers thinking about this student’s creativity and imagination after they finished reading.

 

More Free Essay Resources

 

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

 

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.