3 University of Washington Essay Examples by Accepted Students


The University of Washington is a selective school, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to the University of Washington. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


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


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Example 1


Prompt: Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the University of Washington (300 words).


The first time I looked up the term cripplepunk I was in ninth grade, almost bedbound with severe hip pain. It took half a second for the page to load, and another half a second for me to process what I was seeing. There before me, against the muted grey of my phone’s dark mode, is the community I thought I would never have. I could have scrolled for hours, absorbing the images of models in powerchairs wearing ornate gowns, snarky patches on guide dog vests, and decorated canes. I kept coming back to the page, enchanted with the movement. Although the term cripplepunk wasn’t used until 2014, the spirit of the movement is present in most disabled people, from Frida Kahlo to the participants in the Capitol Crawl. The cripplepunk movement is intentionally subversive, fighting against the ableism and pity that disabled people encounter at every turn. Cripplepunks take a “so what if I am?” approach to ableism, refusing to be ashamed of symptoms, accommodations, or mobility aids. It’s a diverse movement too, where a 60-something veteran dealing with decades-old injuries can guide me through the process of buying and decorating my first cane. In cripplepunk circles, a deafblind Black woman can teach the world that disabled people can have dreams for their futures. The cripplepunk movement is a movement where I can offer sympathy, advice, and support to the same people who helped me through otherwise isolating moments and new cripples alike. That work doesn’t just happen online though. My work as a cripplepunk happens everywhere, classrooms and grocery stores alike, by being visibly and unashamedly disabled, vocally confronting ableists, and campaigning for greater accessibility.


Example 2


Prompt: Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the University of Washington (300 words).


In my youth, I found solace in communities of my peers who shared portions of my identity; from speaking the same second languages to sharing similar tastes, I was quick to bond with those I was similar to. 


When I moved to Oregon, I found myself miles away from these connections. My fragmented identity found little to attach to my peers. Inkling connections uprooted as I attended three different middle schools throughout my years. “Community” felt like a bubble I was floating upon, inherently a part of yet never fully immersed. 


At the end of math class towards the middle of eighth grade, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A tall girl with glasses and a tooth gap stood behind.


“Do you want to sit with us at lunch today?”


Stemming from this small invitation, I found myself part of a community of peers with whom I never thought I could relate. Our interests diverged and collided in all regards; we were of different gender identities, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds. While I was the only person of color in our friend group, I cherished the different experiences we brought to the table. I recounted my struggles accepting my culture while I heard the stories of my friends who were dealing with gender dysphoria. 


In the following years, I wholeheartedly applied this multifaceted outlook to my sense of community. I engaged with peers both different and similar to me; I found community at Indian festivals with my fellow South Asian peers and community with my closest friends with whom I can form strong emotional connections, despite our dissimilar backgrounds. 


This ever-growing sense of community has helped me thrive and will better help me engage within the student body at the University of Washington


Example 3


Prompt: Consider two very different subjects you have previously studied; tell us how you imagine bringing those together at UW to engage with a pressing societal concern. This could be a local, national, or global concern.


In my youth, my mother helped instill a curiosity about the natural world in me. Her work in consulting regarding climate change and environmental systems made me question my direct and indirect impact. I delved into these interests further in high school by taking broad coursework in the sciences. In AP Biology, I was baffled by the reactions and transformation that occurred with simple manipulation. In AP Environmental Science, I was able to apply these biological processes to environmental concepts I noticed on the daily.


In my junior year, I took AP Economics, a class on the polar opposite spectrum from biological and environmental sciences. However, while studying economics, I was able to establish connections between economic and environmental concepts. My father, who has a grounded education in economics, helped me understand the links between these seemingly disparate subjects. The subjects were foundationally interlinked; simple ideas coincided, such as the tragedy of the commons and its relation to marginal analysis. 


As I noticed these intersectional ties, I saw that addressing the impending climate crisis through an economic lens was necessary for implementable, impactful change. There were opportunities for the government to impact climate action— these included economic incentives and regulations to influence the market price, changing producer and consumer behavior to be environmentally friendly. These policies helped protect the welfare of not only the environment but also of individuals who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. 


My interest in communication studies links to this; I hope to thoroughly understand these subjects in an interdisciplinary context to provide the means for others to do the same.


 At UW, particularly in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, I hope to conjoin my interests in economic policy, science, and communications to gain the leverage and sound academic foundation necessary to address these concerns.


More Free Essay Resources


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


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!



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