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2020 Freshman writing section

At the UW, we consider the college essay as our opportunity to see the person behind the transcripts and the numbers. Some of the best statements are written as personal stories. In general, concise, straightforward writing is best and good essays are often 300-400 words in length.

Essay prompt [required]

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Maximum length: 500 words

Short response [required]

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 UW.

Maximum length: 300 words

TipKeep in mind that the UW strives to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, values and viewpoints.

Additional information about yourself or your circumstances [optional]

You are not required to write anything in this section, but you may include additional information if something has particular significance to you. For example, you may use this space if:

  • You have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education
  • Your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations
  • You have experienced unusual limitations or opportunities unique to the schools you attended

Maximum length: 200 words

Additional space [optional]

You may use this space if you need to further explain or clarify answers you have given elsewhere in this application, or if you wish to share information that may assist the Office of Admissions. If appropriate, include the application question number to which your comment(s) refer.

Format for the essays

  • Content is important, but spelling, grammar and punctuation are also considered.
  • We recommend composing in advance, then copying and pasting into the application. Double-spacing, italics and other formatting will be lost, but this will not affect the evaluation of your application.
  • We’ve observed most students write a polished formal essay, yet submit a more casual short response. Give every part of the writing responses your best effort, presenting yourself in standard, formal English.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

TipWrite like it matters, not like you’re texting. This is an application for college, not a message to your friend.