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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Brandeis University Supplemental Essay Prompt
Brandeis Universit y is a private research university located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Founded in 1948 with a mission to provide education to everyone, Brandeis has become a prominent liberal arts college. If this university is at the top of your list, keep reading to learn how you can best respond to the Brandeis supplemental essays!
A little history before we start…
Before you start on your Brandeis supplemental essays, it’s a good idea to get some background on how the school started. This way, you can make connections in your essays that connect you and Brandeis on a deeper level.
Founded by Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the first Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis University is steeped in history . Since opening their doors in 1948, Brandeis has accomplished a lot. In 1961, Brandeis achieved Phi Beta Kappa accreditation, a prestigious honors society that began in 1776. Only 10 percent of colleges or universities ever receive this accreditation. In addition, Brandeis is home to the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The Heller School was one of the first educational institutions to make a connection between social policy and social welfare.
The Brandeis prompts
Brandeis was established 75 years ago to address antisemitism, racism, and gender discrimination in higher education, and today, the university remains dedicated to its founding values of inclusivity and justice. How has your educational experience shaped your perspective on these values? (250 words max.)
This prompt is simple and straightforward, but it does ask you to think back through a lot of material. Your educational experience has been over a decade long by the time you graduate high school. So, let’s start simple with a quick inventory of your educational experience. Think about what schools you’ve attended, what years of school stick out the most to you, or about specific subjects or teachers you had that really shaped you.
Now, let’s take a closer look at which of those experiences may relate to the subject matter that Brandeis asks about in the prompt. Keep in mind that they’re asking to hear about an educational experience, which means that you can talk about something that happened inside the classroom, outside of it on a field trip, or through any other avenues that you have learned through.
The most important element to this prompt is that you take time to think about your answer. It’s easy to talk about how you studied slavery in history class and it was of course horrific to learn about, but that won’t tell the admissions committee much about you. Try to get personal and really dig in!
International students only prompt
What excites you the most about being an international student at Brandeis University? (250 words max.)
If you’re not an international student, then you don’t need to worry about answering this prompt. However, if you are an international student, this question is an important part of your application. You may want to roll your eyes about answering another prompt, but this can be a really great opportunity. You have not one, but two places where you can let the admissions department get to know you!
And because this prompt is there for them to get to know you, you don’t have to worry about answering this prompt wrong, because there is no right or wrong answer! So, certainly take your time thinking about this question, but don’t let it stress you out! Answer honestly and with a lot of excitement, as those things should certainly come through!
- No matter what the prompt is that you are responding to, give yourself plenty of time to write your essay and make edits
- Whether a prompt gives you 250 words or 500 words , make sure you understand what the prompt is asking before you begin writing
- Make sure that your answer is engaging, as admissions officers have to read a lot of essays, try to make yours stand out by pulling them in
- Once you’re done with your application for Vassar, don’t forget about completing applications for all the other schools you’re applying to
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How to Write the Brandeis Supplement 2023-2024
Brandeis is a medium-sized research university that ranks among the best large research universities in America, but with a community that feels more like a liberal arts college. Established in 1948 by the American Jewish community to welcome people of all backgrounds and faiths, the founding values that undergird Brandeis are rooted in Jewish history and experience. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, within screaming distance of Boston, Brandeis is home to 3,591 undergraduate students. The acceptance rate is 39% .
Students at Brandeis love that they can engage in graduate-level research while having a level of access to their professors that is normally reserved for small schools. To find students who will best take advantage of this opportunity, Brandeis looks for students who are enterprising, and who will take them up on everything the university has to offer. They want top-notch academics, yes (the average GPA of accepted students is 3.84), but also passion-driven extracurriculars and a really well-defined sense of self. The university is also test-optional, which means you can submit your SAT or ACT scores for consideration, but you don’t have to.
If you love the idea of a research university with liberal arts vibes, send us an email . We’re experts at helping students get into their best-fit colleges.
The Brandeis supplement has only one main question, with an additional one for international students (the second question below, as noted on the prompt).
Brandeis was established 75 years ago to address antisemitism, racism, and gender discrimination in higher education, and today, the university remains dedicated to its founding values of inclusivity and justice. How has your educational experience shaped your perspective on these values? (250 words max.)
We love this question, but it’s important to set some ground rules from the beginning. Stories of challenges are fair game as set forth by the first sentence of the prompt, which focuses on antisemitism, racism, and gender discrimination, but this isn’t a competition for who has faced the most hardship. If you try to build your answer to this supplement on a sob story, it’s not going to work out in your favor. It's not that Brandeis is callous and doesn’t care, but they want to see who you are, not simply what bad things have happened to you. Listing hardships doesn’t tell them much, if anything, about you.
Instead, start at the end. Take some time, maybe 20 or 30 minutes, to interrogate what your perspective on inclusivity and justice is before you begin writing. What do you care about related to these ideals? How have they come into play in your life? Have you ever felt like your inclusion has been challenged or at risk, or a sense of injustice? When, and why?
Once you have a few thoughts written down on what you care about related to inclusivity and justice, begin to work backwards from those ideas and experiences to reveal how you arrived at your current set of beliefs. Maybe what led you to where you are now was a teacher, a program, or a particular class you took. Maybe it was a challenge you faced that put you on the receiving end of discrimination — but, as we hope we’ve made clear — that isn’t the only route to answering this question and often isn’t the best one. Or maybe it is a time that you saw discrimination of some form in play in the world and didn’t feel like you could help in that moment. What did you do next?
Answer this prompt by telling a story that shows you wrestling with, discovering, or having to stick up for the values of inclusivity and justice that Brandeis holds so dear. Put the reader in the moment with you, and tell a story.
For International Students Only:
What excites you the most about being an international student at brandeis university (250 words max.).
Brandeis is a school that prioritizes a global experience and perspective, but they don’t rely solely on study abroad programs to deliver it. They bring the diversity of the planet to Waltham, Massachusetts, and 20% of the Brandeis student body is made up of international students from 58 different countries. The university highly values the international community on campus, and what they can uniquely bring to and gain from the Brandeis experience.
As you approach this prompt, ask yourself: why am I applying to Brandeis in particular, not simply because it is in the United States?
To best write this supplement, you’ll need to tell a story that illustrates the why of this, and that gives specific reasons you want to be at Brandeis. Include what you want to study, and why you can study it best at Brandeis, in your response. You should also look to the future: what do you want to do in life, and how is Brandeis uniquely positioned to help you get there? Be as specific as you can be.
Brandeis is a global community on a campus that prioritizes service and togetherness through a world-class educational and residential program. Founded in the ideals of equity and justice, Brandeis is welcoming, encouraging, and challenging in equal measures.
If Brandeis sounds like your dream school, send us an email . We help amazing students get into equally amazing universities.
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Your Brandeis journey starts here.
When it comes to evaluating applications, we balance attention to detail with a focus on the big picture. We'll consider both your academic performance and your life outside the classroom. We want to get a true feel for who you are — what matters to you, how you spend your time and how you engage with your family, your team, your workplace or your spiritual communities. These parts of your life tell us more than any test score or report card about the kind of person you are, and what you’ll bring to the Brandeis community.
We'd love for you to get to know what Brandeis is all about, and to join us for a visit . And we're here to answer your questions, whatever they might be.
The road to college is long and winding, but the right destination makes it all worthwhile. We can't wait to see you when you get here.
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Students applying to Brandeis must submit the Common Application . See our application process for more information.
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Brandeis University Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022
Not sure how to write Brandeis supplemental essays? CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Brandeis supplement essay will show you exactly how to write engaging Brandeis University supplemental essays and maximize your chances of admission. If you need help crafting your Brandeis University supplemental essays, create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
Brandeis Essay Guide Quick Facts:
- The Brandeis acceptance rate is 34%— U.S. News considers Brandeis a competitive school.
- The Brandeis ranking is #42 in U.S. News’ list of National Universities .
What is Brandeis ranked?
The Brandeis University ranking is #42 in U.S. News’ list of National Universities. The Brandeis University ranking is currently tied with Boston University , Case Western Reserve University , Tulane University , and the University of Wisconsin-Madison .
Other U.S. News Brandeis University rankings:
- The Brandeis University ranking is #31 in Best Undergraduate Teaching
- The Brandeis University ranking is #40 in Best Value Schools
What does the Brandeis University ranking mean? Well, U.S. News uses approximately 17 categories when ranking schools. These categories include everything from class size to average faculty salaries. To read more about their process, click here .
Don’t focus too much on the Brandeis University ranking. All of the U.S. News rankings are simply tools to help you learn more about different schools. You should never apply to a school solely based on their ranking or discount a school for that reason. Instead, use the Brandeis University ranking holistically.
For more information on how to use college rankings, check out our expert’s guide .
What is the acceptance rate at Brandeis?
The Brandeis acceptance rate is 34%. The Brandeis University ranking and Brandeis acceptance rate show that the school’s admissions process is competitive. Last year, over 10,000 students applied to Brandeis with an average GPA of 3.84 and an average SAT of 1350-1470. This means that strong grades and scores alone won’t necessarily earn you a Brandeis acceptance.
To present the strongest application possible, spend time refining your Brandeis essay. You’ll also want to keep in mind that the Brandeis University ranking is higher for some majors than others. This might influence how the Brandeis acceptance rate impacts your admissions odds.
However, you shouldn’t let the Brandeis acceptance rate discourage you. Many factors influence the Brandeis acceptance rate. Moreover, the Brandeis acceptance rate is out of your control. Rather than worrying about it, focus on the elements of your application that you can control, like your Brandeis supplement essay.
Want more information on how to use the Brandeis acceptance rate (and any other school’s acceptance rate) to build your school list? Check out our expert’s guide on acceptance rates .
Does Brandeis require essays?
Yes. In addition to the main essay prompt that you’ll encounter in the Common App or Coalition App , you’ll also complete one Brandeis supplement essay. Given the relatively high Brandeis University ranking and lower-than-average Brandeis acceptance rate, you should do all you can to make your essay stand out.
Need some help writing your Common App essay? Get great tips from our Common App essay guide .
How many essays does Brandeis require?
You must write one school-specific Brandeis supplement essay when you complete your application. There are no optional Brandeis supplemental essays. Your Brandeis essay should be 250 words maximum. While this isn’t long—it’s less than half the length of the Common App personal statement—you shouldn’t rush the drafting and editing process. Brandeis supplemental essays can cover a wide variety of topics; take advantage of this freedom. Successful Brandeis supplemental essays will combine the key elements of a “why major?” essay with those of a community-oriented essay.
However, there are some special circumstances for Brandeis supplemental essays. International students, students applying to the BA/MA Program in International Economics and Finance , and students applying to the Brandeis Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program will have to complete additional Brandeis supplemental essays. This guide will not address these additional Brandeis supplemental essays and will instead focus solely on the Brandeis supplement essay required for all applicants. However, many of the tips for completing the single Brandeis essay may be useful when completing the additional Brandeis supplemental essays.
How to write Brandeis Supplemental Essays
So, how should you approach the Brandeis essay?
The Brandeis admissions team will evaluate Brandeis supplemental essays for content as well as writing skill. This means it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. Strong Brandeis supplemental essays will use evocative, concise, and specific language to give the Brandeis admissions team insight into an applicant’s identity.
Even though your Brandeis supplement essay can only be 250 words, you may feel pressured to address many topics, experiences, or character traits. Don’t fall into this trap! You don’t need to describe your whole identity in your Brandeis essay. Instead, stay focused on one core topic. We’ll discuss how to approach the Brandeis essay prompt in more detail in the next section.
The most successful Brandeis University supplemental essays read like the applicant is telling a story in an interview—just in written format. This doesn’t mean that Brandeis University supplemental essays should use informal language. It just means your essay should tell a complete story. The ultimate goal for the Brandeis supplemental essays is to help Brandeis admissions get to know you.
How to Write Brandeis Supplemental Essays — Question 1
The Brandeis community is a diverse group of critical thinkers defined by their ability to dive deeper into their learning by questioning, analyzing, evaluating, creating, critiquing and seeking other perspectives. Share an example of how you have used your own critical thinking skills on a specific subject, project, idea or interest. (250 words max).
The Brandeis supplement essay prompt uses Brandeis’ key values to ask applicants to describe their own experiences. This prompt shows that the Brandeis admissions office wants to admit students with a demonstrated track record of questioning the status quo. Successful Brandeis supplemental essays will delve into a topic that questions established ideas or presents an alternative perspective.
Remember, the Brandeis University ranking is #42, and the Brandeis acceptance rate is just 34%. These statistics show that Brandeis is a competitive school—so don’t underestimate the importance of Brandeis University supplemental essays. A strong Brandeis essay can make a major difference in admissions!
Choosing a topic
With only 250 words, it’s important to choose a strong topic for your Brandeis supplement essay. To start, think about your application as a whole, including your Common App essay. What aspect of your identity could you highlight in your Brandeis essay that isn’t already clear from your application?
The most effective Brandeis supplemental essays will elaborate on a piece of your profile that you’ve only briefly mentioned or address a new part of your background. How can you represent your critical thinking skills in a way that contributes to the rest of your application? Who are you as a person and a student, and how can you highlight that in your Brandeis essay? Effective Brandeis University supplemental essays will show how you will contribute to the rich diversity of thought at Brandeis.
If you feel strongly about your major or intended career, you could discuss your career plans in your Brandeis supplemental essay. Your Brandeis supplemental essay can also show that you’ve done your research on Brandeis. Brandeis undergraduate students can choose from a selection of 44 majors and 51 minors . Brandeis also offers a multitude of research opportunities and study abroad options that you might mention in your Brandeis supplemental essay. However, don’t feel like you need to address “why Brandeis” in this essay. If it makes sense to include specific details about Brandeis, that’s great, but don’t feel pressured to do so. After all, you only have 250 words.
Think about how critical thinking informs your worldview. What topic really stretches your brain? What problems have you worked toward solving? Successful Brandeis supplemental essays will not solve the big questions in life. Rather, you should focus your Brandeis essay on relatively small-scale interactions, projects, and topics.
Drafting your essay
When writing the Brandeis University supplemental essays, aim for depth instead of breadth. Pick an impactful story—a one-on-one interaction, important moment, or even just a day in your life, and dig deep. The Brandeis admissions committee asks specifically for “an example” of when you used critical thinking, so be sure to answer this part of the prompt. The best Brandeis University supplemental essays will use one specific interaction to illustrate a key part of an applicant’s character.
Keep in mind that this Brandeis supplement essay prompt should address what you’ve done as well as what you’ve thought about. In your Brandeis supplement essay, highlight more than just the thinking part of critical thinking; also discuss the actions you have taken. Brandeis admissions wants to know how you have used your critical thinking skills to drive change.
One of the most important things to remember when writing the Brandeis supplement essay is to be personal. Though it might sound difficult, try to write an essay that no other applicant could write. After all, the best Brandeis University supplemental essays will be the most unique. Brandeis supplemental essays that include an authentic combination of your passions, background, and aptitude for your intended major will be most likely to stand out to the Brandeis admissions team.
Showcasing your personality
This Brandeis essay prompt is a bit quirky, but so is Brandeis. If it’s your style, use humor in your Brandeis supplement essay. However, don’t try to force being quirky, funny, or anything else. The best Brandeis supplemental essays will reveal your authentic personality and skills through your choice of topic and its execution. No matter what, don’t forget that your essay should show the Brandeis admissions committee who you are.
In addition to being specific and personal, strong Brandeis University supplemental essays will make it clear how your critical thinking skills made an impact. Your Brandeis essay should have clear stakes—this can often be viewed as the “so what?” of the essay. Why does the story you have told in your Brandeis essay ultimately matter? What does the reader learn about you? Use your essay to show the Brandeis admissions team that you belong at their school.
Brandeis does not expect you to continue with your activities, interests, or hobbies from high school. However, compelling Brandeis supplemental essays will feature the transferable skills that you have developed through your experiences. So, in your Brandeis essay, make sure you articulate the impact you made on your community.
Making your essay count
Part of Brandeis’ core mission is to change the world by empowering students to do great things. Brandeis University supplemental essays should incorporate this message. Use your Brandeis essay to show how you will be a valuable member of the community. Another place to look for inspiration for Brandeis supplemental essays is the University’s value propositions and framework for the future . This page can also help you learn more about the school before starting your Brandeis essay.
In this Brandeis supplement essay, it is important to use vivid language. From the opening sentence, hook the reader through an intriguing story or a descriptive anecdote. Then, dig into the details of your story; with only 250 words, it’s important to make every sentence count. The Brandeis admissions committee will read thousands of essays. You want your Brandeis essay to stand out.
In your Brandeis supplement essay, one of the most powerful and practical ways to keep your reader engaged is to “show” instead of “tell.” Let’s break down what this means: telling occurs when the writer states what happened or immediately jumps to the point. Showing occurs when the writer “paints a picture” for the reader by writing expressively, including examples and evocative details. Showing—rather than telling—will help make your Brandeis supplement essay engaging to read!
Brandeis Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does your Brandeis University supplemental essay topic fit the prompt?
- Do you focus on one example instead of many?
- Is your Brandeis essay both personal and specific?
- Does your response to the Brandeis essay prompt reveal the “so what?” of your topic?
- In your Brandeis supplement essay, do you show more than you tell?
How important are the Brandeis essays?
Since there is only one Brandeis supplemental essay, you may wonder how important Brandeis supplemental essays are to the Brandeis admissions team.
Brandeis admissions have changed their essay prompts from last year’s cycle. This year’s Brandeis supplemental essays have shifted away from the more traditional “why school?” essays. With this year’s Brandeis supplemental essays, the Brandeis admissions team has shifted towards a more open-ended and experience-based prompt.
Brandeis admissions puts intention behind the Brandeis supplement essay prompt. Though it may seem like one more box to check on the list of application requirements, make it your priority to polish your Brandeis essay. Ensure that your Brandeis essay is specific, personal, and actually answers the prompt.
In general, schools like Brandeis use demonstrated interest (DI) as a gauge to determine how interested a student is in attending their school. The top 50 U.S. News Brandeis University ranking and Brandeis acceptance rate create an aura of prestige around the school. Consequently, Brandeis admissions officers will weed out students who don’t demonstrate a strong “why” for attending Brandeis. This is especially true when looking at two or more students with similar test scores and GPAs. To learn more about DI and Brandeis admission officers may use it, check out this article in Forbes .
Additional Tips for Writing Your Brandeis Supplemental Essays
Be sure to leave yourself time to edit and revise your Brandeis supplemental essays! Brandeis admissions has two deadlines: Early Decision I on November 1, 2021, and Early Decision II and Regular Decision on January 1, 2022.
Before submitting, re-read your application and think about how every aspect of it will be perceived by the Brandeis admissions team. Make sure that your Brandeis supplement essay says something about you that the reader doesn’t learn in other parts of your application.
Want a behind-the-scenes look at how the Brandeis admissions team will review your Brandeis supplemental essays and application materials? Check out the video below to meet some of the people involved.
Brandeis Supplemental Essays — Final Thoughts
In your Brandeis supplement essay, show the Brandeis admissions department another side of who you are. Be unique and original, but also be genuine and honest. Research Brandeis to learn more about the University’s mission and culture before writing your Brandeis essay. There is no cookie-cutter Brandeis student, so highlight what makes you special. Good luck!
This 2021-2022 essay guide on Brandeis was written by Caroline Marapese , Notre Dame ‘20. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources, click here . Want help crafting your Brandeis University supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
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Brandeis University 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
Brandeis University 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations .
The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Oddball
Please include a short response to one of the three prompts below (250 words or fewer).
Why would you like to attend brandeis.
Similar to other why essay prompts, this is a straightforward question. It’s Brandeis’ Mariah Carey moment to ask, “Why you so obsessed with me?” We recommend doing some research before diving into this one. Arm yourself with examples not only of courses & professors that appeal to you, but also specifics about the local community and city–if that’s what strikes your fancy. Are you a midwestern kid with a hankering for lobster rolls? Does your family live close enough for Sunday dinners? What are the perks of living in the Boston area (besides reenacting your favorite scenes from Good Will Hunting )? Use this as a chance to share more of who you are by sharing what about Brandeis appeals to you.
Justice Brandeis once said, “If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” Tell us about something bold that you’ve recently done.
The admissions department at Brandeis wants to accept students who are not afraid to challenge the status quo or stand up for what they believe in. When have you been bold? You don’t have to be a women’s march organizer to impress admissions here. It can be just as bold to question your aunt on her views regarding controversial topics that are important to you or to utilize your creativity to draw informative comics breaking down complex issues for Instagram. If you’re feeling stuck, maybe start by thinking about the things that are most important to you. Next, think about what steps you’ve taken in your life to create change, inform, and/or organize. Ultimately, the key to writing an excellent response to this prompt is in the details. Don’t just tell admissions about something bold you’ve done recently; tell them why you did it and maybe even share how you would like to continue letting yourself be bold in the future.
There are approximately 171,476 words in the English dictionary. Pick your favorite word and tell us why you picked it.
This prompt is polarizing — odds are, you either love it or hate it. If this question immediately tickles your fancy and you have an idea for the word you’d like to highlight, go for it! If you look at this prompt and feel totally stuck, but still want to try answering it, try this trick: What might you tell admissions about yourself that they haven’t already heard about in your Common App essay? Is there something in your background and experience worth expanding upon? Once you’ve identified what you want to discuss, think about what words might be helpful launch points for describing that experience and back into your “favorite word.” You heard us: write first and think of the word after! This is also a great strategy for choosing a word that is slightly less expected than those submitted by the average applicant.
*For international students only
Brandeis attracts students from many corners of the world. As an international student at Brandeis, how would you enrich the campus community? (250 words or fewer)
Dang! Brandeis is really making its international applicants WERK! Well, here’s a quick tip: this question may seem like it’s asking about the difference between you and the domestic applicants, but it’s actually in your best interest to think about what distinguishes you from any other international student! What do you bring to campus that no one else can? What have you learned from your life experiences? And there’s one last twist to this application: in order to explain how you would “enrich the campus community,” you should probably know a thing or two about that campus community. So spend a little time on the Brandeis website to get a feel for the school, the students, and the surrounding community. How is the culture different from your own? (Your differences are your strengths!) Where might the two intersect? And how might that point of intersection create an opportunity for mutual learning? For more information about acing the international essay, check out this video we made just for you!
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How Do I Write Brandeis’ (Optional) Supplemental Essay?
Written by Elizabeth Heaton on November 21st, 2017
- essay prompts ,
- writing college essays ,
- Is Brandeis a reach school for you? If so, seize this opportunity to share more about yourself with the admissions office. For you, this essay is not optional.
- Is Brandeis a match school for you, one where you look a lot like the average accepted applicant? With an acceptance rate of 33 percent, Brandeis is still turning away far more students than they are admitting. Making a case for the fit between you and the college can be a major factor in whether or not you make the cut. For you, this essay is not optional.
- Is Brandeis a safety school for you? Brandeis is eager to admit students who they believe will attend. Let them know you are truly interested by doing the additional writing. For you, this essay is not optional.
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