Skip to content

Emory University Admissions Essay Samples

Emory University 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: Answer two of the four prompts. 150 words each.
Supplemental Essay Type: Oddball, Community

In addition to your Personal Statement, please choose two (2) of the short answer prompts below. Be thoughtful in your responses, but don’t stress about what the right answer might be. We just want to get to know you a bit better. Each response should be no more than 150 words.

1. What is your favorite fiction or non-fiction work (film, book, TV show, album, poem, or play)? Why?

Emory wants to know more about you and what interests you. This is an opportunity to show a part of yourself to admissions that they wouldn’t otherwise see on your application. Serve them some personality. When considering this prompt, think critically about what you’re trying to communicate to admissions. What will admissions infer from the selection itself? And how can you discuss your choice in a way that will reveal something interesting about you? Will your recent viewing of Dear Evan Hansen show how in tune you are with the impact of social media in the modern age? Did Stranger in a Strange Land stoke your curiosity about life on other planets? Make sure your response has more depth to it than, “the play was interesting,” or “I thought the book was funny.” Your answer should say something about your thought processes, interests, and passions.

2. What motivates you to learn?

It can be easy to look at this prompt and think, “What do you mean what motivates me? I have to go to school — it’s the law!” With that behind you, focus on your favorite subject or subjects that really stoke your curiosity. What homework assignments are you clamoring to complete first? Which topics make you want to open up a new book, google the definition of word you’re not familiar with or hit play on a podcast? Now consider what about the subject itself is inspiring your pursuit of knowledge. Are you driven by the mastery of cold, hard facts and the possibility of finding a definite answer? Maybe seeing the products of other people’s imaginations is more fascinating to you. Regardless of what floats your boat, Emory University is aiming to bring self-motivated, deep thinkers into their student body. Admissions officers want to know that you’ll be eager to contribute to lively class discussion and maybe conduct research in your latter years on campus. Show them that you’ll be a valuable addition to any classroom setting.

3. What will you miss the most about your current community when you leave for college?

This is a “community” essay, but with a twist. Most community-centric prompts ask you to describe a community you belong to and your place within that community. Emory’s prompt asks you to reflect on what, in your mind, is most valuable about a community you currently belong to. What are you going to miss about the interesting perspectives in your cross-cultural meetup? Or the friendly faces in your local ASPCA? While the prompt assumes that you will be “leaving” the community you describe, note that you can communicate to admissions that you’d like to contribute to a community of a similar nature on the Emory campus. Do some research and see if you can find a local chapter of the ASPCA that you can connect with. Emory is looking to see what you’ll enjoy in their community and how you will contribute to their campus based on your interests and level of commitment to activities and groups in the past.

4. In the age of social media, what does engaging with integrity look like for you?

We all heard about the students whose Harvard acceptance offers were rescinded when the Ivy League discovered their offensive and controversial memes within a private Facebook group. Emory wants to know they won’t have to worry about this happening to you. Beyond that, they are seeking individuals who have a depth of understanding about the current communications climate. Coming from a generation that is infamous for growing up with technology and social media at your fingertips, it may seem like a given that all students have thought carefully about the implications of their posts and snapchats, but that is clearly not the case. Have you ever encountered offensive material on social media, maybe cyberbullying or insensitive slurs? What effect did this behavior have on you and why is it important to you to maintain a thoughtful and responsible social media presence? Show Emory that you understand the impact of your footprint, digital or otherwise.

Upon first read, you might be confused as to why Emory asks this ambiguous prompt that not only demands an answer but also requires you to interpret the question. As we mentioned before, Emory is a leading research university that seeks to pioneer technological and social developments in this world. In an era in which society is changing more rapidly than ever before and norms for moral conduct are becoming more muddled, Emory University wants to ensure that its students are leaders in innovation with a concrete set of moral principles. This essay is your opportunity to discuss the ethics by which you live your life.


Let’s try to further simplify this prompt. The keywords here are: social media, engage, and integrity.


The meaning of the word integrity can be roughly divided into two aspects: wholeness, and moral principles. The first step to this prompt is defining what the word integrity means to you. How do you keep your moral principles “intact?” In other words, how do you ensure that you (and/or others) do not violate the code of moral conduct of which you value?


To get you started, consider the following questions:


  1. What kind of treatment of another person is unacceptable to you?
  2. How do you avoid treating other people like that in everyday life?
  3. What would would you do ( or do you do) if you witness a person treating another in such unacceptable way?
  4. Why do you find this behavior especially unacceptable?
  5. What kind of treatment of another person seems especially kind to you?
  6. Why do you think of this behavior as especially kind?


Once you have nailed down what integrity means to you by analyzing the answers to these considerations, explain how your code of moral conduct applies in the world of social media, where people with malicious intent can hide behind the veil of anonymity. Emory wants to see how you aspire to promote morality and honesty in a world where information is exchanged very rapidly, and matter-of-factly.


Also, while this prompt addresses a broader social issue, it asks that you discuss the topic in the context of you. So you must tie your essay back to your own sentiments, actions, and experiences in the digital world.


Be careful to not get too political or controversial with this topic. Ultimately, this is an admissions essay and the officers are more interested in hearing what integrity means to you, and how you propose to adhere to it in environments (social media) where it might be tempting to not follow such high moral standards.


Keep in mind that this essay, like the others, allows a maximum of 150 words. So, be sure to be concise and lucid in your response. 


We here at CollegeVine wish you good luck with your Emory University application!


Interested in application and essay help? Learn about our College Apps Program and Essay Editing Program.


Want us to quickly edit your college essay? Submit it to our Rapid Review Program, and we’ll get it back to you quickly with comments from our expert team. Best of luck with your application!