University Of Rochester Admissions Essay Personal Statement

The New Year is almost here, with many of your college application deadlines following close behind (rememberRochester’s is January 5)! After hammering out your final drafts of your personal statement, some of you might notice when you arrive at the Rochester specific writing supplement that it is a bit different from past years. We are excited this year to give you the option to build your own supplement and express yourself the way you would like, similar to how each Rochester student shapes their curriculum and experience based on individual interests.

However, as with every change, we have been getting a lot of questions regarding how you should submit your supplement materials and what you are and are not allowed to submit. Here are some quick pointers and suggestions based on questions we have encountered so far:

  • Understand the three options. No matter which one you pick, do not be afraid to be creative and let your personality shine through! We do not have a preference for any one option over the others. Some students are comfortable with the more traditional short essay response. Other students have done research they would like to share with us or have an idea of research they would like to start or continue at Rochester – the research abstract option is a great option for these students. Finally, for the musicians, poets, artists, performers, film directors, and all the other creative souls out there, show us what you love to do with the creative supplement.
  • Do not forget the instructions. The directions ask you to choose the option which “best illustrates your interest in attending the University of Rochester and will best highlight your individual talents and interests.” Remember to briefly tie your ideas and materials back to your interest in Rochester. If your attached material is, for example, purely an art sample or research abstract, then take advantage of the space on the Common Application or Universal College Application to address this part of the directions. Of course, you are also welcome to address your interest in Rochester in the creative/research supplement itself.
  • Submitting supplementary materials is easy! If you have additional material for your supplement, then quickly mention it in your writing supplement section of the application. Then, if your supplement is mainly text based, such as a research abstract or piece of creative writing, you may simply upload it as a PDF via your MyROC as “Additional Information.” The same thing can be done for art supplements or graphicsafter converting them to PDF format, upload them via MyROC. For recordings, videos, or larger art portfolios or similar collections of material, the best way to have your admissions counselor see it is to include the link(s) in the writing supplement section, or upload a list of links if necessary as additional information.
  • Are there length/time limits for supplementary materials? We want to give you the chance to fully express yourself, but we may not be able to watch a full hour-long video or read through a 50-page research paper. For creative supplements, pick highlights that are most illustrative if you have a lot of material or recording. For research supplements, we ask for an abstract, which simply means a summary of a research project you have done or might like to do. Abstracts highlight a question or problem to be addressed, how to address or explore the question, and what type of outcomes were obtained or are expected.

Hopefully this helps as you begin your Rochester supplement or finalize the details on it. Regardless of which option you choose, remember to be yourself and to be creative! There is no perfect supplement response and no two will be exactly alike. Good luck and have fun!

Relate Specific Examples to Rochester

At the same time, you also need to tie your activism back to the University of Rochester. Check out the university website, and find a program, research opportunity, club, or course that is aligned with what you’ve already been doing to change the world. Explain how you’d take advantage of the resources available at Rochester to continue your quest to improve not only your home community, but the university’s community as well.


For instance, if you were very involved with a science research program back in high school, and were developing a device to easily desalinate water for third-world nations, you could explain how excited you are to conduct further research in the department of chemical engineering at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


If you were volunteering for a local campaign during high school, you could write about how you found the syllabus for PSC 237: U.S. Policymaking Process particularly exciting. The more you look into the opportunities available at Rochester, the stronger your essay will be!


Or, Align Your Personality with Rochester’s Student Body

Alternatively, another great tactic to use in constructing your essay is to try to connect your own personality to that of the Rochester student body. You want the reader to feel like you belong at Rochester, and that your unique personality would be an asset to the university community.


Explain how your upstart, persistent, and hardworking mentality would fit in with what you’ve learned about Rochester through the application process. Don’t worry as much about specifics to the school if using this tactic — the goal is to make the admissions committee believe that you belong, and descriptive, powerful language can certainly accomplish it!


The Bottom Line

Hopefully our analysis of the supplemental essay prompt has helped you to fine-tune your plans for your University of Rochester application!


Interested in more personal 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, and GO YELLOWJACKETS!

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