Carolina colleges’ essay prompts are out


The essay spigot has officially been turned “ON.” What was a trickle a month or so ago has recently turned into a flood of college essay prompts being released.

Here are this year’s essay prompts from some North Carolina and South Carolina colleges and universities.


Appalachian State University

A personal statement gives us the ability to get to know you beyond your grades and test scores. Responses are an important factor in distinguishing admissible candidates within the applicant pool. Please describe why you are interested in attending Appalachian State University. 250 words max.



  1. Why Davidson? 250-300 suggested word limit
  2. List the books you have read in the past year for school or leisure. Place an asterisk by those books required for classes you have taken
  3. Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. 200 words max.

If you would like to submit your resume (optional), please do so here.


  1. If you would like the opportunity, we invite you to share more about your sexual orientation either below or in the Duke optional essay. 250 words max.
  2. If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? 150 words max.
  3. Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background, we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. This essay is optional. 250 words max.


If there is anything about your background or personal experience that you feel would be helpful for the Admissions Committee to know as we evaluate your application, please write an optional personal statement below (no more than one page, please). This should not be an additional essay as it will not be evaluated as such.  1000 words max.

Please select which of the following three essay prompts you prefer to complete: 500 words max.

  1. College applications are often about listing achievements. We want to know what matters about you that doesn’t fit into a simple list or a box on this application. What counts in your life that’s not necessarily an obvious, quantifiable accomplishment?
  2. “Nature vs. Nurture” is one of the most debated arguments in history. Reflect on your identity and describe how concepts described in the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate have influenced who you are today.
  3. Social media provides immediate access to a wealth of news, ideas, and opinions. Given all of the information you consume, tell us one particular issue you really care about and why. How do you see yourself as an agent for change?

Here are the additional questions for Elon:

Think Fast: The Admissions Committee enjoys getting to know Elon applicants. Please answer the following statements in no more than two sentences:

  1. What is number one on your bucket list?
  2. If you could be on television, what show would you choose?
  3. If you could create a food truck, what type of food would you serve? Name the truck.


High Point

  1. Why do you want to attend High Point University? 50 words max.
  2. Describe any special interests or hobbies that you may have. 50 words max.
  3. Describe any meaningful travel experiences (both national and international). 50 words max.


North Carolina State University

  1. Discuss your reasons for pursuing the Major/Academic Programs selected above? 250 words max. This essay is required.
  2. Discuss any obstacles and/or hardships you have encountered and how you dealt with them. 250 words max. This essay is optional.
  3. NC State is a community that is strong because of the diversity of our perspectives and experiences. Please describe how you could contribute to or benefit from campus diversity. 250 words max. This essay is optional.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carolina’s supplement will provide you with four prompts, and you will choose two. Each response will be limited to 200-250 words.

  1. Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.
  2. What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
  3. What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want us to know?
  4. What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

All writing is carefully reviewed by the Admission Committee for content, clarity, mechanics and effort. Responses are an important factor in distinguishing admissible candidates within the applicant pool. Please respond to the following prompt thoughtfully.

Please describe why you are interested in attending UNC Wilmington. Your response should be approximately 250 words max.


Wake Forest

  1. How did you become interested in Wake Forest University and why are you applying? 150 words or less
  2. List five books you have read that piqued your curiosity.
  3. Discuss the work of fiction you have read which has helped you most to understand the complexity of the world. (100 – 300 words)
  4. While divisions in American politics suggests that the art of persuasion has lost value, dialogue and debate help define the Wake Forest community. On what issue do you wish to persuade others? What is your argument? (75-150 words)
  5. 59% of Wake Forest’s Class of 2017 received academic credit for faculty-directed research across academic disciplines. Describe a specific high school assignment that sparked an academic curiosity you hope to explore further in college. (75-150 words)
  6. What have you learned about yourself from engaging with someone different with you? (75-150 words)
  7. Give us your top ten list. First, please provide a theme
  8. You have a popular podcast. What’s the title?



  1. Candidate’s Comments: Optional.

Write a brief few paragraphs or short essay in the provided text field. Focus your remarks on any points you believe to be important in the evaluation of your application, including your academic background, other achievements, educational objectives or career goals. If you are an international student, briefly describe your educational objectives in the United States and your reasons for choosing Clemson University. 2 paragraphs max.

  1. Please list any additional information or comments that you wish to include that is not already listed or answered in your profile or on the application. 2000 characters max.


College of Charleston

The admissions committee places emphasis on your ability to write effectively and think creatively. Therefore, we require all applicants to write an essay.

Please choose from the three topics listed below, crafting an essay between 250 and 750 words. Respond to one of these three essay prompts:

Option 1: Choose your own topic. Use an academic writing sample that highlights creativity and innovation, or provide a response to a universal essay topic.

Option 2: The College of Charleston community is a family. We foster a culture of inclusion and celebrate diversity. Explain a situation in which you helped an outsider feel welcome.

Option 3: To “Know Thyself” is what the College of Charleston experience is all about. At the College, you’ll receive an exceptional education in a modern, complex city. In this ever-changing environment, every opportunity will be available to you. How will you evolve? What will you discover about yourself that you’ll eventually share with the world?

Note: If you are applying to the Honors College, you will have to submit an additional essay.


  1. As a first-year student at Furman, you will be surrounded by smart, driven, talented peers who may have similar interests and goals as you. How will you use your time at Furman in a way that is authentic and beneficial to your life after graduation? 350 words max.

University of South Carolina-Columbia

Tell us something that you have not already told us in this application that will help us to better understand your potential for academic success as a college student. Approximately 250 words, 2,000 characters max.


  1. Why are you interested in Wofford College? 250 words max.


Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions