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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 UniversityCase Western Reserve UniversityTulane 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.