emory essays that worked

Emory Essays that Worked

Are you wondering how to get into Emory University? As a sought-after college for many students, applicants interested in Emory must pay great attention to each application requirement. Therefore, the Emory essays are critically important. This guide will give you examples of Emory essays that worked and other resources for writing effective Emory supplemental essay examples. 

Before we review our Emory supplemental essay examples, let’s learn a little bit more about the institution that is often referred to as one of the “Ivies of the South”.

Emory Admission Statistics

First, Emory University is a private research University in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top universities and currently ranks #22, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Emory rankings are so impressive that last year Emory Admissions received over 30,000 applications. The Emory acceptance rate was also just 11%, which places it amongst the most selective institutions in the nation. 

However, don’t let the Emory rankings and Emory acceptance rate intimidate you. Writing Emory essays that work isn’t an impossible task. And you’ll likely feel especially prepared after reading our tips on how to approach your Emory supplemental essays.

We’ll learn more about how to get into Emory by seeing a few Emory essays that worked. In this guide, we will review several Emory supplemental essay examples and discuss why they were successful. So, you can use our Emory supplemental essay examples to develop your own unique supplemental essay!

Emory Supplemental Essay Requirements 

All students applying to Emory University are required to submit a Personal Statement through the Common Application. Each year the Common Application releases its essay prompts on August 1st. This gives you plenty of time to review the prompts and begin choosing the question that interests you most. The Common Application personal essay range is 250-650 words. The personal statement is an essay that will be submitted to all the colleges you are applying to. 

In addition to the Common Application Personal Essay, Emory Admissions uses Emory supplemental essays to learn more about applicants. Later, we’ll review several Emory essay examples, to give you a better idea of what Emory essays that worked look like. 

Exploring Emory Essay Prompts

As we’ve mentioned, there are two short answer essays: the “Academic Interest” essay and the “Getting to Know You” essay. The short answer essay on academic interest should be no more than 200 words. On the other hand, the Getting to Know You short answer essay should be no more than 150 words. 

Emory University Essay Prompts

#1- Why Major Essay (200 words)

  • #1- What academic interest are you planning to explore in college?

# Getting to Know You Essay (150 words)

  • Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
  • When was the last time you questioned something, you had thought to be true?
  • If you could witness a historic event (past, present, or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?
  • Share about a time when you were awestruck.
  • Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?

Check the essay prompts each year

The Emory supplemental essays can change from year to year. That said, these Emory essays that worked will serve as strong writing examples across the admissions cycles. Any changes to short answer supplemental essays are typically announced on the Emory admissions blog. So, keep an eye on that as you prepare for your Emory application. 

In this guide, we will discuss some of the Emory essays that worked in previous admissions cycles. While the short answer prompts may change, you can still use Emory essay examples from any application cycle to help you write your own essays. 

Emory supplemental Essay Examples: Getting to Know You 

emory essays that worked

For the “Getting to Know You” essay, past applicants have had several topics to choose from. These, include the Emory roommate essay, Emory supplemental essays about personally influential books and films, or essays about their values and beliefs. In each of these Emory essay examples, the goal is for the applicant to talk about themselves. Sometimes this can feel uncomfortable, but the Getting to Know You essay is exactly what the title implies. This is an opportunity for the Emory admissions committee to better understand you as a person. Notice how introspective each of the Emory essays that worked are.

Holistic review

The Emory admissions committee takes a holistic approach when reviewing your Emory application. This means you are far more than your GPA, standardized test scores, or the number of AP courses you completed. The Emory admissions committee is also interested in your background and culture. They care about your passions outside of the classroom, and how you interact with your community. The Getting to Know You supplemental essay allows the Emory admissions committee to better envision you on their campus. Through this essay, they should be able to imagine you thriving and making an impact at their institution. 

Emory Essay Examples — Films, Books, and You 

You’re in luck, we have a few Getting to Know You Emory essays that worked to analyze in this guide. Each of these sample college essays can be used to better approach your supplemental essays. Remember, these Emory essay examples can be used as a general guide, but it is up to you to make your essay uniquely yours. Below is the first of our Emory supplemental essay examples. It responds to the following prompt:

What is your favorite fiction or non-fiction work (film, book, TV show, album, poem, or play)? Why? (150 words)

Emory Essays that Worked #1

Watching Jane the Virgin, a telenovela, I became transfixed with the life of Jane Villanueva, the main character on the show. I enjoy watching the show because I am able to relate to Jane who successfully gets through newfound challenges and surprises in her life (i.e. giving birth to a child through artificial insemination, though she was a virgin) because of her undeterred religious faith. Her determination, persistence, and perseverance through obstacles that appeared out of nowhere inspire me, particularly in how she handled these difficult situations with her humor, bravery, and trust in others. Though becoming a writer was a huge risk for her, she still took it and ended up being prosperous. Jane’s drive for exploring her passions by following her writing aspirations also struck a chord with me as I also am eager to discover concepts unknown to me, and investigate them further.

Why this Emory essay example worked

In this sample college essay, the author uses the modern telenovela, Jane the Virgin, to answer the Getting to Know You prompt. Instead of simply describing the television show, the author spends the bulk of this college essay example discussing how they relate to the character. The author quickly tells you what the television show is about and then moves on to how they relate to the show. 

The author draws parallels between their personality, passions, and academic interests. While the author does not state outright that they want to become an author like Jane, they discuss being eager to discover new concepts. The author applauds Jane’s risk-taking and notes her ability to withstand adversity. Even though most of this short answer essay revolves around Jane, we are consistently reminded of the traits that the writer and Jane have in common.

The author of the first installment of Emory essays that worked shows they have spent time in self-reflection and carefully thought through this prompt. This prompt gives the author a large amount of freedom in what to write. This allows applicants to write about a topic that they are truly passionate about.

Similar Emory essay examples

As we mentioned, the Emory essay prompts change from year to year. Let’s look at some more Emory essay examples written in response to past prompts. The second of our Emory essay examples responds to a similar prompt as the first, but the prompt’s wording is slightly different:

Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?

Emory Essays that Worked #2

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco was the first book I ever loved. It’s the story of a little girl, terrified of thunderstorms, who goes outside in the rain to collect milk, eggs and bakes a cake. “A precarious yet bold refusal of common sense,” Ocean Vuong (one of my favorite authors today) called it.

There was something about the concept of standing at the cusp of danger and continuing to bake that spoke to me – and it’s become strangely encapsulating of me and my activism. 

After all, for every campaign, for every protest, for every ounce of good I do, I am met with a storm of dissenters: voices, bodies, aggressive posters and tweets. It’s discouraging, and sometimes it’s frightening. Sometimes, it seems like it would be much easier to sit at home, silent – to hide under my bed from the lightning. 

But the thing about Thunder Cake is that it was never about the absence of fear – yes, it can be scary, but that doesn’t mean that I stop fighting. It doesn’t mean that I give up. In spite of the downpour, I gather the eggs and the milk – and I make change.

Why this essay worked

Like the first of our Emory essays, this essay uses a work of fiction to highlight a key part of the author’s identity. While the writer summarizes the book they’ve chosen, they spend most of their essay describing how this book relates to their values and goals. 

In reading this essay, we get a clear sense of the writer’s courageous mindset and community-focused spirit. We learn that they are an activist who hopes to make the world a better place. This essay, therefore, allows us to clearly picture this writer making a change on Emory’s campus. 

This essay also hints at the writer’s development. In stating that Thunder Cake was “the first book [they] ever loved,” the writer positions this book within their own growth. Additionally, by incorporating Ocean Vuong into their response, they draw a line between their first literary love and the works of literature that have since helped them grow. In just a few paragraphs, this essay gives us a clear sense of who this writer is and how their chosen work of fiction connects to who they’d be on Emory’s campus. 

Emory Essay Examples — Learning & Growing

emory supplemental essay examples

Below is the next of our Emory supplemental essay examples. In this sample college essay, the writer tackles the prompt:

What motivates you to learn?

Emory Supplemental Essay Examples #3

From a young age, I’ve always had a thirst for information and an uncontrollable sense of curiosity. While others would shy away from asking questions in front of the entire class, I would eagerly raise my hand whenever I didn’t understand a topic or wanted to learn more information about it. This arose from the fact that I needed to temporarily quench my desire to find out what was unknown to me. My inclination for exploring the unknown/unlearned drives my love and yearning for learning. I’ve always felt that despite what I have learned from my parents, teachers, and other influential individuals around me, there is almost an incomprehensible amount of knowledge I’ve never been exposed to, and won’t be exposed to, unless I seek it out for myself. For me, learning has never been about just getting the “good grade”; it entails creating the outline for the future.

What worked well?

This prompt gives the Emory admissions team insight into what motivates and drives students. You will notice that the author quickly shares what motivates them to learn and then spends the bulk of the essay describing why curiosity became such a motivating factor to learn. 

This author displays their commitment to lifelong learning. The author notes that learning means more than “just getting the good grade.” We can assume that this student also has strong grades, but they make a point to describe their quest for learning beyond the classroom. While the author doesn’t explicitly mention Emory University’s curriculum, this learning philosophy is a nod to a liberal arts curriculum. As a liberal arts college, Emory encourages students to explore a broad variety of disciplines and concepts that will allow them to be more dynamic and well-informed no matter their major of choice

More Emory Essay Examples

Let’s look at another Emory essay example. This one answers the prompt below. However, you might notice that this prompt looks quite similar to one of the current Emory essay prompts.

Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.

Emory Essay Example #4

When I had to analyze Kazimir’s Black Square artwork in middle school, I was annoyed. How could someone paint a black square, declare it art, and then call it a day? My dislike for Kazimir’s style, however, evaporated when I learned about how Kazimir was able to use his artwork to completely revitalize people’s definition of “art”. I had an epiphany: the Black Square was more than just… well, a black square. It was a revolutionary tool used to create an entirely new form of art and push people to be open-minded. From Kazimir, I learned that any idea or concept is not static and can be expanded and changed; it’s imperative to not reject any ideas that are different from my own to expand my own understanding of a concept. It’s safe to say that my 12-year-old self was wrong: black squares can be art too.

Why this essay response worked

This Emory essay example highlights a key time when the writer changed their mind. It cites their initial frustration with the concept of a “black square” as art. Then, it discusses how, when the writer learned more, they began to understand the world—and art—in a new way.

In reading this sample Emory essay, we can picture the writer engaging in intellectual discourse around art on Emory’s campus. We also can see how their curiosity, flexibility, and thoughtfulness shine through. 

Additionally, this essay thrives on its specificity. It centers around a seemingly low-stakes anecdote. However, it uses this anecdote to reveal how the writer thinks about the world around them. In doing so, it successfully enriches the writer’s Emory application. 

Emory Roommate Essay Example

Here is our last short answer essay in the Emory supplemental essay examples series. The Emory roommate essay is a fun and informal way to show your personality and how you might interact with your peers on campus. The Emory roommate essay can feel difficult to approach since it is such a creative essay prompt. However, that’s part of the beauty of it. Not all college essay prompts have to be stuffy and over formal. As you read this essay, think about why this Emory roommate essay worked.

Emory Essay Example #5

Dear Future Roommate,

I would say that I’m a pretty accommodating person. As long as you don’t play country music without your earbuds, I know that we are going to have a great time! In my free time, you will find me at club meetings or my bed, staying up late watching history YouTube videos. I enjoy history so much that, in fact, I have a whole arsenal of history jokes. For example, why was WWII so slow? Because they were Stalin!

Aside from the cheesy jokes, I also love conversations. No matter the place or situation, I can never back away from having a conversation. Rather than passively listening, I will actively engage with what you have to say. Whether you need help coming up with a project idea or someone to talk to, I can’t wait to listen to all the stories you have to share.

Why did this essay work?

In this Emory roommate essay, the author does an amazing job of displaying their interests while also including some humor. When crafting an essay with a comical slant, it is always important to make sure you are using an appropriate tone. In this Emory roommate essay, the writer does an excellent job of balancing the tone in the concluding paragraph. The writer acknowledges the humor used and reassures the reader that they would also be a compassionate and helpful roommate. 

Looking for an additional sample college essay to help tackle the Emory roommate essay? The Stanford roommate essay asks a very similar question to the Emory roommate essay. Check out this guide to read a Stanford roommate essay that worked. In this sample college essay, you will notice this applicant takes a different approach than the author’s tone in the Emory roommate essay sample. 

How to use these Emory Essay Examples to write your Emory Supplemental Essays?

emory supplemental essay examples

Now that you have read several Emory essays that worked, it’s time to put your newfound insight to work and begin writing your own Emory supplemental essays. Here are some ways that you can use the Emory supplemental essay examples and Emory essays that worked to approach your own Emory supplemental essays:

Tips for Using these Emory Essay Examples

#1- Study the tone of the Emory essay examples to make sure your own essay is neither too formal nor too informal.

#2- Refer to the Emory roommate essay for ways to inject humor and levity into your own writing. 

#3- Note how introspective each of the Emory essays that worked is. If you notice yourself writing too much about someone else, you are beginning to get off track.

#4- Do your research on Emory University and use the Emory supplemental essay examples as an opportunity to inject what you’ve learned into your essay. 

#5- Notice how different each of the Emory essays that worked is. Follow the Emory supplemental essay examples to get started, but don’t forget to honor your creativity and unique perspective in your writing. 

Common successes

One element that all the Emory essays that worked have in common is that the authors seize the opportunity for the reader to better understand them through their writing. All the Emory supplemental essay examples in this guide capitalize on the opportunity to expand on details already present in their Emory application.

Think of supplemental essays as an opportunity instead of another task you must complete for your college application. If done correctly, you can use the short answer supplemental essays to expand on details you are most proud of in your overall admissions application. Each of the Emory essays that worked gives the admissions committee more details than what is presented on the Common Application alone. 

Emory’s Why Major Essay 

emory supplemental essay examples

In this guide, we’ve focused on the “Getting to Know You” essays rather than Emory’s Why Major essay also known as the Academic Interest essay. However, you’ll notice that Emory’s prompt for this essay is much like that of other schools. 

For some sample college essays to help you craft your “Why Major” essay, check out our guide on college essay examples. The “Why Major” is a very common essay prompt across college applications. So, you may find that you are writing more than one Why Major essay for each of your different schools.

Admissions cares about your academic interests

Emory supplemental essays are designed to give the admissions committee additional insight about an applicant. The low Emory acceptance rate makes these essays a crucial part of any successful application. Emory rankings and Emory acceptance rates are influenced by their prestigious academic offerings. Knowing a student’s major, and why they’re interested in that major, is of great interest to the Emory admissions committee. Students will have an opportunity to state their intended major on the Emory application, but the Emory supplemental essays give you an opportunity to expand on these interests. 

For this prompt, it is important to do some self-reflection and also some research on the Emory admissions site. Many students decide on majors but have never truly thought to themselves, “Why this major?” By taking some time to reflect, you may uncover motivations you hadn’t thought of before. Was there a particular teacher who sparked your interest in biology? Did your mother take you to work with her one day and show you how an architecture firm functions? Did you discover your passion for women’s literature through the women’s writing organization at your high school?

Tell your story

These are all examples of scenarios that may have piqued your interest in your intended majors. If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry; not everyone has an Earth-shattering story about why they want to major in history. Maybe there were a series of small moments throughout your childhood and adolescence that drew you to your major. The Emory essays that worked are interesting, but more importantly, they are authentic. 

There are also plenty of students who might be somewhat undecided about their academic major. Fear not, you can still write an amazing “Why Major” essay without knowing what your major is. Instead, focus on your general academic interest. What is your favorite subject in school? Is there a particular school project that sparked your intellectual interest? Don’t try to pretend you have decided about your academic major if you’re really still unsure. It’s perfectly fine to walk through your academic interest and state that you are still deciding what major in college would best suit you. 

Emory Supplemental Essay Guides & Emory Resources 

Writing your college essay can feel like one of the most subjective components of the college admissions process. Many students spend most of their time focused on the Common App Personal Essay, but institutions like Emory have supplemental essays that add an additional level of complexity to the college application process. As we’ve discussed, students interested in Emory University will be required to write two essays. These include the “Academic Interest” essay and the “Getting to Know You” essay. 

Is Emory University at the top of your college list? We hope you have found the Emory supplemental essay examples provided in this guide helpful. But remember, there are many resources to assist you in writing successful Emory supplemental essays. 

The Emory admissions blog has several posts that you can use to assist you in crafting a successful Emory supplemental essay. The Emory blog post Poetry and Prose can elevate your essay provides more Emory essay examples and other tips on how to elevate your writing skills. You can find more information on the Emory 2022-2023 short answer questions and Emory essay examples here.

As you can see, there are tons of Emory essay examples available online. Emory University even publishes its own list of Emory essays that worked. 

Still looking for direction with your Emory essays? Well, CollegeAdvisor has a webinar featuring Emory alumni with advice on how to obtain the coveted Emory acceptance letter. Take advantage of these resources and build a library of Emory essays that worked to refer to while writing your own supplemental essay. Each of the Emory essay examples should reveal a specific strength that can be used to improve your essay. 

Emory Essays that Worked — Final Thoughts 

Submitting your Emory application may feel intimidating. Both the Emory acceptance rate and Emory ranking speak to the competitive nature of Emory admissions. However, this should not deter you. Crafting a series of strong Emory supplemental essays can help boost your application. Remember, the Emory admissions committee will do a holistic review of your Emory application. So, if you have a lower GPA or SAT scores, the Emory supplemental essays may be an opportunity to strengthen your overall application. 

This guide provides several Emory essays that worked as well as resources to find more Emory essay examples. Use this guide and other Emory essay examples to help you approach the Emory supplemental essays for the 2022-2023 Emory admissions. Starting early and staying organized can make the daunting task of writing your Emory supplemental essays much easier. 

A great place to start

The Emory supplemental essay examples will give you a great foundation to begin writing your own short answer essay. But, don’t forget to put your own unique spin on the Emory supplemental essay examples. Your essay should feel like an extension of your larger application. 

The Emory supplemental essays are a wonderful opportunity for you to speak directly to the Emory admissions committee. To be successful, your Emory supplemental essays should be concise and grammatically correct. Proofread your own work then share with at least two others to proofread as well!

Good luck on your Emory supplemental essays, and don’t forget to refer to this “Emory Essays that Worked” guide frequently as you write!


emory essays that worked

This article was written by Chelsea Holley. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.