George Mason supplemental essays

George Mason Supplemental Essays 2023-24

College essays play an important role in the admissions process, just as they do at George Mason University. While there is only one George Mason essay (in addition to the Common App personal statement), students should take their time writing a stellar response. Naturally, students with strong responses to the George Mason University essay prompts have a better chance of standing out among a large pool of candidates. 

GMU is the largest public university in Virginia. The campus is diverse and students from every state and 130 countries make up the student body. While the acceptance rate is relatively high, applicants will still want to put their best work forward when applying. And, since there aren’t multiple George Mason University essay prompts to respond to, applicants have one chance to make it count. 

Without various George Mason University essay prompts to respond to, students will need to carefully choose how to write the George Mason supplemental essay. To write any successful college essay, you need to do some research on the school and its unique qualities. 

So, before we jump into writing the George Mason essay, let’s check out some GMU quick facts. 

George Mason Admissions: Quick Facts

George Mason University Quick Facts

  • George Mason Acceptance Rate: 90% – U.S. News ranks George Mason University #51 on its Top Public Schools list. 
  • George Mason Essay Requirements:
    • 1 (~250 word) “Optional” Essay – This essay is optional for students who submit standardized test scores. However, this essay is required for students applying as score-optional.
  • George Mason Application: Students may submit their application via the Common App or the Mason Exclusive Online Application. Make sure you have met all of the application requirements prior to applying. 
  • George Mason Deadlines: 
    • Early Action: November 1
    • Regular Decision: February 1 
  • George Mason Essay Tip: There aren’t multiple George Mason University essay prompts. So, this “optional” George Mason essay is your only opportunity to share who you are and why you belong at GMU. Even if you are submitting test scores, GMU strongly recommends all applicants submit a George Mason supplemental essay.

Does George Mason require supplemental essays?

George Mason supplemental essays

Technically, there are no required George Mason University essay prompts. However, there is one optional, school-specific essay. GMU Admissions refers to it as “an optional, but strongly encouraged personal statement.” If you want to submit the strongest application possible, you’ll want to consider the George Mason essay a principal feature of your application. 

While your other application requirements are important, none allow you to communicate who you are in your own words. The George Mason essay allows you to share your unique personality, writing style, and motivations for attending GMU.

Now, you may be thinking that without multiple George Mason University essay prompts to respond to, the GMU application will be simple. On the contrary, you’ll still want to give yourself a head start on the George Mason essay. If there were various George Mason University essay prompts, you’d have more opportunities to make your case for admissions. However, with only one short essay, it’s got to really count!

How many essays does George Mason require?

There is only one “optional” George Mason essay. However, the Common App writing requirements state that the optional George Mason essay is required for applicants who apply as score-optional. (GMU is test-optional, so students are not required to submit their standardized test scores). Either way, we encourage students to write the George Mason essay, whether they are submitting standardized test scores or not. 

Additionally, the Common App could be considered to have two George Mason essay prompts: the Common App personal statement and the GMU college-specific essay. While GMU does not require students to submit their Common App personal statement, you can still choose to do so. However, if you choose to apply on the Mason Exclusive Online Application, you won’t have multiple George Mason University essay prompts: there will be only one. 

What are the George Mason supplemental essays?

George Mason essay

Now, you’re probably wondering: what are the George Mason University essay prompts? Well, the George Mason essay is considered a why this school essay. You’ve likely seen various versions of this prompt when applying to other institutions.

Below is the George Mason supplemental essay prompt:

George Mason University Supplemental Essay Prompt

What is your motivation for pursuing higher education? Why do you believe George Mason University is the right institution for you?

GMU recommends applicants use this George Mason essay to “tell us about yourself and your experiences that have led to this decision.” This can be a trying task as applicants only have approximately 250 words to use in this George Mason essay. And, without other George Mason University essay prompts to share more about yourself, this may seem like a daunting task. However, we’ll get some tips on how to do so shortly. 

Additionally, applicants who choose to apply via the Common App will be able to submit their Personal Statement. This gives them two George Mason essay prompts from which to make their case for admission. Depending on your grades, recommendations, and extracurriculars, this may be a bonus to applying via the Common App. If you feel like your application narrative would benefit from the ability to submit responses to two GMU essay prompts, then consider applying via the Common App. 

George Mason Essay Prompts 

The George Mason supplemental essay asks applicants to answer a complex question for many: why do you want to go to college? Many students may consider college to be the obvious next step, not even questioning it. However, for others, and many first-generation students, the opportunity to go to college could be at the forefront of their minds. No matter which group you fall into, you’ll need to unravel the question and figure out your motivation behind attending a higher education institution. 

Here’s the George Mason essay prompt one more time: 

What is your motivation for pursuing higher education? Why do you believe George Mason University is the right institution for you?

Successful responses to the George Mason essay prompts will be specific and personal. Take some time to brainstorm each question of the George Mason supplemental essay prompt. When doing so, consider personal anecdotes, experiences, or values that have led you to seek out higher education. The best responses to the GMU essay prompts will be meaningful and personal, so allow yourself to dig deep when considering your essay theme.

The second part of the prompt is a standard why this school essay. Here, successful responses to the GMU essay prompts will show that you’ve done your research on specific offerings at GMU. Take some time to look through the website and course offerings. Learn about the campus culture and student organizations. Additionally, take a look at the university’s mission and values. Mention the aspect of the university that most calls your attention. And, most importantly, demonstrate why it’s important to you. 

As if doing all those things in about 250 words wasn’t challenging enough, you’ll also need to demonstrate why you’d be a great addition to the GMU community. This can be done through the anecdote you share, a value you hold, or an academic interest or curiosity you’ve explored. Be intentional with each word you use in this essay, and make sure that you’ve responded to each part of the George Mason essay prompt. 

Is George Mason hard to get into?

George Mason essay

Generally speaking, George Mason University is rather accessible to most students when it comes to gaining admissions. The GMU acceptance rate is 90%, which is among the highest admissions rates in the nation. You may feel like this takes the pressure off of responses to the George Mason essay prompts. However, just because the university has a high acceptance rate, doesn’t mean you should slack when it comes to your George Mason essay! Writing an impressive essay should be an important part of your “how to get into George Mason University” strategy. 

GMU boasts an inclusive environment. In fact, referencing their high acceptance rate, GMU Admissions states, “We proudly accept nearly 90 percent of undergraduate applicants, because we believe in inclusivity over exclusivity.” This stance may be refreshing to many high school students, as prestige certainly isn’t the most important aspect of a school when it comes to finding your perfect fit. Visit campus or take a virtual tour if you are wondering if GMU is the right fit for you. If you visit early and fall in love with the feeling of the campus, it might even be something to reference in your George Mason essay!

Students applying to GMU will be evaluated holistically, meaning that admissions officers are carefully looking at each of the George Mason application requirements. So, while it’s important to meet the George Mason essay requirements, it’s equally important to get letters of recommendation. Even though GMU has a high acceptance rate, this doesn’t mean applicants should neglect the GMU essay prompts or complete the other George Mason application requirements. In fact, your essay and application can play an important role in gaining scholarships and financial aid

Does George Mason care about essays?

Since the George Mason University essay prompts are optional, you may be thinking: do George Mason University admissions officers even care about my essay? The simple answer is yes! George Mason University admissions carefully considers every part of an application. The George Mason essay is a wonderful opportunity to share more of yourself with admissions officers. Use the George Mason University essay prompts as opportunities to share your experiences, values, personality, and writing style with admissions. 

Well-written responses to the George Mason essay prompts will bolster your application. Additionally, the research and reflection you do while writing your George Mason essay will allow you deeper insight into your motivations and future career goals. Don’t minimize the power of reflecting on the important questions that George Mason essay prompts ask students. Learning more about yourself and your educational motivations is a wonderful side effect of writing meaningful responses to the George Mason University essay prompts. 

How do I make my George Mason essays stand out?

George Mason essay

Now that you know admissions values the responses to the GMU essay prompts in their evaluation process, let’s look at how you can write your best George Mason essay. First of all, consider which application you’ll complete. If you choose to apply via the Common App, you’ll have two George Mason essay prompts to respond to—this gives you two opportunities to wow admissions officers. And, since you’ve probably worked hard on writing an impactful Common App Personal Statement, applying via this platform could be a wonderful way to share more about yourself as well as show off your writing chops. 

However, if you haven’t worked tirelessly on writing the perfect Common App personal statement, then you may benefit from responding to fewer George Mason essay prompts. Additionally, it will give you plenty of time to perfect your George Mason essay. 

Here are 3 tips for writing a strong George Mason supplemental essay: 

Get personal

Generic responses to George Mason essay prompts—or any college essay prompts—will always fall flat. Take this opportunity to truly reflect on the questions you’re asked. Brainstorm your most meaningful experiences. Then relate them to your motivations. Your George Mason essay should be unique to you!

Be specific

Along the same lines, be sure to get specific when responding to the GMU essay prompts. Particularly when it comes to the why this school essay aspect of the prompt. Mention specific offerings unique to GMU. This will require you to do some research on the school. Write about the aspect(s) that have most inspired you to apply. 

Start early!

Even though there aren’t various George Mason University essay prompts, that doesn’t mean you should leave your application to the last minute. Allow yourself the proper time to reflect, brainstorm, draft, edit, receive feedback, and draft again! Additionally, it might take some work to write an impactful George Mason essay in such few words. Give yourself plenty of time to do so!

More college essay resources from CollegeAdvisor

To guide students in crafting their most impactful application narrative, CollegeAdvisor has a variety of free resources for every step of your college journey. Whether responding to the GMU essay prompts, or other college essay prompts, choosing the topic can be the most challenging part of the process. Check out these college essay topics to help kick-start your brainstorming process. 

Another way to find inspiration for your own essays is by reading other college essays that worked. Additionally, since one of the George Mason essay prompts is the Common App personal statement, reading successful Common App essay examples will guide you in your journey to writing your best essays!

There are many facets to the college application process. Therefore, starting early and staying organized is the best way to have the most success with the least stress. Understanding college application deadlines is a crucial part of the planning process. You’ll want to understand important dates so that you meet not only the George Mason essay requirements but all the application requirements, in time. Likewise, getting professional guidance will help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. In addition to a library full of free resources, CollegeAdvisor has admission experts to help you along the way with personalized guidance. Reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed!

George Mason Supplemental Essays – Final Tips

Remember that the George Mason essay is essentially a why school essay. Therefore, when planning responses to the George Mason essay prompts, reflect on your reasons for applying to GMU. Then do some research on specific programs and offerings only found at GMU. Carefully consider each sentence you write, as you don’t have many words to make an impact. Writing a successful George Mason essay will only add to your application narrative. So, even though they’re technically optional, give the George Mason University essay prompts the attention they deserve. 

Here are some final tips to keep in mind when writing your George Mason essay: 

Reflect on your experiences

The George Mason supplemental essay prompt asks students a big question: why do you want to go to college? While it may seem like an obvious question, it may be the first time you’ve been asked it. Consider your personal and academic experiences carefully before responding. What experience(s) have led you to seek higher education?

Make it meaningful

The George Mason essay should be impactful. Therefore, your topic doesn’t necessarily matter (as long as you answer the prompt fully). What matters most is that you’re writing about something that is meaningful to you and has impacted you greatly. Successful college essays are passionate—however, passion can’t be faked. So take this opportunity to get real with yourself, and put it on paper!

Grammar and mechanics matter

You certainly don’t want your essay to stand out in the wrong way. Nothing irks admissions officers more than reading responses to the GMU essay prompts that are full of grammatical and spelling errors. Therefore, make sure you edit your essay! Get another pair of eyes to read over your George Mason essay to ensure that it has no mechanical errors. 

Use this guide to round out your “how to get into George Mason University” plan and impress George Mason University admissions with your essay. And, remember that you’re not alone when it comes to the college journey. Get guidance from counselors, parents, classmates, and admissions experts to help you along the way!

George Mason supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by Sarah Kaminski. 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 can support you in the college application process.