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Not sure how to approach the George Washington essays? CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the George Washington University supplemental essays will show you exactly how to write engaging George Washington essays and maximize your chances of admission. If you need help crafting your George Washington University supplemental essays create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

GW Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • With an acceptance rate of 43%, U.S. News ranks George Washington University as a more selective school. 
  • The George Washington University ranking is #63 in National Universities.
  • We recommend answering the George Washington University supplemental essays thoughtfully.

Does George Washington University have any supplemental essays? 

Yes. All applicants can choose one of two George Washington University supplemental essays to submit alongside the Common Application essay. The GW supplemental essays assess an applicant’s critical thinking, personal values, and motivation to thrive at GW. 

For a list of application requirements aside from the George Washington essays, visit GW’s website. 

How many essays does George Washington require?

In addition to the main essay prompt on the 2021-2022 Common App, there are two GW supplemental essays. We have provided the prompts for the George Washington University supplemental essays below. We’ve also included tips on approaching each of the George Washington University essay prompts.

All applicants must complete one of the George Washington supplemental essays. However, you can choose which George Washington University supplemental essay prompt to complete. 

Need help choosing a Common App essay prompt? Get some helpful advice from our essay guide.

What are the essays for George Washington University? 

The George Washington University essay prompts are listed on the Common App website. We will also list each of the George Washington University essay prompts in this guide.

The GW supplemental essay lets you show your reader how your values connect to GW. The George Washington University supplemental essays also let you show your commitment to fostering change by engaging in civil discourse.

A strong George Washington University supplemental essay will increase your admissions odds. So, don’t overlook your GW essay! 

How do I write the essays for George Washington University? 

First, read the two George Washington University essay prompts. Then, think about what you hope to convey in your George Washington University supplemental essay. We will list each of the George Washington University essay prompts in the next section of this guide. Be sure to remain deliberate as you pick a prompt for your George Washington University supplemental essay. 

Let’s discuss some things to consider when choosing a prompt for your GW essay.

Be a change-maker

GW prides itself on admitting students who will to become agents of change for our world. They look for students who will turn knowledge into action by taking advantage of all that GW offers.

Think about how to show your intellect and values in the George Washington University supplemental essays. Use the George Washington essays as your chance to show your interest in GW. Also, try to include specific details in your George Washington University supplemental essays that show how you would enrich campus life at GW. 

As you review the George Washington University essay prompts, which stands out to you? Remember, your George Washington University supplemental essay lets you showcase who you are beyond your grades and scores.

Also, be sure to remain thoughtful when choosing a topic for your George Washington University supplemental essay. Consider each of the GW essay prompts. Your reader will be able to tell if your topic doesn’t matter to you!

Trust your intuition

Finally, if you feel a connection to one of the George Washington University essay prompts, choose that one. Having a personal attachment to the prompt will help you craft strong George Washington essays. 

Not sure how to choose between the George Washington supplemental essays? Start with a writing exercise. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Then, brainstorm talking points for each of the George Washington University essays. As you review your list, what issues stand out to you? Can you link any of those topics to your identity or values? 

For example, are you passionate about a specific social, political, or historical topic? Can you highlight it in the George Washington essays? Or, do you have a personal experience that you can connect to one of the GW supplemental essays? How might this topic showcase your identity and values? Bonus points if you can connect this topic to your future major(s) at GW. 

We have outlined each of the George Washington University supplemental essays below. We’ve also included a breakdown of how to approach the George Washington essays. 

George Washington University Supplemental Essay – Question 1:

Every applicant can choose from one of the following two essay prompts to submit. 

Option 1: At the George Washington University, our students frequently interact with policymakers and world leaders. These experiences and those of our alumni can shape the future of global affairs. If you had the power to change the course of history in your community or the world, what would you do and why? (500 words.)

The first of the George Washington University supplemental essays asks you to choose a historical issue or event. Then, it asks you to show how you would change the outcome of this event. Finally, it asks you to describe how your choice would impact your community or the world. 

You could interpret this George Washington University supplemental essay prompt in one of two ways: 

  1. If you could travel back in time and change the outcome of one event, what would you change? How would you create this change? Why would you choose this event and create this specific change? 
  1. Identity a current problem within your local community or our greater society. How would you solve this problem? Why did you choose this problem, and how would solving it change the course of our future?

No matter how you frame this George Washington University supplemental essay, be sure to identify a critical problem. Then, propose a solution to the problem. Don’t limit yourself! The issue you discuss in this George Washington University supplemental essay could be local, national, or global in scale.

Begin your George Washington University supplemental essay by describing the context of your chosen issue. Remember, you only have 500 words in each of the George Washington University supplemental essays. This means, then, that you should pay attention to your essay’s structure. First, you should briefly describe the problem; then, spend most of your essay detailing your solution and how it will change the future.  

Make a list

Not sure what issue to choose for this George Washington University supplemental essay? Start by listing 3-5 potential topics that interest you. Then, narrow your focus down to a specific sub-topic within a larger issue. You don’t want to pick a topic that is too broad, as you only have 500 words for the George Washington University supplemental essays. Instead, choose an issue to which you have a personal connection. 

For example, instead of trying to end world hunger, consider a proposal to start a community garden in your area. Then, connect it to your experience of growing up in an urban food desert with limited access to healthy, affordable food. How might this garden help support your neighborhood?

Focus on a change

Or, instead of declaring that you would eliminate slavery in the United States, consider a bill to renegotiate the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Examine how you would structure your argument to prohibit slavery in this new territory. Finally, describe how this change would shift the notion of slavery in other states. 

As you approach this George Washington University supplemental essay, spend some time describing why you chose this event. This George Washington University supplemental essay prompt lets you showcase your values. It also lets you think critically about important issues within our society. Ultimately, GW looks for applicants who can recognize critical problems and propose convincing and realistic solutions. 

George Washington University Essay Draft Tips: 

  • Do you identify an issue that matters to you and relate it to your identity and values?
  • Does your essay avoid topics that are too general or too broad?
  • Do you use specific examples of how you would implement your solution and how it would change the course of history?

George Washington University Supplemental Essay – Question 2:

Option 2: The George Washington University encourages students to think critically and to challenge the status quo. Thus, civil discourse is a key characteristic of our community. Describe a time when you engaged others in meaningful dialogue around an issue that was important to you. Did this exchange create change, new perspectives, or deeper relationships? (500 words.)

For the second of the George Washington University supplemental essays, you will need to describe a time when you disagreed with others. This George Washington University supplemental essay prompt assesses how you engage with those who disagree with you on serious issues. It also asks what you gained from this discourse. 

With a diverse student body with students from 135 countries, GW looks for applicants who will enrich their global campus. The second of the George Washington University supplemental essays, therefore, evaluates your ability to succeed in a diverse academic setting. In other words, the admissions team looks for confident, dynamic listeners who can engage with others. 

Be authentic

You don’t need to invent a perfect story in which you magically made someone see things your way. Instead, think about some moments when you engaged with others. Then, choose one of those examples for this George Washington University supplemental essay. Additionally, make sure to show what you learned from this experience. 

For example, you could write about how you disagreed with a classmate about a group research project. Discuss how you voiced your concerns and how you came to an agreement. Then, describe what you gained from this interaction. 

Strong examples

Or perhaps, you noticed the lack of healthy snacks in your high school’s café. Explain how you worked with the school principal to include healthier options. Then, describe what you learned from this. How did it help you become more confident in approaching authority figures with your ideas? 

You could also discuss how you persuaded a conservative family member to attend your city’s LGBTQ pride parade with you. Talk about how you convinced them to step outside of their comfort zone after hearing their concerns. Then, describe what it meant to engage with someone who sees the world differently than you. 

Whatever story you share in this George Washington supplemental essay, make sure you include details. Describe how you and the other person learned something from the interaction. Finally, highlight your ability to engage with someone who has a different belief system than you. 

George Washington University Essay Draft Key Questions: 

  • Did you choose an example where you successfully and productively expressed your point of view?
  • Do you share what lesson you learned or what impact the exchange had on you?
  • Does your essay connect this moment to what you hope to accomplish in college? 

Additional tips for George Washington essays

Before choosing a prompt for the George Washington University supplemental essay, reflect on your identity and values. Then, connect your reflections to one of the George Washington University essay prompts. Is there an aspect of your identity that the George Washington University supplemental essays can highlight? Do you have an experience that you can link to one of the GW supplemental essays? Finally, how might this example reveal a key aspect of your identity or interests? 

Consider the fit

Also, think about how the George Washington University essay prompts fit into your application narrative. Your application narrative plays a crucial role in the college application process. It is a direct reflection of who you were, who you are now, and who you will be in college.

Look for themes across your application as you brainstorm for the George Washington supplemental essays. These themes will make up your candidate profile. A strong candidate profile will help you stand out to AOs, so don’t discount it. 

Still unsure of how to write the George Washington University supplemental essays? Read our article for more tips on how to write a great essay. 

George Washington University Supplemental Essays: Final Thoughts

The George Washington University supplemental essays can seem daunting. However, don’t let the GW supplemental essays stop you from applying! Instead, use the George Washington supplemental essays to highlight what matters to you. Keep this guide to the George Washington University supplemental essays handy as you tackle the GW application. Good luck! 


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This 2021-2022 essay guide on GWU was written by Claire Babbs, UT Austin ‘12. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on George Washington University click here. Want help crafting your George Washington University supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.