occidental supplemental essays
Occidental College” by Jeffrey Beall | CC BY-SA 2.0.

Occidental Supplemental Essays

With the Occidental acceptance rate hovering around 30%, many students are eager to make a game plan for how to get into Occidental College. Occidental College, affectionately known as Oxy, stands out as one of the leading private liberal arts colleges in the nation. Consequently, Occidental Admissions evaluate numerous applications and Occidental College supplemental essays annually to identify the most promising candidates for admission. The key to getting into this Los Angeles school? Writing stellar Occidental College essays.

While Admissions will be looking at your grades to get a sense of who you are academically, grades only tell them so much. If you want to share your other compelling and memorable qualities, you’ll need to write about them in your Occidental College supplemental essays. Occidental College supplemental essays provide admissions officials with an authentic snapshot of who you are – and why you should be accepted to Oxy. Hence, your Occidental College supplemental essays can significantly impact the success of your application.

Our guide to the Occidental College supplemental essays will walk you through the Occidental essay prompts, including the Why Occidental essay. Throughout you’ll find various Occidental College supplemental essay tips to keep in mind when crafting your essays. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the tools you’ll need to write effective Occidental College supplemental essays.

Are you ready to discover how to get into Occidental College by crafting strong Occidental College supplemental essays? If so, let’s embark on this journey!

Occidental College: Quick Facts

Occidental College Admissions Quick Facts

  • Occidental Acceptance Rate: 39% – while the Occidental acceptance rate is higher than that of other top universities, U.S. News still considers Occidental College moderately selective. 
  • Occidental College Essay Requirements:
    • 1 (~200 word) essay – Why Occidental College Essay
    • 1 (~300 word) essay – Choice Essay
    • 1 (~20 word) short answer essay – Occidental Roommate Question
  • Occidental College Application: Occidental College accepts the Common Application & Coalition Application.
  • Occidental College Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 15 
    • Early Decision II: January 10
    • Regular Decision: January 10
  • Occidental College Essay Tip: Applying on time is crucial to the success of your application, so don’t leave your Occidental College supplemental essays until the last minute. Just like you’d ask for letters of recommendation in advance, start brainstorming/drafting your essays well ahead of your application deadline.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.

Does Occidental have supplemental essays?

occidental supplemental essays

Yes, applicants are required to submit Occidental College supplemental essays as part of their Occidental application. Occidental College supplemental essays play a crucial role in providing the admissions committee with a comprehensive understanding of each applicant. While every aspect of your application is important, your essays are the main way Admissions gets to know you.

Now, just how should you go about writing your Occidental supplemental essays? In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into the Occidental essay prompts (and go over some helpful Occidental College supplemental essay tips!)

How many essays does Occidental require?

Occidental College requires three essays that range from 20 words to 300 words. Two of the Occidental essay prompts must be answered by all applicants (Why Occidental Essay and Occidental Roommate Essay). However, one of the Occidental College supplemental essays is considered a Choice Essay. The Occidental College Choice Essay allows applicants to choose one of three Occidental essay prompts to respond to.

Understanding each of the Occidental essay prompts is the first step toward writing great essays. First, we’ll discuss the Why Occidental Essay, Then, we’ll look at the Choice Essay (with Occidental College supplemental essay tips for how to choose the best prompt for you). Finally, we’ll take a look at the short answer Occidental Roommate Question.

Why Occidental Essay

occidental supplemental essays
Johnson Hall, Occidental College” by Jeffrey Beall | CC BY-SA 2.0.

The first of the Occidental College supplemental essays is the Why Occidental Essay.

Occidental Essay #1

Why are you applying to Occidental? Why do you think Occidental is the right place for you to pursue your interests?

Keep in mind, that this Why Occidental Essay really asks two questions. While they are definitely related, they’re also distinct. You’ll need to consider your reasons for applying and why Occidental is the best fit for you. That means your response needs to be unique to Occidental, and your reasons shouldn’t be applicable to any other school you are applying to.

When approaching this prompt, it’s essential to thoroughly research Occidental College to pinpoint specific aspects that resonate with your values and goals. In crafting your Occidental College essay, focus on personal connections, aligning your academic and personal interests with the unique features of Occidental. Be genuine and specific, avoid clichés, and showcase your excitement about joining the Occidental community.

Ask yourself: what have I learned about Occidental that has led me to apply? Ultimately, your Occidental College essay should reflect a sincere connection to the college, highlighting why it is the ideal place to pursue your academic journey.

More Occidental Supplemental Essays

occidental supplemental essays

The second of the Occidental College supplemental essays is the Choice Essay. Unlike other Occidental College supplemental essays, applicants have a choice of three unique Occidental essay prompts. The Occidental essay prompts for the Choice Essay are:

Occidental College Supplemental Essay Prompts

1. Cultural Diversity Essay: Oxy’s central mission emphasizes the value of community amidst diversity. What do you value in a community, and how do you see your perspectives and life experiences enhancing it?

2. Community Impact Essay: Briefly describe a current event or social movement that is affecting a place that is important to you. Describe its significance to you and the future implications for that community. How do you anticipate an Oxy education helping you better understand and respond to that event/movement?

3. Research Interests Essay: Research is an integral part of an Oxy education. Completing a senior comprehensive is a requirement of every Oxy student and there are a myriad of opportunities for research throughout your four years. Imagine you were just awarded one of our research grants for a project of your choice. What are you researching and why?

Choosing the right Occidental College essay is important to ensure your Occidental application is well-rounded. In the next section, we will provide Occidental College supplemental essay tips to help you choose the best Occidental College essay prompt.

How to choose an essay for Occidental College

Choosing which of the Occidental essay prompts to respond to depends on your personal experiences, values, and interests. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

Cultural Diversity Essay

Choose this Occidental College essay if you value diverse communities and have experiences or perspectives that contribute to a rich, varied community. This Occidental College essay prompt is a good fit if you’ve had experiences highlighting the importance of diverse perspectives or actively contributing to fostering inclusivity.

Community Impact Essay

Choose this Occidental College essay if you have a specific current event or social movement that matters to you and you want to discuss its impact on a place you care about. This Occidental College essay prompt is great if you’ve been involved in a community project related to a current event or social movement and want to discuss how it has affected your community.

Research Interests Essay

Choose this Occidental College essay if you are interested in research, have a specific project in mind, and want to showcase your passion for exploration and learning. For instance, if you have a unique research idea or a topic you’re eager to explore during your time at college, this Occidental College essay prompt provides an opportunity to share your academic interests.

First, consider your experiences, values, and the story you want to tell. Then, select which one of the Occidental essay prompts showcases your strengths, achievements, and future goals.

Occidental Roommate Essay

occidental supplemental essays

When tackling the Occidental Roommate Question, consider it as an opportunity to convey a snippet of your personality. Reflect on your favorite tunes and choose a song that represents your musical taste. (Hopefully one that sets a positive and welcoming vibe for move-in day!) Here’s some Occidental College supplemental essay tips for writing this short answer essay.

Keep in mind the shared space with your roommate and opt for a song that is generally well-received. In the brief 20-word response, mention the song you would play and briefly explain your choice. For instance, you could select a timeless and uplifting track, like “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, to kick off your Oxy journey with positivity and warmth. The key is to showcase a bit of your character while considering your roommate’s potential preferences, creating an inviting atmosphere for the start of your Occidental College experience.

How to answer Occidental supplemental essays

occidental supplemental essays

Answering Occidental College supplemental essays requires thoughtful reflection and a strategic approach. Staying within a specific word count and effectively conveying your unique qualities isn’t always easy. Here are a few Occidental College supplemental essay tips to guide you through writing your Occidental College supplemental essays.

Prompt Specific Occidental College Supplemental Essay Tips

  • The Why Occidental Essay:
    • Research the College. Show that you’ve researched Occidental College thoroughly. Discuss specific programs, values, and campus culture that attract you. Explain how Occidental aligns with your interests and goals. Showcase a genuine connection between your aspirations and what Occidental offers.
  • Cultural Diversity Essay:
    • Reflect on Values. Consider what you value in a community. Think about diversity, inclusivity, and why Occidental College’s mission resonates with you. Share specific examples from your life that illustrate your perspectives and experiences, demonstrating how you can enhance Occidental’s community.
  • Community Impact Essay:
    • Select a Relevant Event. Choose a current event or social movement that matters to you and affects a place you care about. Clearly describe why the event is significant and discuss its implications for the community. Showcase your understanding of broader implications.
  • Research Interests Essay:
    • Be Passionate. If you have a passion for research, convey it genuinely. Explain why research is appealing and how it aligns with your academic goals. Describe a hypothetical research project you’d undertake, emphasizing its importance and how it connects to your academic interests.
  • Occidental Roommate Question:
    • Pick a Favorite. Choose a song you love. It could be your favorite tune or a song that you think captures a side of your personality. In 20 words, briefly explain why you’d play that particular song. Share a concise insight into your character or the first impression you hope to make.

General Occidental College Supplemental Essay Tips

  • Be Authentic: Share genuine experiences and thoughts. Occidental admissions officers appreciate authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • Tailor Responses: Customize each essay to fit the specific prompt, showcasing different aspects of yourself. If it doesn’t answer the prompt, it’s not going to be an effective essay.
  • Follow Instructions: Adhere to word limits and any specific instructions provided for each essay. Be sure your essays are not too short and meet the minimum suggested word limits provided with each prompt.
  • Edit and Proofread: Review your essays for clarity, coherence, and correctness. Ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.

Want more tips on writing college essays? Check out these CollegeAdvisor resources that discuss How to Write Better Essays, College Essay Topics, and Common Application Essay Examples

Does Occidental care about essays?

occidental supplemental essays

Yes, Admissions absolutely cares about your Occidental College supplemental essays! Occidental College takes pride in its comprehensive admissions process, recognizing that academic excellence extends beyond grades alone. This holistic approach emphasizes elements such as your background, interests, and important opportunities and moments that have shaped you. Occidental College supplemental essays are pivotal in conveying these aspects of your character and accomplishments.

The significance placed on Occidental College supplemental essays underscores the college’s deliberate effort to identify individuals who align with its core values. Occidental’s values of academic excellence, innovation, and a dedication to societal impact are complex and nuanced. Your essays serve as a platform to share your past experiences and future aspirations, giving the Occidental admissions committee a deeper understanding of your unique qualities and perspectives.

Therefore, creating impactful Occidental College supplemental essays is crucial. These essays go beyond showcasing writing skills. They serve as a window into your character, illustrating your commitment to contributing to Occidental College’s academic and innovative community. 

Additional information about Occidental College

Tracing its origins back to 1887, Occidental College is renowned for its commitment to:

  • Providing a comprehensive liberal arts education
  • Fostering critical thinking and creativity
  • Promoting interdisciplinary studies

Distinguished by its dedication to diversity and inclusivity, Occidental College prioritizes creating a vibrant campus environment that celebrates different cultures and perspectives. The institution strongly emphasizes research, offering students various opportunities to engage in hands-on projects across disciplines. The college’s global perspective is evident through study abroad programs and initiatives encouraging international engagement. Among its illustrious alumni is former President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, who began his higher education journey at Occidental before transferring to Columbia University.

In addition to having a strong commitment to academic excellence and diversity, Occidental College is deeply rooted in community engagement and social responsibility, with students actively participating in service-learning programs and projects contributing to societal betterment. The campus is known for its beauty and green spaces, providing an inspiring backdrop for learning and personal growth. Notably, Occidental College boasts a commitment to environmental sustainability, featuring LEED-certified buildings and initiatives aimed at reducing the college’s carbon footprint. 

Overall, Occidental College’s rich history and commitment to excellence underscores its impact on education and society, making it a distinguished institution in the landscape of American higher education.

Occidental Supplemental Essays: Final Takeaways

In summary, crafting impactful Occidental College supplemental essays is a crucial step in the application process. Occidental College supplemental essays serve as a testament to writing skills and provide invaluable insight into an applicant’s character and values. Here are some final key takeaways to remember as you craft your Occidental College supplemental essays: 

Occidental College Supplemental Essays Key Takeaways

  1. Holistic Admissions Process: Occidental College, located in Los Angeles, employs a comprehensive admissions process that values a holistic view of applicants.
  2. Significance of Occidental College Supplemental Essays: With an acceptance rate of 30%, Occidental College emphasizes the importance of Occidental College supplemental essays in gaining insights beyond academic achievements.
  3. The Why Occidental Essay: This essay provides a platform to express a genuine connection to the college, highlighting personal interests and values that align with Occidental.
  4. Choice Essay Options: The three Choice Occidental essay prompts (Cultural Diversity, Community Impact, Research Interests) allow applicants to tailor responses, showcasing their character and experiences.
  5. Occidental Roommate Question: This unique question about choosing a song for move-in day offers an opportunity to reveal personality and set a positive tone.
  6. Occidental College Supplemental Essay Tips: Do thorough research, explore a personal connection, tailor your responses, be authentic, follow prompt instructions, and don’t forget to edit and proofread!

Carefully consider each of the Occidental essay prompts and use our Occidental College supplemental essay tips to help you enhance your chances of securing admission. By now, we hope you know how to get into Occidental College and are ready to write the best supplemental essays to complete your Occidental application. If so, good luck!

occidental supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Ashley Hollins. 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.