stanford essays examples

Stanford Essays Examples – Introduction

Located in sunny California, Stanford is a top choice school for many students. In this guide, we’ll look at the Stanford supplemental essays. Then, we’ll review some Stanford essays examples and discuss how they can help you write your own Stanford essay.

Stanford is ranked as one of the best colleges in the US, and for good reason. Students are in control of their learning, whether that means exploring STEM research opportunities or double majoring thanks to Stanford’s quarter system.

It’s no surprise that with Stanford’s popularity, it is a hard school to get into. According to US News, the Stanford acceptance rate is just 4%. The Stanford acceptance rate also ranks Stanford among the most selective schools, so receiving a Stanford acceptance letter is no small feat. 

As you begin the Stanford application process, it can be helpful to review Stanford essays that worked. Then, you can apply the tools from these Stanford essays examples to your own writing.

Our guide to the Stanford essays examples will include:

  • The number of Stanford essays to expect on the application
  • What matters to you and why Stanford essay examples
  • Stanford roommate essay examples, and more!

How many essays does Stanford require?

stanford essays examples

There are eight required Stanford supplemental essays for 2022-23 applicants.

While eight Stanford essays may seem like a lot, remember that not all the Stanford essays are full-length essays, like the two-to-five-page essays you write for class or the 650-word personal statement you will write for the Common Application. Your Stanford essays help the admissions team get to know you. 

Before we dive into some Stanford supplemental essays examples, let’s think about the Stanford essay prompts. Unlike other schools that only require applicants to write one or two supplemental essays, Stanford requires students to answer multiple short answer and short essay prompts.

Put simply, your Stanford essays help the admissions team learn about you on your own terms.  Just wait until you read our Stanford roommate essay examples – how many college applications ask you to write a letter to your future roommate?

There are two types of Stanford essays: short answer and short essay. 

Stanford Short Answer

Short answer Stanford essays can only be 50 words max, so they are only a few sentences long. As you’ll see in our Stanford supplemental essays examples, 50 words is not a lot of space. When answering the short answer Stanford essays, you’ll need to learn how to use your words carefully to make a clear and memorable impact on your reader.

Before you’ve read some Stanford essays examples, you may think these types of Stanford essays don’t allow students much room to express their thoughts and ideas. Later, when we look at Stanford essays that worked, you’ll see just how creative you can be when answering the short answer Stanford essays.

Stanford Short Essay

The short essays are slightly longer. These Stanford essays are between 100 and 250 words long, so you can expect these Stanford essays prompts to be more comprehensive than the short answer prompts. As you read our why Stanford essay examples, note that they fall into this category. Instead of being quick snapshots, the Stanford essays that worked will have more of a narrative, taking the reader through a beginning, middle, and end.

No matter if you are responding to the short essay or short answer Stanford essays, make sure you answer the prompts completely. As the admissions team reviews your Stanford essays, they’ll quickly notice whether you successfully answer the prompt. That means if there is a “what” and “why” section of the prompt, your Stanford essay should thoroughly address both.

By now, you’re probably ready to get into some Stanford essays that worked. First, let’s take a look at the prompts behind our Stanford supplemental essays examples.

What are the Stanford essay prompts?

Next up is the Stanford essay prompts. As previously mentioned, Stanford supplemental essays are two lengths: up to 50 words or 100-250 words. 

Since the Stanford essays are so short, you might think they matter less. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Stanford is a prestigious and selective school. So, Stanford Admissions will expect your most thoughtful and well-executed responses to their questions.

Currently, there are three Stanford short essays (100-250 words) and five short answer Stanford essay prompts (50 words max). These prompts are subject to change each year, so make sure you’ve done your research and found the most up-to-date prompts on Stanford’s application and essays page for first-year applicants and transfer applicants.

Note that some of the Stanford essay examples in this guide are from previous admissions cycles. This means that your Stanford application may ask you to complete a slightly different prompt than you’ll see in our Stanford essays examples. While some of the examples included in this guide may not reflect the current Stanford essay prompts, they can still help you complete your Stanford application.

The short answer Stanford supplemental essay prompts (50 words max) include:

  1. What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  2. How did you spend your last two summers?
  3. What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  4. Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  5. Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.

The longer Stanford supplemental essay prompts (100-250 words) include:

  1. The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.
  2. Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.
  3. Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.

Before we dive into the Stanford essays examples we’ve provided below, let’s start thinking about what it takes to write a great Stanford essay.

How do I write a good Stanford essay?

Just like there is no easy answer to how to get into Stanford, there is no easy answer to how to write a good Stanford essay. Our Stanford supplemental essays examples are all as different and unique as the students that wrote them. You’ll especially notice this once we start looking at Stanford essays that worked (like our what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples). While these Stanford essay examples all respond to the same prompt, each is unique.

That being said, when you look at different Stanford essays examples, you’ll start to notice they have some things in common. All of our Stanford essays examples clearly and concisely answer all aspects of the prompt. They do so in an engaging and specific voice that reflects some element of the writer’s character. This may include their creativity, humor, intellect, or values.

Overall, good Stanford essays examples will reflect positively on who a student is and why they’d be a good fit for Stanford. Part of Stanford’s vision is making a difference, so don’t be afraid to keep that in mind when reviewing our Stanford essays examples.

Stanford Essay Examples

Now, let’s jump into our Stanford supplemental essays examples. Rather than showing you a random collection of Stanford essays, we are focusing on Stanford essays that worked. Each of these Stanford essay examples is well executed. Each of these Stanford essay examples takes a strong approach to the prompts and shows a clear sense of identity and perspective.

First, we’ll take a look at some short answer Stanford supplemental essays examples. Then, we’ll move on to the longer Stanford essay examples, including our Stanford roommate essay examples and our what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples. 

Stanford Essays Examples- Short Answers

What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 words)

Stanford Essay Examples #1:

The deterioration of political and personal empathy. There’s been an aggressive devaluing of inclusive mindsets and common ground rules—the kind of solidarity of purpose necessary to accommodate divergent viewpoints, respect evidence, share burdens, and tackle national/international emergencies like climate change and immigration. We are fumbling—in backwards tribalism—while the world burns.

Stanford Essay Examples #2:

Where’s Waldo books. 

By searching for Waldo, we subconsciously teach children that certain people aren’t meant to belong–they are meant to be hunted. Our brains may be hardwired to notice people who are different, but we are instructed to treat those people differently. 

Searching for Waldo must be consciously unlearned. 

Stanford Essay Examples #3:

Ignorance poses a paradoxical issue: we can’t solve a problem that we don’t know exists.

For fifteen years, I heard gentrification and thought humanitarian. The Oxford English Dictionary had even taught me that gentrification means “positive change.” How can such atrocities become noticed when our perceptions are so skewed?

Stanford Essay Examples #4:

Greed. The root of all evil. To make momentous strides towards improving societal conditions, people and corporations must put aside their greed. Unfortunately, greed – the deep, dark desire for power and money – is the dominant force at work in many aspects of society, making it society’s most significant challenge.

These Stanford essays examples are powerful. Each of these Stanford essays examples is also unique. In each response, the writer uses the prompt to showcase their core values and beliefs. 

You might be surprised how much these Stanford essay examples are able to contain in just 50 words. While this prompt does not contain two separate parts asking “what” and “why,” the above Stanford essays that worked answered both parts anyway. All four Stanford essay examples start by clearly naming the challenge (“deterioration of political and personal empathy,” “Where’s Waldo books,” “ignorance,” and “greed”), then explaining why it is a challenge or what this challenge keeps us from.

Next, let’s look at more Stanford essays that worked for other short answer prompts.

How did you spend your last two summers? (50 words)

Stanford Essays that Worked #1

Learned to drive; internship in Silicon Valley (learned to live alone and cook for myself!); Governor’s Honors Program; AAJA JCamp in Detroit; wrote articles for The Borgen Project; lobbied at the Capitol and met Rep. Lucy McBath; Kenyon Review Young Writers in Ohio; read a whole lot.

Stanford Essays that Worked #2

My goal: Adventure

2015: Moved from North Carolina to Texas (mission trip to Birmingham, Alabama in between), vacationed in Orlando.

2016: Math program at MIT in Boston, engineering program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, mission trip to Laredo, Texas, vacation to northern California including the lovely Palo Alto.

These two Stanford essay examples are snapshots that capture your life outside of school. Both of these Stanford essay examples choose to forego typical sentence structures for a more abbreviated, list-type presentation. This can give you room to include more experiences from your summers.

While these two Stanford essays examples are good, these Stanford essays examples aren’t the end-all be-all for this type of prompt. To improve your response, you might sneak in a “why” element to your answer. 

You might not wish to just list what activities you did over the summer, as this may repeat the kind of information found in an extracurricular or resume portion of your application. So, try to touch on what you learned or how you grew from these activities.

The second of our Stanford essay examples does this well by framing up their experiences into a unified goal: adventure. We then learn more about this student by the fact that adventure to them means exploring STEM topics and giving back to their church community. 

What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 words)

Stanford Essay Examples #1

Valentina Tereshkova’s 1963 spaceflight. Tereshkova’s skill, grit, and persistence carried her from working in a textile factory, through grueling tests and training, to becoming the first woman to fly solo in space. Her accomplishment remains symbolic of women’s empowerment and the expanded progress that’s possible with equity in STEM opportunities.

Stanford Essay Examples #2

In 2001, Egyptian authorities raided a gay nightclub, arresting 55 men. The prosecutors tried them under fujur laws—initially passed by Egyptian nationalists to counter British ‘immorality’ during colonization. 

Watching the prosecution construct homosexuality as un-Egyptian would illustrate the extent anti-Western sentiment drove homophobia and how similar anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric remains today. 

Stanford Essay Examples #3

Most definitely Paganini’s legendary one-stringed performance; one-by-one, his violin strings snapped mid-performance until he was left with only the G-string. Being Paganini, he simply continued to play flawlessly all on that single string!

Stanford Essay Examples #4

Change does not happen without courage. I wish I could have witnessed the courage it took for the four A&T students sit in at the Woolworth’s counter in my hometown, Greensboro, North Carolina. I want to see the light overcoming darkness that created a change to last forever.

These Stanford essays examples show what each writer cares about. They also illustrate how these students connect with the world around them. In each of the above Stanford essays examples, the reader learns more about what the writers are passionate about as well as what they value: perseverance, courage, justice, and beauty.

While these are not exactly why Stanford essay examples, they do showcase what kind of revolutionary or impactful work you might dream of accomplishing with your Stanford education. Never underestimate the opportunity to layer meaning into your essays. Each of these Stanford supplemental essays examples use an external event to show something about an individual student. 

What five words best describe you? (5 words)

Stanford Essays #1

Speak up. Take action. Together.

Stanford Essays #2

Peter Parker meets Atticus Finch

Stanford Essays #3

The light of the world

Although these are the shortest of the Stanford essays examples, they are perhaps the most difficult to write. Summing yourself up in five words is no easy task. Each of these Stanford essays examples takes a different approach, whether that is a few small sentences, a cross of characters, or a poetic line.

When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to, or watch? (50 words)

Stanford Essay Examples #1

Read: The New York Times, Vox, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Quora. Favorite authors include Siddhartha Mukherjee, Atul Gawande, Dushka Zapata, and Zora Neale Hurston. 

Listen: This American Life, The Daily, Radiolab, Invisibilia, U.S. and French pop. 

Watch: The Good Place, Brooklyn 99, YouTube science, baking, and fingerstyle guitar videos.

Stanford Essay Examples #2

Read—an unhealthy number of self-help books, re-reading Just Kids by Patti Smith, every one of Audre Lorde’s books… 

Listen to—Danez Smith’s slam poetry (my personal favorite? Dinosaurs in the Hood), Still Woozy, Invisibilia… 

Watch—all the television I was forbidden from watching when I was twelve, POSE, ContraPoints, YouTubers criticizing ContraPoints… 

Stanford Essay Examples #3

Read: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, The Wendigo, How To Write an Autobiographical Novel, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Brainpickings.org weekly newsletter

Listen: Shostakovich, Lauv, Atlas, 20-hour-rain soundtrack on Spotify 

Watch: Avatar, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Hachi (if in the mood to cry), any Marvel movie!

These Stanford essays examples showcase each writer’s interests and influences. They highlight intellectual media where appropriate, but they also remain honest. As you write your own Stanford essays, remember to stay authentic. 

Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or artists. (50 words)

Stanford Essay that Worked

I love literature and art that helps me explore my roots and learn to love myself. These works and authors include:​The Color Purple, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,

​Maya Angelou, Day of Tears, ​Hope for the Flowers, and Langston Hughes.

This essay is very similar to the Stanford essays examples above. It gives the reader a sense of this student’s interests and shows what they might engage with on Stanford’s campus. 

What newspapers, magazines, and/or websites do you enjoy? (50 words)

Stanford Essays that Worked

I enjoy newspapers and magazines that enable me to learn something everyday. I like National Geographic because it lets me learn more about science. Once it even inspired me to do a self directed project on albatrosses. I also enjoy The Economist as it gives me a well rounded view of today’s politics and economics.

This essay is another of the “content” Stanford essays examples. This prompt, however, asks students to articulate the sites and sources where they turn to find content. 

Unlike our other Stanford supplemental essays examples, this example limits itself to two sources. Generally, we wouldn’t recommend essentially repeating the prompt, as this essay does in its first sentence. Instead, jump right into your details and specifics, and utilize that extra space to tie in something more valuable.

What were your favorite events (e.g., performances, exhibits, competitions, conferences, etc.) in recent years? (50 words)

Stanford Essays that Worked

“December 24th, 9pm, Eastern Standard time.” Rent began. I was sitting in between my best friends. We were losing circulation in our hands from holding on too tight and washing off our make-up with our tears. I felt an immense sense of harmony with the play and it was fantastic.

This is another variation of the above Stanford essays examples. This prompt, however, focuses on events. The narrative quality drops you right into the moment, which says so much about how this writer felt about the performance by showing an action rather than only explaining with words.

Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (50 words)

Stanford Essays that Worked

I live by my motto: “Dare!” in all instances of Truth or Dare.

Apparently, so do the students who brave Secret Snowflake. It spotlights what I love most, Truth or Dare minus the truth. Will I attempt to break the jalapeno eating record? Hop into The Claw in sub-zero temperatures? 

One of the reasons this “why Stanford essay example” works so well is its specificity. The level of detail included in this “why Stanford essay example” shows that this writer has done research into what Stanford has to offer. This highlights their enthusiasm and dedication to Stanford over another top college. 

If you aren’t able to take an in-person tour to visit the campus, there are plenty of ways to learn more about Stanford and its campus culture. We have countless webinars to help you get a sense of what life at Stanford is like. Check out our virtual college tour, Stanford University panel, and our How to get into Stanford: My Admissions Journey series to learn more about Stanford.

Imagine you had an extra hour in the day — how would you spend that time? (50 words)

Stanford Essay Examples #1

I’d split my hour two ways, investing time in my own wellbeing and in others. Half I’d spend baking treats for friends, which would double as a personal gift, since I find baking—like running—relaxing and restorative. The second half I’d spend answering Quora questions—something I’ve been meaning to pay forward.

Stanford Essay Examples #2

At eight, I dreamed of becoming a YouTuber, documenting life in rectangular video. Each year, this dream drew further from reach.

With extra time, I’d retrieve what time stole. Creating comedic skits or simply talking about my day, I’d pursue what I value most—making others laugh and capturing beautiful moments.

These Stanford essays examples show how some prompts are more open-ended than others. There’s an infinite number of possibilities you could explore with more time. However, both of these Stanford essays examples discuss something the writer values. Making others laugh, and giving to others—these are traits of people who will likely want to build community with their peers on campus.

Stanford Supplemental Essay Examples – Short Essays

stanford essays examples

The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (250 words)

Stanford Essays Examples:

From my earliest days, I have been a storyteller. I have imagined futuristic worlds where climate change has turned plants carnivorous, or where simulation technology has allowed us to learn history by experiencing it. But of all of these worlds that I write into stories, there is one in particular that captivates me:

“Which face should I get? I’m debating between these two, but I think I like the nasal bridge on this one more.”

In this futuristic world, people shop for faces that can be affixed with a head transplant. The people simply browse through a catalog and choose from the available options in the way we might shop for wedding cakes. Following the transplant procedure, one’s previous head is added to the catalog for purchase by the next buyer. 

The idea seems completely bizarre.

That is, until we begin to more carefully consider the present. On Earth, beauty sways society, leading to the emergence of cosmetic surgery as one of the fastest-growing industries. Here, rapid scientific advancement trumps every earthly limitation, and scientists have recently completed the first successful head transplant on a monkey. 

These considerations coalescing, my bizarre idea suddenly comes to life. What is to say that, in 100 years or so, we won’t break the barriers of cosmetic limitations and wear a head that we weren’t born with? The idea terrifies me, but perhaps that is why I am so drawn to it: Science eliminates limitations. It is already eliminating the “fiction” in my “science fiction.”

Many of our other Stanford essays examples explicitly answer the prompt in the opening line. This essay, however, begins by revealing a broader truth about the writer: that they are a storyteller. This is something they embody throughout their essay, allowing the reader to imagine what the writer was like as a child before plunging them into a futuristic idea of their own.

They then connect this with the real-world science that connects to this broader idea. This grounds their interest and imagination with something going on in our world. By the end of the first of our short Stanford supplemental essays examples, we understand that this individual has passions across multiple disciplines. This essay merges science and literature to create a vivid picture of who the writer is and how they’d contribute to Stanford’s campus. 

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (250 words)

Stanford Essays Examples:

“Indefinita eres.” Latin for “you are limitless.” I believe that we are all limitless. That with

passion, hard work, and resilience almost any dream can be accomplished. And I have a lot of dreams.

My entire life, except for the two years I wanted to be Hannah Montana, I have strived to help others. My dream is to be a leader in bioengineering, shaping and contributing to the forefront of bioengineering research, in order to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Through my endless passion for math, science, and engineering, combined with my resilience and collaborative abilities, I know I will be able to accomplish this.

I have countless other dreams and aspirations as well. I started Latin in 6th grade and I was terrible at it. I decided I would become a “Latin master” to lay a foundation for Spanish fluency in college. I studied hard for four years and by my sophomore year I was extremely honored to earn a silver medal in the Latin III National Latin Exam. I want to run a half marathon (after my sprint triathlon, of course). Through dedication and discipline I have worked from barely being able to run to morning 7 mile runs and will be at 13.1 by April 2nd for the Big D half marathon.

Like other Stanford supplemental essays examples, this piece showcases how much information and personality you can fit into a single essay. This writer chose to focus on an idea versus an experience, which allowed them to talk about multiple moments of growth and perseverance and their variety of passions.

Great Stanford supplemental essays examples will make the most of any prompt. So long as you answer the prompt completely, don’t be afraid to pull together different moments of your life. Just make sure you have a through line to keep everything focused and connected!

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples

stanford roommate essay examples

Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better. (250 words)

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #1

In the spirit of inaugurating the life-long relationship I hope we’ll build this year, let me tell you a little about myself.

Hi, I’m Charlie. I’m the second child of a comically over-optimistic refugee mother (my Vietnamese name translates, literally, to “celestial being”) and a proud Kentuckian with a deep passion for student-driven advocacy. I have two parents, two stepparents, a nineteen-year-old sister (a junior in Product Design, here, at Stanford), a three-year-old half-sister, two cats, one dog, and a complicated life that spans two households. So, I’m used to sharing space and managing shifting schedules.

I’ve also always been the “Mom” friend. To me, the little things—a chocolate chip cookie when I know a friend has a rough day ahead, words of encouragement before a big presentation, or staying up late to explain a tough physics problem—mean the most. I’ll be there when you need me—be it studying for tests or navigating personal challenges.

I recycle incessantly and am known to snatch cans out of the trash, wash them, and relocate them to neighboring blue bins. I keep a regular sleep schedule, rarely going to bed past midnight or waking up later than 8:30. I’m averse to gyms, opting instead to go for runs in the morning or follow along to a YouTube workout in the afternoon. 

I’m passionate, but also even-keeled. I think life is best taken in stride—worrying has never gotten me anywhere, but flexibility has taken me everywhere. I look forward to an awesome year!

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #2

Dear Roomie, 

Some disclaimers before we room together: 

1. If I arrive before you, don’t be alarmed by the tissue boxes everywhere. My parents made the conscious decision to expand our cat population despite (or because of) my allergies, and my four cats probably ambushed my suitcase while I was packing. So don’t be surprised if I invite you to one-too-many games of Exploding Kittens. It’s me projecting my fantasies, so please indulge me.

2. Whenever you open a Google Doc around me, change the font to Georgia or Cambria (my personal favorites). If you’re a seasoned Arial user, you’re likely mindlessly going along with what everyone else is doing—I get it. But Arial is objectively a bad font; the only acceptable time to use Arial is if you’re being passive aggressive… and even then, just use comic sans… (Criticizing people’s font choices is only half my personality, I promise.) 

3. You’ll see me embarrassing myself around campus by flailing on the dance floor, doing improv, or in drag, and I hope to see the same from you. I want to get excited about everything you’re passionate about– interests I’ve probably never even thought about before. 

When I’m armed with a bottle of Zyrtec, being my roommate isn’t all bad. I’ll bring copious amounts of Peach Snapple bottles, probably enough to last the semester. You can take as many bottles as you want, so long as you leave me the Snapple “Facts”…. I’m an avid collector. 

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #3

Hey Roomie! Yesterday was insane. I still can’t quite get over the energy in that stadium after that final play. I guess Berkeley couldn’t take back the axe to cut down these Trees!

I’m writing you this since I have an 8:30 Syntax and Morphology with Dr. Gribanov. I know, it’s early, but that class is honestly worth waking up for. Last Friday, he spent the entire period rambling about why regardless and irregardless are the same thing, but responsible and irresponsible aren’t. Just a fun little thought to start your day.

I’m also writing you this as a quick apology. I won’t be back from Mock Trial until late evening, and then I’ll be practicing for Stanford Symphony auditions. So, if you hear cacophonous noises in your sleep, it’s most likely me. Plus, it’s Mahler Symphony No. 1, so you might not sleep much anyway. Kidding.

These next few days are jam-packed, but I’m craving some much-needed bonding time! I have a proposal: how does a jam session this Friday at Terman Fountain sound? I’ll bring the guitar and plenty of oldies sheet music, you just gotta bring a snack and the desire to sing! I’ve sold a few people already. Join us?

Well, I’m headed to breakfast now. Text me if you want me to grab you anything.

– Teyana

Stanford Roommate Essay Examples #4

Dear Roomie,

Tupac Shakur is not dead. You might believe that he is, because yes, his body is buried

somewhere. But many of his messages are still very much alive. So future roomie, if we are going to be as close as I hope (and if you see me rapping “Life Goes On” in my Star Wars pajamas), you should know this about me:

As a biracial person, I have felt extremely troubled for the past few years regarding the social inequalities and injustices in our society. 2PAC says in his song “Changes,” “I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black.” He says “I see no changes.”

I want to change this. I want Tupac’s spirit to behold a United States in which everyone has equal access to education and to healthcare. A U.S. where no one is discriminated against based on their race, gender, sexuality, or religion. I have already begun working towards equality, through educational outreach and political volunteerism. I will continue this at Stanford, through participating in peaceful protests and spreading awareness of the issues at hand. This might mean you’ll notice me coming and going a lot or going on frustrated rants about the ignorance and injustices in our society and our world. However, I hope you’re a person who will not only understand my perspective but be willing to march towards equality with me.

I am so excited for this year and the many years to come!

Love always,

Jolie

As noted in our Stanford Essays Guide, the Stanford roommate essay shows up nearly every year. These Stanford roommate essay examples show how fun a prompt like this can be to answer. Each of our Stanford roommate essay examples takes a slightly different approach. Some students write from the perspective of already attending Stanford; others opt for a list of important need-to-know facts.

The Stanford roommate essay examples show how open-ended this prompt actually is. If, after reading our Stanford roommate essay examples, you feel like you have no idea what to write about, know that there is no perfect recipe for responding to this prompt. Each of our Stanford roommate essay examples has a unique quality and flair.

A good rule of thumb you can take from our Stanford roommate essay examples is to remember who your audience is. Some essays touch on classic roommate topics, like sleep schedules, activities, and sharing snacks. However, the writer only includes these facts as a means of showing who they are. 

What Matters to You and Why Stanford Essay Examples

what matters to you and why stanford essay examples

What matters to you, and why? (250 words)

‘What matters to you and why’ Stanford Essay Examples:

“You’re stupid!!” exclaimed Winston. “Well you’re ugly!” shouted Michael. We were sitting

around the dinner table and my brothers, as usual, were bickering. After about two minutes of this, my dad broke into song. He sang, in a mostly on pitch falsetto, “what the world needs now, is love sweet love.” My brothers, my mom and I all rolled our eyes, but of course we kept singing. Then we sang “All you need is love” and “I’ll be there.” After years of this constant playlist, during laundry, dinners, and hikes, I realized what truly matters to me: love.

Love is what makes my life worth living. Whether it be love of my family, of my friends, of my activities, or of my future it makes me excited to get up and start my day. The sense of harmony I feel when dancing in the car with my family, or painting with my friends, or working with my team on our solar car is indescribably fulfilling. Through playing ukelele and singing with my family to working diligently in a lab to create a process that will alleviate the pain of another person, I will have the love that is of utmost importance to me. I will fill my life and the lives of others with love and harmony.

The last of our Stanford supplemental essays examples shows just how honest and vulnerable you can be in your essays. This essay does a great job of showing rather than telling. It gives us a great example of what love looks like to this student and how love continues to be the most important thing in their life.

How to write Stanford Supplemental Essays: 5 Tips!

1. Start early

If you’re worried about getting your Stanford essays up to par with these Stanford essays examples, don’t leave them to the last second. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the Stanford prompts and reviewing our Stanford supplemental essays examples. This can be the first step in your writing process. Next, start brainstorming topics and ideas you can start incorporating into your drafts.

2. Keep an idea journal

Now that you’ve reviewed different Stanford supplemental essay examples and have read Stanford essays that worked, it’s time to get brainstorming. Try writing down the main topics of each Stanford essay prompt, like “roommates,” “important experiences,” or “content I like.” Have a place where you can write down all your ideas as soon as they come to you. That way, when it comes time to start drafting your Stanford essays, you’ll have plenty of ideas.

3. Think outside the box

If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer to one of the Stanford essay prompts, don’t worry. Remember our “what matters to you and why Stanford essay examples?” These questions are at the core of what Stanford admissions is looking for. You’ll include traces of them in every Stanford essay you write regardless of which prompt you answer.

4. Consider what Stanford Admissions will take away from your Stanford essays

For instance, think about the Stanford roommate essay examples. While the prompt asked students to direct their attention to their future roommate. Remember your reader will be coming in with the perspective of an admissions officer, not your potential future roommate. While this may seem like the space to offer up fun, random facts about yourself and your interests, consider how the characteristics you choose to highlight build upon other aspects of your application and Stanford essays.

5. Draft, edit, rewrite, edit, and edit again

These Stanford supplemental essays examples weren’t written overnight. You can’t expect to produce Stanford essays as engaging and effective as our Stanford essay examples unless you put in enough time and effort. Remember, our Stanford essays examples are final drafts. Make sure you get your first draft down on paper as soon as you can so you have plenty of time to edit, proofread, and finalize your essays.

Stanford Essay Examples- Final Thoughts

stanford essays examples

Applying to Stanford can feel overwhelming, especially given the low Stanford acceptance rate. If Stanford is your dream school, you should do all you can to ensure your Stanford essays shine.  

If you’re looking for answers on how to get into Stanford, think carefully about every aspect of the Stanford application. Knowing the requirements for the Stanford application will be much more helpful than worrying about the Stanford acceptance rate.

Focus on what you can control

So, focus on the parts of the Stanford admissions process you can control, like your responses to the Stanford essay prompts. Understanding the prompts, then looking at Stanford essays that worked, can give you a sense of what Stanford admissions looks for when reviewing applications. Then, you can take the lessons and learnings from Stanford essay examples and incorporate them into your own essays.

Take a look at our how to get into Stanford guide for more tips on the Stanford application process. We discuss how Stanford Admissions reviews applications, the Stanford acceptance rate, the interview process, and more strategies on how to get into Stanford.

As you begin working on your Stanford essays, feel free to look back on these Stanford essays examples. Rather than using them as a shining example you need to model your own Stanford essay after, think about why they worked, the impact they had on you, and how you can incorporate those techniques into your own essay. So remember, get started early, and good luck.


This article was written by Stefanie Tedards. 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.