tulane essay

Tulane Essay Guide: 2022-2023

Tulane Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • Tulane acceptance rate: 10% — U.S. News ranks Tulane as a highly competitive school.
  • In U.S. News list of National Universities Tulane University ranking is #44.
  • Tulane supplemental essay requirements:
    • Common App essay
    • 2 (50-500 words) optional essays
    • 1 (250-word) extracurricular essay
  • Tulane application note: Students can apply via the Common App or Tulane’s online application.
  • #1 Tulane Essay Tip: Though each Tulane supplemental essay is “optional,” think of them as required. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to answer each Tulane supplemental essay comprehensively and thoughtfully in order to stand out to Tulane admissions. 

What are Tulane’s supplemental essays?

Each Tulane essay for the 2022-2023 application cycle is posted on the Common App site. The Tulane supplemental essays asks you to discuss your experiences, background, and reasons for applying to Tulane.

Tulane Essay PromptRequired/OptionalWord Count
Please briefly describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University.Optional50-500
Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here.Optional50-500
If you would like to elaborate on one of your activities, you may do so briefly here.Optional20-250

Think of the Tulane supplemental essays as an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are beyond what you already wrote in your Common App personal statement. Successful Tulane essays will present a clear, cohesive, yet dynamic picture of who you are.

Tulane Supplemental Essay Requirements

Your Common App essay is a key part of your Tulane application. Tulane requires students to respond to the Common App essay prompt essays. 

Beyond the Common App essay, you’ll find three Tulane supplemental essays that are all optional this year. However, we recommend that you complete each Tulane supplemental essay to maximize your Tulane admissions odds, especially given the low Tulane University acceptance rate. Think of each Tulane essay prompt as a required part of the Tulane supplemental materials. 

Remember, Tulane also receives your personal statement submitted through the Common App or the online Tulane application. This means that you will submit your Tulane essays as well as your Common App essay.

Need some help writing your Common App essay? Get great tips from our Common App essay guide.

How many essays are required for Tulane?

tulane essay

There are three optional Tulane essays. This year, each Tulane supplemental essay is technically optional. However, hopeful applicants should consider them all required. One Tulane essay prompt asks you to write a “Why Tulane” essay, another asks you to discuss your diverse perspective, and the third asks you to elaborate on an extracurricular experience.

In short, students are only required to complete the Common App essay in their Tulane application; all three supplemental essays are optional.

In addition, consider each “optional” Tulane essay a vital part of the Tulane supplemental materials. Tulane admissions is extremely selective. Hopeful applicants should think of every Tulane supplemental essay as an opportunity to impress Tulane admissions. While each Tulane essay isn’t technically a part of the Tulane application requirements, they still can make a huge difference in the Tulane admissions process. 

The Tulane University acceptance rate is relatively low (just 10%), so each Tulane essay can help you stand out. With so many hopeful applicants, you need to do everything possible to present yourself as a dynamic, serious, and motivated student. Competitive applicants will treat each Tulane essay as a required and important part of the Tulane application process. 

Tulane essay #1: ‘Why Tulane’ Essay 

Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University (up to 500 words).

This Why Tulane essay is a classic type of essay. You may wonder whether you should write the Why Tulane essay since it’s listed as optional. However, if you are serious about being admitted, you should consider the Why Tulane essay a required part of your application. The word limit is as vague as it gets, so we recommend 300-500 words. Your Why Tulane essay will be more effective if it is focused and concise instead of long and rambling.

An effective Why Tulane essay will think beyond the Tulane University acceptance rate and Tulane University ranking. Though these factors feel important, they do not ultimately relate to your application. When answering this Why Tulane essay, don’t just write about why you want to attend Tulane. Think of this Why Tulane essay as a “why fit” essay. Your college experience is a two-way street; you will both contribute to and benefit from the Tulane community.

Successful Tulane supplemental essays will reflect the mission and key values of the school—a strong research institution with a tight-knit campus community and small class sizes. In your Tulane essays, capture the essence of Tulane’s demanding academics and community engagement.

Service-oriented

tulane essay

If you are committed to serving others, Tulane is an excellent place for you—and this “Why Tulane” essay is a perfect opportunity to discuss your commitment. The school has many opportunities to explore service learning courses, service research projects, and service abroad.

When writing your Why Tulane essay, be specific about classes you want to take, research opportunities you want to pursue, clubs you want to join, and places you want to serve. Successful Tulane supplemental essays will take these a step further, however. Don’t just name-drop. Instead, connect them to your experiences and goals.

Strong “Why Tulane” essays will incorporate some or all of the following questions: How and why will you choose to spend your time at Tulane? In what ways will your involvement help you pursue your major? How will the ways you spend your time light up your curiosity to learn? How will they spur you forward in your career? In your Why Tulane essay, describe specifically how Tulane’s offerings will help you succeed.

Make it personal

Avoid cliché phrases, generalizing, and overly emotional appeals. Don’t discuss traditions that are too well-known or frequently written about, either. Instead, make it personal. Perhaps you attended a campus tour that left an impression on you or you attended a webinar that inspired you to apply. Mention these specific and personal connections to Tulane in your essay. What put Tulane at the top of your college list?

This essay prompt is so broad that you have lots of freedom. Make sure to discuss both academic and non-academic reasons for applying to Tulane. No one expects you to have your future fully planned when writing the Why Tulane essay. However, the admissions team does want to see that you can articulate a genuine plan based on your interests and goals.

For each Tulane essay, brainstorm, research, outline, draft, and proofread before submitting. Your Tulane essays should represent your best content and writing ability.

Tulane Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Does your essay highlight why you would succeed at Tulane specifically?
  • Is your Why Tulane essay both specific and personal?
  • Does your essay “show” instead of “tell” through vivid details?
  • Do you clearly and concisely write your response to the Why Tulane essay prompt?

Tulane Essay # 2 – Diverse perspectives essay

This Tulane essay prompt, like the Tulane why school essay, is also optional. However, we strongly recommend that you complete it to maximize your chances against the lower-than-average Tulane acceptance rate. 

By explaining a specific perspective that has shaped your background, your response to this Tulane essay prompt will enhance your application. The prompt provides several suggestions for perspectives—family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, or religious group—but also allows for others.

Does something on this list resonate with your identity? What makes you stand out among your peers? Do you have a special hobby or interest? Are you soon to be a first-generation college student? Did you take a meaningful gap year? What else have you not shared about yourself with Tulane? Ultimately, how can your response to this Tulane essay prompt illuminate who you are?

Since there are only three Tulane supplemental essays, you’re bound to have some part of your identity you haven’t yet shared with admissions. Rather than thinking of this Tulane essay prompt as another box to check, think of it as another opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are. Successful Tulane supplemental essays will delve into diverse perspectives you haven’t discussed elsewhere in your application.

When answering this Tulane essay prompt, you may have trouble being personal and specific when others share your identity. The most effective Tulane essays will make a broader identity unique to you by telling a compelling story and detailing how your identity has impacted your own life.

Tulane Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Does your response to the Tulane essay prompt highlight something that you have not discussed elsewhere on your application?
  • Is your Tulane supplemental essay personal and specific?
  • Do you tell a compelling story about who you are for this Tulane essay prompt?

Tulane Essay #3: Extracurricular essay

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 words)

Choosing a topic for this Tulane essay prompt can feel overwhelming. Brainstorm several ideas before selecting one. Most strong Tulane applicants will have many options to choose from when responding to this Tulane essay prompt.

The most successful Tulane supplemental essays will be well-written and unique. You don’t have to write about the activity that you are most involved in, especially if you already discussed that activity in your Common App personal statement. Just make sure that the activity you choose matters to you.

Focus on impact

tulane essay
extracurricular activities

Effective Tulane essays will discuss why you chose to get involved in your activity or work experience, how you have dedicated yourself to it, and how this activity has impacted your community, growth, and character. As you address these questions, focus primarily on impact. What did you do, why did you do it, and what was the result? Choose the experience where you have made the biggest difference when writing your Tulane supplemental essays.

This Tulane essay prompt is quite straightforward but like some of the other Tulane essays it is very broad. You have the freedom to tell your story to the admissions committee. The best Tulane supplemental essays will either focus on one experience—one conversation, one interaction, one day—or discuss your involvement in an activity over time. The more detail you can provide, the stronger your response to this Tulane essay prompt will be.

Tell your story

When answering this Tulane essay prompt (and all others), be vivid in your storytelling. Instead of just stating what happened in your Tulane supplemental essays, use specific examples and descriptions. Be vivid without being wordy—successful Tulane supplemental essays will be concise. You only have 250 words, so don’t be too long-winded when answering this Tulane essay prompt.

Most importantly, include the “So what?” in your Tulane supplemental essays. While you should outline what you did, you should spend most of your Tulane essay describing why your actions mattered. What skills can you highlight? How did your mindset shift? What values does this activity reveal about who you are? Ultimately, why did you choose to tell this story instead of another?

Tulane Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Is your response to this Tulane essay prompt original and personal?
  • Did you select a topic that is interesting and important to you?
  • Does your Tulane essay focus on your growth, skills, and values?
  • Do you avoid repeating content that has already been discussed in your Tulane application?

How do I write the Tulane supplemental essays?

The admissions team evaluates your Tulane supplemental essays for both content and writing ability. So, what you choose to write about for your Tulane essays matters as much as your writing skill. Proofread your Tulane essays for all grammatical and syntactical errors. Finally, remember to review your essay for the message it sends to the admissions committee.

With three Tulane supplemental essays, you have plenty of freedom to explore different parts of your identity. Consider your application as a whole package. Each of your Tulane supplemental essays should provide a new and deeper window into who you are.

It may feel overwhelming to complete three Tulane supplemental essays. However, if you give yourself adequate time to plan, draft, and revise your Tulane essays, you can eliminate much of the stress in the application process. 

Additional tips for “Why School” essays

The why school essay is one of the most common types of essays that you will see during the college application process. The why school essay basically asks students to elaborate on why they want to attend that specific university. In a why school essay, students should be specific. 

In a why school essay, you can talk about the Tulane-specific programs that have caught your interest. Or you could discuss what clubs you would get involved in on campus. Alternatively, you may want to incorporate specific values and missions of the university. How do you personally resonate with that mission? What will you gain from attending that school? And what would you bring to its campus? 

Top 4 tips for writing a great “Why School” essay: 

#1 – Brainstorm

For each school that requires a why school essay, start by looking at the specific offerings. Write down what you like and would participate in. 

#2 – Demonstrate your passion

Use your brainstorming list to decide what you want to write about. You should talk about the programs or extracurriculars unique to your school that most excite you. What makes you want to apply?

#3 – The more detail the better

Remember that being general or vague in a why school essay is the kiss of death. It won’t impress Tulane admissions, or any other admissions committee. Elaborate on what interests you (unique to that school) and why. You can also mention specific professors, counselors, etc. 

#4 – Demonstrate “fit

You want to use your why school essay to say what makes you want to attend, but you also need to show that you would be a great fit for the university. Why should you be selected out of the large pool of applicants trying to impress Tulane admissions? What will you bring to campus? And how will you carry your Tulane education into the future?

How important are Tulane’s supplemental essays?

tulane essay

The Tulane acceptance rate is just 10%. The slim Tulane acceptance rate comes from the school’s widespread acclaim. Given the low Tulane acceptance rate, the high Tulane University ranking, and the school’s holistic admissions approach, your Tulane essays can make a major difference. Your essays can strongly influence your admissions results and your chances at beating low acceptance rates.

You should approach each of the three Tulane supplemental essays with thought and care. In your response to each Tulane essay prompt, you have an opportunity to highlight different aspects of your Tulane application. Consider each Tulane essay as another one of the Tulane application requirements. 

There are several key elements of your application that you must submit in addition to your Tulane supplemental essays in order to meet the Tulane application requirements. Read the complete checklist to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll notice that Tulane admissions has gone test optional another year. This makes your essays even more important. While many students will have impressive test scores, GPAs, etc., you should use your Tulane essays to help you stand out from the pack.

Check out these college essay examples to see what makes a successful college essay. 

Five tips to make your Tulane essays stand out

Writing each Tulane essay may seem overwhelming. You may even be tempted to not add them to your Tulane supplemental materials as they technically aren’t part of the Tulane application requirements. However, that would be a huge mistake when it comes to your admissions odds. Competitive Tulane applicants need to consider each Tulane essay as “required.”

Five more tips for your Tulane supplemental essays: 

#1 – Start early

Give yourself ample time to complete each Tulane essay. In your writing process, leave plenty of time to brainstorm, draft, outline, and edit your Tulane supplemental essays. The Regular Decision deadline for Tulane is on January 15th.

#2 – Be authentic

Make it your goal to write unique and compelling Tulane essays that tell your authentic story. Your Tulane essay shouldn’t be able to pass as anyone else’s. Before submitting, reread your application and proofread your Tulane supplemental essays to make sure it truly shows who you are.

#3 – Show passion

Each Tulane essay should show your passion for the school. Don’t fake it. After brainstorming topics, choose to write on what got you genuinely excited about attending. Be sure to be specific and not vague in each Tulane essay. 

#4 – Ignore stats

When writing each Tulane essay, don’t get hung up on factors like the Tulane University acceptance rate or the Tulane University ranking. At the end of the day, focus on why Tulane is the school for you, and use your application to show the admissions team why.

# 5 – Invest time in the Why Tulane essay

The why school essay is extremely important to Tulane admissions when evaluating applicants. Make sure your application shows that you’re genuinely interested in attending Tulane. Even if the Tulane University ranking initially helped you learn about the school, you should focus on Tulane’s specific offerings in your Tulane supplemental essays

Tulane Supplemental Essays — Final Thoughts

In your Tulane supplemental essays, show the admissions committee who you are as a person, student, and community member. Research Tulane so you can write the most tailored and specific Tulane supplemental essays. Choose topics for each Tulane essay that genuinely get you excited about attending. 

Remember that the Tulane application requirements include the Common App essay prompts. Leave yourself plenty of time to write thoughtful responses to not only each Tulane essay, but to each Common App essay as well. Every Common App essay and Tulane essay is another opportunity to impress Tulane admissions. 

You can also visit resources like the Tulane University admissions blog. There, you’ll find Q&As from the Ask the Dean event and other helpful information for applicants. There is not one successful type of Tulane student, so be yourself in your Tulane supplemental essays. Good luck!


Still not sure how to approach the Tulane essay? For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources, click here. Want help crafting your Tulane University supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a complimentary advising consultation online.