university of maryland supplemental essays

University of Maryland Supplemental Essays 2023-24

Wondering how to write your University of Maryland supplemental essays? If so, you’re in the right place. The UMD essay prompts are unique, both in length and style. In fact, all of the UMD supplemental essays are actually short-answer questions. So, applicants need to be strategic about their responses to the UMD prompts if they want to make their application stand out. 

In this guide to the UMD essays, we’ll go beyond just introducing you to the UMD essay prompts. You’ll find tips for building your short answer responses and for writing your all-important personal statement. If you are considering transferring to UMD, we also go over the UMD supplemental essays for transfer students. Finally, we will connect you to several other resources that can aid you in your essay writing journey. 

By the end of this guide, we hope to have answered most of your questions about applying to UMD. Then, you’ll have the tools you’ll need to write excellent University of Maryland supplemental essays. But, before we jump in, let’s start with some UMD Admissions Quick Facts.

UMD Supplemental Essays: Quick Facts

University of Maryland Admissions Quick Facts

  • University of Maryland Acceptance Rate: 44% – If you’re considering applying early, note that the early acceptance rate at UMD is 47.7%.
  • University of Maryland Essay Requirements:
    • 1 (~650 word) personal essay
    • 6 (~650 character) short answer questions
  • University of Maryland Application: Students must submit their UMD application through the Common Application or the StandOut Admissions Network. Prepare your required application materials, including your University of Maryland supplemental essays, before applying
  • University of Maryland Application Deadlines:
    • Early Action: November 1
    • Regular Decision: January 20 
  • University of Maryland Essay Tip: Don’t overthink your responses to the University of Maryland supplemental essays. Go with an answer that feels authentic and then write concise and clear answers to the prompts. 

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 the University of Maryland have supplemental essays?

university of maryland supplemental essays

Yes – there are six University of Maryland supplemental essays. However, the UMD supplemental essays are very different from most other schools’ essay prompts. Let’s look at a few ways they differ.

Short Essays

First, the University of Maryland supplemental essays are very short. On average, supplemental essays range in word count from 150-300 words. The University of Maryland supplemental essays are described as short answer questions, and rightly so. The maximum length is 650 characters, which amounts to anywhere from 92 to 163 words, depending on your word length. With such limited space, you’ll need to be concise in your answers to the UMD College Park supplemental essays.

Quirky Questions

Secondly, the University of Maryland supplemental essays are focused on understanding who you are through different snapshots of your life. Many supplemental essays focus on your academic interests or why you want to attend a given college. However, the UMD supplemental essays ask seemingly random questions like “What did you do last Thursday?”. While the UMD essay prompts might seem random, they’re there for a reason: to take the pressure off! These fun prompts allow students to showcase a realistic and holistic perspective on who they are beyond being a student.

Six Prompts

Finally, there are six UMD supplemental essays. Most commonly, schools have one to two required supplemental essays and potentially an optional one. By offering six University of Maryland supplemental essays, UMD seeks to give students many ways to showcase who they are. And, since they’re all required, applicants have no choice but to make the most of their responses.

Next, let’s look at each of the UMD College Park supplemental essays and talk about how you might respond to each one.

UMD Supplemental Essay Requirements

university of maryland supplemental essays

As we shared above, there are six required University of Maryland supplemental essays. The word limit for each is 650 characters (between 92 and 136 words). In this section, we will start by breaking down what each of the UMD essay prompts is looking for. Then, we’ll get into how you can provide an answer that will impress University of Maryland admissions officers.

Here are the six UMD essay prompts, followed by some guidance about how to respond.

University of Maryland Prompt 1

If I could travel anywhere, I would go to…

The first of the UMD supplemental essays is a fun one. With this question, the school is looking to see your adventurous spirit come through. Answer authentically, while being specific. Avoid being too general by stating the name of a continent or a country. Instead, choose a city, town, or even neighborhood. And, avoid cliches that are overused, such as “I would travel to another time period.” You can generally avoid falling into the trap of cliches if you’re specific and answer in a heartfelt, honest manner.

University of Maryland Prompt 2

The most interesting fact I ever learned from research was… 

In the second of your University of Maryland supplemental essays, UMD is looking for evidence of your curious mindset. Feel free to interpret the word “research” broadly. While actual scientific research is valid to highlight, it’s not the only avenue to choose. You could also talk about a topic you did a deep dive on the internet to learn more about. Again, be specific about why this fact interested you. 

Second, connect your interest back to a personal value or an academic subject you enjoy. For example, maybe you were fascinated to learn that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains enough trash to fill 500 Jumbo Jets. You’d want to then speak to why this was important to you and if learning it had any impact on your future thoughts or actions.

University of Maryland Prompt 3

In addition to my major, my academic interests include… 

The third of your UMD supplemental essays is focused on your academic interests. The key to this prompt are the words, “In addition to my major.” This question is looking for insight into other fields of interest besides your stated major. The University of Maryland supplemental essays create space for you to highlight your various interests and demonstrate your intellectual curiosity.

To answer this question, consider other academic subjects that interest you. Note that you do not have to list a field, like mechanical engineering or business. Instead, you can provide specific topics that interest you. For example, maybe your academic interests include reading Shakespearean plays or learning Italian. Include a few sentences about why you are interested in this topic. Do you have fond memories of acting out Shakespearean plays in sophomore English? Maybe you have plans to one day travel to Florence, so learning Italian inspires you. Whatever you choose, be genuine.

University of Maryland Prompt 4

My favorite thing about last Thursday was… 

Some students may read this UMD supplemental essay prompt and wonder why the school wants to know what happened last Thursday. The answer is simple – they want to know what you really value in your daily life. Don’t overthink your response. Rather, try to reflect upon your previous Thursday with wonder. What did you enjoy about that day? What was exciting, inspiring, or special? Maybe the weather was so cool and crisp that you felt inspired to go for a run. Or perhaps, you found out a friend won an award, and it made you happy to see that person honored. 

If you can’t remember what you did last Thursday, then pick any recent day you do remember. The school does not actually care about Thursday in particular, but rather the way in which you reflect upon your life. Use sensory details and explain why your answer is meaningful to you. Remember, even the little things can give your University of Maryland supplemental essays extra flair. 

University of Maryland Prompt 5

Something you might not know about me is… 

For some students, the most challenging of the UMD College Park supplemental essays is this one because of its open-endedness. However, rather than stress about trying to guess what might impress University of Maryland admissions officers, simply be yourself. This prompt allows you to highlight something that does not fit into any of the other prompts. So, you might wish to answer this question last.

Indeed, there is no “right” answer to this question. But you should still take time to think of something about yourself that is actually meaningful to you. Maybe you love waking up early on Saturdays to have pancakes with your family because it reminds you of how much you are loved. Maybe you paint portraits of your favorite hip-hop artists because you admire their music so much. As with all the UMD supplemental essays, being genuine and explaining why you chose your answer will be key.

University of Maryland Prompt 6

Because we know that diversity benefits the educational experience of all students, the University of Maryland values diversity in all of its many forms. This includes (but is not limited to) racial, socio-economic, gender, geographical, and sexual orientation. We are interested in hearing about your own individual life experiences. In a few sentences, will you please describe how you have learned, grown, been inspired or developed skills through one or more components of diversity. 

The last, but certainly not least important, of the UMD College Park supplemental essays is the diversity question. The first step in answering this question is to remember that diversity is a broad term. Diversity can include things like your race, culture, or socioeconomic status. But it can also include where you grew up, unique childhood experiences, or challenges you may have faced. 

The key is to reflect upon your life experiences and how they have shaped you. For example, maybe you grew up in a family of self-starters, and this shaped your own desire to one day own a business. Or perhaps you were very sick as a child, and overcoming your illness taught you about patience and self-care. Whatever you choose, be sure to explain what this aspect of your life experience taught you. 

Besides your six University of Maryland supplemental essays, you will also submit a personal statement. Keep reading to learn more about what goes into your personal statement.

University of Maryland Personal Statement

university of maryland supplemental essays

In contrast to the six UMD College Park supplemental essays, your personal statement can be up to 650 words long. As such, you have much more space to express your thoughts. Your essay will respond to one of the seven Common App essay prompts.

To clarify, your University of Maryland personal statement is the same as your Common App personal statement. As such, your UMD personal statement will not be school-specific, but will instead contribute to your overall college application brand. So, think of your personal statement as a chance to write about a key part of your identity.

A well-written personal statement usually contains a story-like approach. This includes engaging elements like a hook and a story arc with a beginning, middle, and end. Many personal statements also include reflective moments where the student shares what they learned from the experience they are sharing. Read more about how to begin in this CollegeAdvisor resource on How to Start a Personal Statement.

UMD Essay Requirements – Transfer Students

If you are a transfer student, your University of Maryland supplemental essays will include a college transfer essay. What constitutes a transfer student? A transfer student is:

  • Any student that has at least 12 semester or 18 quarter hours after high school graduation AND
  • Is applying for admission at a new college

Your transfer application must accomplish a slightly different task of explaining to UMD why you wish to transfer schools.

Instead of a personal statement, transfer students will write a college transfer essay for their transfer application. Below is the prompt:

University of Maryland Transfer Students Essay Prompt

Please describe your past academic experiences and your reasons for wishing to enroll at UMD at this point in your academic career. (300 words or less)

To effectively answer this question, transfer students must be clear about what specific aspect of studying at UMD appeals to them. Students who have been out of school for some time or have faced academic challenges should share more about those experiences in their responses. While there may be numerous reasons why you want to transfer, avoid speaking poorly of another school. Instead, focus on what makes you believe you will thrive at UMD.

Please note that your transfer application can only be submitted through the StandOut Admissions Network platform. The early action deadline for submitting a transfer application is: 

  • March 1 of the spring before the fall semester in which you wish to enroll OR
  • August 1 of the summer before the spring semester you wish to enroll

Next, we will explore some tips for writing your UMD supplemental essays.

Tips for approaching the UMD Supplemental Essays

university of maryland supplemental essays

Without a doubt, it can be daunting to see the six UMD essay prompts you have to respond to. After all, that’s a lot of UMD supplemental essays! Below are some tips for ensuring your responses are interesting and showcase the best version of yourself to UMD Admissions.

1. Be authentic

As always, authenticity is key. With these UMD College Park supplemental essays, the school is really trying to get to know multiple sides of you. If you try too hard to impress them, you are defeating the purpose of the UMD essay prompts. Ask friends and family to double-check your ideas and see whether they sound like you. Those who know you best can give valuable input.

2. Write first, then edit down

Some students feel frozen when they see the word count, not knowing how they can respond with only 650 characters. However, don’t worry about the length of your University of Maryland supplemental essays. Instead, write drafts that are as long as you need them to be. Then, go through your drafts and find the most critical ideas. These can be interesting details or insights that you believe are important. 

3. Avoid repetition

Since there are six UMD supplemental essays, you might be tempted to repeat topics or ideas. However, each 650-character essay is valuable real estate. Show something new about yourself in each of your UMD supplemental essays. Remember, Admissions is reading all six as a collection, not each one individually!

4. Share your why

For each of your University of Maryland supplemental essays, answer the question directly but be sure to share your why. Indeed, sharing why you chose an answer can often say as much or more about you than the answer itself. If I tell you my favorite color is blue, you’ve learned one simple fact. Now let’s say I add that my grandmother always wore blue at Sunday dinner and it reminds me of her. Now, you’ve learned that I value my family, miss my grandmother, and am nostalgic for dinners with her.

Next, we will take a deeper look at what the University of Maryland – College Park is known for. With this knowledge, you can write University of Maryland supplemental essays that demonstrate qualities that align with the school’s values.

What is the University of Maryland – College Park known for?

university of maryland supplemental essays

If you are considering applying to the University of Maryland, there is a lot you should know about the school. For one, the University of Maryland – College Park is a competitive public institution. According to U.S. News, the UMD acceptance rate is 44% and the school ranks #19 among top public universities. Similarly, Forbes ranked UMD #34 amongst its top colleges for 2023. As such, writing strong UMD supplemental essays is important to stand out against other qualified applicants. 

The University of Maryland – College Park is known for being the first campus in the UMD college system. The school is located in the suburb of College Park, Maryland. However, students also have easy access to the big cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. With over 30,000 undergraduates, UMD is a large campus with 12 colleges and more than 800 clubs and organizations. UMD is known for its excellent James Clark School of Engineering and Robert H. Smith School of Business, as well as its research initiatives. Lastly, UMD is known for its sustainability initiatives, with a plan in place to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As such a large school with so many resources, UMD College Park is likely to be a great fit for your studies. If you want to attend, keep reading to learn more about how to make your UMD supplemental essays stand out. 

How to make your University of Maryland Essays stand out!

university of maryland supplemental essays

If you want to beat the UMD acceptance rate, you’ll want your UMD supplemental essays to stand out from the pack. Here are a few tips for ensuring that they do:

1. Edit them well

Your UMD College Park supplemental essays are a chance to showcase who you are. But, they are also a chance to showcase your writing skills. Be sure to spend time editing for proper grammar, varied sentence structure, and clear transitions. Consider reading your essays out loud to catch errors. Also, ask a trusted advisor, like your CollegeAdvisor admissions expert or a teacher, to review your essays.

2. Include specific details

In each of your responses, include details that bring your response to life. Only having 650 characters for your UMD supplemental essays may feel limiting. But you can still include vivid imagery that helps to add some color to your essays.

3. Showcase your unique personality

As you write each of your UMD supplemental essays, make sure your voice is coming through. Avoid letting someone else edit your essays to the point where the voice no longer sounds like yours. The University of Maryland admissions officers want to know who you are, not an uncle or a friend. 

Next, we have even more places to find expert advice on how to write your University of Maryland supplemental essays.

More supplemental essay resources from CollegeAdvisor

Below are three CollegeAdvisor resources that might help you as you write your UMD College Park supplemental essays.

  1. 8 College Essay Topics: This resource covers the most common types of supplemental essays. Two of the types described in this article – the personal statement and the diversity essay – are ones you will have to write for your UMD College Park supplemental essays.
  2. How to Write Better Essays: This article provides tips for how to write essays of all kinds. From tips about your writing approach to ideas for how to choose topics, this article covers a lot of essay-writing ground. Review it before writing your University of Maryland supplemental essays.
  3. Common App Essay Examples: Looking for examples of strong personal statements? This article will highlight ten of them and explain why each one was successful. Understanding what makes an essay strong can help you write even stronger University of Maryland supplemental essays.

Continue browsing through CollegeAdvisor’s resources to find lots of free advice for your University of Maryland supplemental essays.

The University of Maryland Supplemental Essays – Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read this guide on the University of Maryland supplemental essays, you should be ready to start writing. In this article, we reviewed the UMD essay prompts, both for a freshman UMD application and a transfer UMD application. We also broke down tips for writing your UMD College Park supplemental essays. 

Inevitably, the college process has a lot of unknowns, which can be stressful. However, writing good University of Maryland supplemental essays is entirely in your control. With this guidance and support from trusted advisors, you can beat the UMD acceptance rate and pursue your college dreams.

university of maryland supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Courtney Ng. 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.