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Conquering Columbia University's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays

Navigating the stormy sea of Columbia University's supplemental essays can be intimidating. However, with the correct course of action, you can paint a captivating story. In this blog post, we're going to dissect this year's prompts, uncover valuable tips, and provide examples from past successful applications.

Prompt 1: List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150 words)

The first task is an open invitation to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity outside academic confines. Be sincere, and delve into why those books touched you. Remember, it's about the connection you've formed with the books, not merely listing laudable titles.

A 2021 successful essay reads:

"I have always been captivated by dystopian literature; the likes of '1984' and 'Brave New World' have offered me an eerie glimpse into what society might devolve into under tyrannical rule. However, my year was not all bleak — 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Catcher in the Rye' provided me with some laughter and solace."

Prompt 2: Tell us about a concept, theory, or topic you have explored in your high school years. Why did it fascinate you? (200 words)

This prompt offers a platform to shine a spotlight on your intellectual journey and your capacity for critical examination. Explore how the topic shaped your thought process or possibly influenced your academic trajectory.

An example from a 2022 applicant:

"I was first introduced to the Turing Test in my computer science class, an idea that could assess a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, human intelligence. I was riveted, my mind danced with possibilities. This encounter sparked an interest in the overlap of psychology and AI, prompting me to delve deeper into cognitive science. Now, I can see myself pursuing this path at Columbia."

Prompt 3: If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be and why? (200 words)

This essay is a chance to display your enthusiasm and capacity to enthuse others. Flex your creativity, the class doesn't need to be a traditional academic subject.

A gem from a 2020 application:

"The aroma of freshly baked cookies wafts through the room as I present my class 'The Intersection of Cooking and Chemistry.' The inspiration for this unique course comes from my early experiences with my grandmother in her kitchen, where I first found the connection between cooking and chemistry. The class wouldn’t merely be a lecture series, but a hands-on culinary adventure, peppered with chemical theories. I believe the taste of success is much sweeter when theory is brought to life."

As you venture into crafting your Columbia University supplemental essays, prioritize authenticity and share your distinct journey. Highlight your passions, intellectual adventures, and remember it's your uniqueness that will make you rise above the rest. Remember, the admissions committee is eager to meet you. So, provide them with a vivid portrayal of who you truly are, and let your character sparkle.

Best of luck, and let your creativity flow!