Stanford University 2017-2018 Short Answer Prompts & Supplemental Essay Prompts

October 10, 2017

Stanford University is one of the most selective universities in the US, admitting just 4.8% of applicants. The dream school for many students, here are all the short answer prompts and supplemental essays you’ll need to answer in order to apply.

Stanford University is located near San Francisco in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Close to 45,000 students applied to Stanford last year, making the competition extremely tough. With well-rounded undergraduate programs and resources, Stanford attracts many applicants with diverse background and interested, especially those who are interested in entrepreneurship and engineering.

Applying to Stanford University this year? Stanford’s application requires 8 additional short answers and 3 additional supplemental essays:

Short Answer Prompts

1. The following short answer prompts all have a 50 word limit.

2. What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?

3. How did you spend your last two summers?

4. What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?

5. What five words best describe you?

6. When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to, or watch?

7. Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.

8. Imagine you had an extra hour in the day — how would you spend that time?

Supplemental Essay Prompts

Essay Prompt #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. (100 to 250 words)

This essay prompt is slightly different from the essay prompt that was given last application season. Though the prompt changed slightly, the essay prompt is still asking the applicants the same thing: what makes you intellectually curious. Check out a few successful Stanford essay excerpts from essays included in the package below. 


We’ve curated a package of 5 Stanford student profiles that include the response to this specific essay prompt. See how others approached this supplemental essay in full by unlocking the “Stanford Supplement: Intellectual Vitality” package!

Essay Prompt #2

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. (100 to 250 words)

The “Dear Roommate” essay! This essay prompt stumps a lot of applicants because it seems so casual, but can reveal so much about an applicant. It’s difficult to strike that balance: to show off who you are to a peer and to demonstrate your personality to the actual reader, the admissions office. Here are 5 roommate supplemental excerpts that might help you get off to the right start.  


Want to read the supplemental essay examples in full? Unlock the Stanford Roommate Supplement package!

Essay Prompt #3

Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

Again, the Stanford supplement here has changed the wording of the supplement, but the core of the question is still asking the same thing. What is something that is valuable to you? It can be a memory, a book, or even a feeling. Here are 5 successful examples you can take a look at—some wrote about music, others wrote about what the future holds. 


Need more inspiration for your supplemental essays? Unlock our “What Matters To You, and Why? Supplement package!

Applying to college next year?
View the application files, essays and advice of accepted students.

Want access to successful examples of Stanford supplemental essays? Our premium plans offer different level of profile access and data insights that can help you get into your dream school. Unlock any of our packages or search our undergraduate profile database to find specific profiles that can help you make an informed choice about where to apply! 

About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


Browse Successful Application Files

Stanford ‘21

Accepted to Stanford

A Questbridge Match and an aspiring engineer who plans to solve global issues using business, law, politics, and, of course, science.
Stanford ‘21

Accepted to Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley

My spirit animal is Pikachu (that is, a math/science, politics-loving Pikachu!)
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, GA Tech, BC, UCLA

I was originally born in China, and came to the United States at the age of 2. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, frisbee, and archery!
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA, UC Davis

I am a Frosh at Stanford studying studying engineering (computer science or other types) with a (possible) minor in the humanities. Go Trees!!!

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