“What Matters To You, and Why?” Stanford Supplemental Essay Examples

June 12, 2017

College supplemental essays are designed for applicants to demonstrate their personality and passion, but applicants are often stumped when they look the essay prompt.

Applicants tend to overthink the supplemental essay topic, often spending too much time trying to figure out what admission officers want to read. While it’s important to understand what the question is being asked, your efforts should be focused on what about personality or achievements you want to highlight.

Take one of Stanford University’s supplemental essay topic for example. Here’s the prompt:

What matters to you, and why? (250 word limit)

Instead of thinking about appealing to a university, think about this question as if your best friend just asked you at your usual hang out spot. What would you respond with? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Don’t eliminate those ideas because you think they are too childish or not intriguing enough. These ideas and your reasoning behind is what makes you unique and different.

Here are 5 examples from students who were accepted to Stanford:

Stanford2020

Stanford University ‘20

I have always been envious of characters in musicals: imagine jiving on the streets to Dancing Queen, or saying goodnight with So Long, Farewell! I, unfortunately, don’t quite have the skills to spontaneously set my feelings to music. I am privileged, however, to have music in my life. Keep reading.

              

Yangf

Stanford University ‘20

Why do we humans even exist? For what purpose do we to continue to strive day after day, knowing our inevitable end? As quickly as I have come into this world, I will soon be out of it; I am but a second on an ever-ticking geological clock. Yet, I carry with me an innate longing for greatness, the wish to be immortalized for what I will achieve for mankind. Read on. 

Stanford20

Stanford University ‘20

I am six. Pools of mudfish swim by my ankles, now slick and red with rashes, and when I scoop up the water with a hut! — The pink basket convulses with life, ready to burst. Eyes fixated on the muffled pop-pop of fish breaths, floating about like round balloons and splintering the shimmer of my reflection, I walk home with it. Continue reading.

   

Ejacksmi

Stanford University ‘18

I once stayed up all night with a twelve year old because no one else did.

I cried when my bunny cut her foot; but looked like stone the morning

I found that bunny stiff and cold.

I would rather lose my life than live without the chance to spend another hour in a hallway with a pair of somersaulting angels nothing like the stereotypical eighth grader.

When you ask me what matters,

when you wonder what’s wrong,

when you fail to catch my attention as I stare into space,

when the sky looks like a prayer but I act like it’s crumbling down,

pretty much every answer is true.

View full essay.

JCStanford20

Stanford University ‘20

When my brother was diagnosed with leukemia for the first time over five years ago and when he relapsed last April, I saw firsthand how proper medical treatment, access to mental health resources, availability of marrow donors, and an insurance policy that didn’t set a lifetime cap or discriminate against preexisting conditions could help deliver my brother through a painful cancer journey. But he is only one of many, one child fortunate enough to have these resources. Continue reading.

———

Interested in reading these students full personal statements, and the What Matters to You, and Why supplemental essay? Unlock all of them in one go with our curated package

 

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

StanfordBaeAre…
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!!!
VincentN
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine

Technophile and Starbucks lover majoring in CS with a passion for STEM and the arts.
tannar2020
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA

Born in small town, interested in math, science, and literature. Attending Stanford University starting fall of 2016, planning on studying engineering or computer science, with a minor in a foreign language.
stanford2020
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, Princeton, MIT, UC Berkeley, Columbia

So excited to be a part of Stanford's Class of 2020! Would love to help you achieve your dreams too!

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