Application Essay

Help us discover who you are.

See 2014-15 Common App essay topics below.

Is a parent, counselor, or teacher nagging you about writing your essay? Make them stop!

The essay is not so hard once you start putting ideas down. It lets you express things that don’t appear elsewhere on your application. We hope that you’ll plunge into it, thoughtfully develop your ideas, be honest, and let us hear your voice. Tell us who you are by writing about topics or in a style that reveals your personality, character, or sense of the world.

Who Reads Your Essay?

At Wellesley, typically three members of the Board of Admission read your application. The Board includes faculty members, administrators, admission professionals, and current students. We’re music lovers, artists, cyclists, baseball fans, professors, guitar heroes, runners, scientists, poets, beaders, computer techies, and more, thus bringing many perspectives to the admission process.

For all of us, reading your essay is one of the most enjoyable parts of the admission process. Your goal should be to make members of the Board of Admission feel as though we’re sitting down at the table together to discuss your interests and aspirations. We’re keen to know your story.

Let the Board of Admission discover...

  • More about you as a person.
  • The side of you not shown by SATs and grades.
  • Your history, attitudes, interests, and creativity.
  • Your values and goals—what sets you apart.

Some Advice on Process

  • Start working on your essay early; carve out enough time to write a good one.
  • Choose a topic. If possible, write about yourself or something you know, or at least write from your perspective. Be revealing.
  • An essay about some small, even insignificant-seeming thing can be more powerful than the “How I’ll save the world” essay.
  • Write, edit, save: Write your essay in Microsoft® Word or similar software, edit, and save the file (often).
  • Write several drafts; let it sit for a few days, then tackle it again.
  • Get another opinion. Ask: Does it sound like me? Is it interesting from the start? Honest?
  • Proofread! Check grammar and spelling, more than once. Don't forget that spell check doesn’t catch everything.
  • Cut and paste your saved file into the Common Application. This way you will have a separate record of it.
  • Check out the do's and don'ts on the right!

Common Application Essay Questions for 2014-15

To apply to Wellesley you will need to complete the 2014-15 Common Application online. Within the Common App, you will need to write two essays:
(1) An essay on one of the five Common App topics listed below
(2) The Wellesley-specific essay - topic listed below

Common Application Essay Questions

Option #1

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it.  If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Option #2

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

Option #3

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act?  Would you make the same decision again?

Option #4

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

Option #5

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. 

Instructions Please write your Common Application essay in essay format, with a minimum of 250 words and a maximum of 650 words.


Wellesley College Essay on the Common App

The required Wellesley “Writing Supplement,” asks you to respond to the following:

When choosing a college community, you are choosing a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. Generations of inspiring women have thrived in the Wellesley community, and we want to know what aspects of this community inspire you to consider Wellesley.  We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but the “Wellesley 100” is a good place to start. Visit the Wellesley 100 ( and let us know, in two well-developed paragraphs, which two items most attract, inspire, or energize you and why. (p.s. “Why” matters to us.)



Essay Tips

The essay is an example of your writing ability. Create a strong opening, an interesting middle, and a clear conclusion. What else?

  • Narrow your topic and try to be as specific and concrete as possible.
  • The essay doesn’t need to be a tome. In about 500 words, you should be able to express who you are or what is important to you.
  • You don’t need to have had extraordinary experiences to write an extraordinary essay. You don’t need to have done incomparable things to be interesting.
  • Details can be powerful.
  • Engage us. Take risks with style. Vary your vocabulary; check for repetition; use descriptive and vivid alternatives.



Essay Taboos

What not to do.
  • Pick the most difficult topic just to impress the readers, then handle it poorly.
  • Exaggerate or try to impress us with what you think we want to hear.
  • Make statements without supporting them.
  • Try to write a funny story if you’re really not a comic.
  • Use language that is unfamiliar to you.
  • Ramble.