College Essays

Columbia University Supplemental

Prompt (Columbia University) 

For the list question that follows, there is a 100-word maximum. Please refer to the below

guidance when answering this question: 

– Your response should be a list of items separated by commas or semicolons.

– Items do not have to be numbered or in any specific order.

– It is not necessary to italicize or underline titles of books or other publications.

– No author names, subtitles or explanatory remarks are needed.

List a selection of texts, resources and outlets that have contributed to your intellectual development outside of academic courses, including but not limited to books, journals, websites, podcasts, essays, plays, presentations, videos, museums and other content that you enjoy. (100 words or fewer)*


Ghost Of, The Drunken Boat, The Body’s Question, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood, The Hurting Kind, Dictee, Pachinko, Notes of a Crocodile, The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from Underground, When We Were Sisters, Beloved, Zadie Smith on Shame, Rage, and Writing, Ocean Vuong on War, Sexuality, and Asian-American Identity, Yunchan Lim’s Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3, Chekhov: The Essential Plays, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Cobalt Red, The Stranger, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Know My Name: A Memoir, The Great Pretender, POETRY Magazine, Ploughshares, The New York Times, Associated Press, Monster, Ghost in the Shell, Thirteenth

Tips for Writing
Although people often say to not repeat anything in your application, I think it’s okay to emphasize a point or build a theme around something that’s been extra important to you. Columbia’s list question can be difficult because many students aren’t quite sure what admissions officers are ‘looking for’ (after all, no one can possibly be well versed in all the pieces of media a student could list). My tip would be to list unusual works to demonstrate intellectual vitality. Of course, mentioning classics is fine, but it’s important to establish a diverse list. For example, I included literary fiction, experimental memoirs, interviews, plays, an orchestral performance, nonfiction, literary magazines, presses, an anime, and a documentary. There’s a decent amount of poetry collections here, which complimented my intended major of something in the realm of English, and a few of these items also display my interdisciplinary interests (ie. I’ve included some more philosophical reads, as well as a good deal of literature that investigates culture, identity, and social justice). Whether you’re into STEM or business or music, consider how a seemingly abstract question can reflect your interests and values—maybe you read scientific research journals, or indulge in theater performances. Columbia’s supplements don’t have large word counts, so try to take advantage of every word. And of course, don’t lie to try to sound smarter than you are. Ingenuity isn’t difficult to detect and inconsistencies with other aspects of your application could show.  

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