College Essays

UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental

Prompt (UNC Chapel Hill) 

Discuss one of your personal qualities and share a story, anecdote, or memory of how it helped you make a positive impact on a community. This could be your current community or another community you have engaged in. 


Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it brings little kids to life. In fact, in my 3 summers helping kids write speeches at the Ridge Speech and Debate summer camp, I’ve heard more insane questions than most talk show hosts. For most of them, I had an answer. But it wasn’t until Grace, a fifth grade girl, asked me a question so simple that I was at a loss for words.

“Why are shorts so bad?”

“Huh?” I said, spacing out.

“My school says they’re distracting. Why?

Despite doing an activity that encouraged me to talk, I didn’t know what to say. How was I supposed to tell an 11 year old girl that she couldn’t wear shorts because there were adults in her school who found it inappropriate? How was I supposed to tell an 11 year old girl that her body was considered “distracting” to boys?

“I don’t know why,” I replied. “Do you want to write a speech about it?”

She did. So Grace and I sat and wrote a speech to her school’s principal on why female students should be allowed to wear shorts and tank tops. We stayed 30 minutes longer that day, and as I watch this little girl advocate for the right to be comfortable in her own body, I think of all the women who are terrified of speaking up because they don’t want to cause trouble. I’m glad Grace is causing trouble—and that I encouraged her to do it. 

Tips for Writing

  • Brainstorm topics that aren’t on your activities list. You want to use the limited space you have in your supplementals to talk about aspects of your identity that are otherwise unknown. 
  • Make sure no one else can say this story is theirs. Make it personal and tailored to YOUR identity and experience.
  • Tell a story—it’s a lot more entertaining to read and write an essay when you’re describing an anecdote or event (it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just unique/unexpected and well written).

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