College Essays

University of Wisconsin-Madison Supplemental

Prompt (University of Wisconsin-Madison Supplemental)

Tell us why you decided to apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest. Max 650 (Recc 300–500)


I have decided to apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison because of a myriad of compelling reasons, and my selected first choice major, neurobiology, has played an integral role in this decision. To start, I first heard about the University of Wisconsin-Madison from a friend of a family friend, Bernhard O. Palsson, who received their degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently a professor at the University of California, San Diego. He described the university in high regard and explained how applying to this university would be a great decision due to the tremendous undergraduate science programs the university has. After hearing about this university, I researched and learned that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is renowned for its exceptional academic programs and research opportunities. The university also consistently ranks among the top institutions in the United States and is known for its rigorous academics and commitment to innovation.

Moreover, the university provides many opportunities for students to be involved in scientific research. Programs such as the Neuroscience Training Program (NTP) allow undergraduate students to have hands-on experience with research going on in the field of neuroscience with an NTP faculty member, which would give me valuable experience that would help me in medical school after college. The research on neuroplasticity and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus are research topics that the NTP does that intrigue me. Also, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is a very high-ranked and nationally accredited medical school, which is an ideal place for me to go to medical school after finishing university. In addition to this, I visited the campus over the summer with my family, and the university’s campus is stunning. The surrounding city of Madison is also sprawling with countless opportunities and things to do. 

I chose neurobiology as my first choice major because the fields of neurobiology and neuroscience have always fascinated me. My sophomore year of high school was the year I took honors Anatomy and Physiology, which is my favorite class to date. This class was my introduction to the field of medicine and, more specifically, my introduction to neurobiology. Our third class unit focused on the central and peripheral nervous systems of the human body, and this unit piqued my interest the most. The challenges of learning about the intricacies of the nervous system and the complexities of the brain were both fascinating and appealing in an intellectually stimulating sense. We also had the opportunity to dissect a cow brain and examine the perplexing inner workings of the brain, which further expanded my curiosity about the subject. My selected major also aligns with my current career goals, which are to graduate medical school and complete my residency in order to become a neurologist or a neurosurgeon. Neurobiology will provide me with a strong foundation and understanding of the functions of the nervous system, which will later help me excel in medical school. To achieve my dreams, I know that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the best school for me because the neurobiology program will allow me to achieve my full potential in the field of medicine and, more specifically, neurology down the line. 

Tips for Writing

  1. When answering a prompt that requires you to explain why you want to apply to a particular university, demonstrate that you researched about that specific institution and do not state general obvious reasons
    1. Write about any connections you have to the university through a friend or family member
    2. Explain how the university will help you achieve your goals after graduating from the institution
    3. Relate the major that you chose to why you want to attend the university 
    4. Do not just state apparent answers such as “I want to attend because it has good academics” 
  2. Write about specific clubs or programs the institution has to demonstrate to the admissions officer that you actually researched the university and that you actually care about getting accepted
    1. Research about specific research opportunities the institution offers if you are majoring in a STEM field. In my case, I wrote about the neuroscience research program that the university offers
    2. For other fields, such as law, write about that specific program in detail and how it differs from programs of other universities
  3. When answering a question about a specific major that you chose to study, be very detailed about why you chose that major and talk about any past experiences you have had in relation to that field 
    1. Talk about any classes you took involving your major and how the experiences in those classes shaped your preference
    2. Mention any extracurricular or volunteer work related to your major that you have done
    3. Explain how the major you chose will affect your future after college and tie it back to why you chose that major
    4. If you apply as undecided, mention any particular fields you find attractive due to experiences you have had in a class or an extracurricular

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