Mount Holyoke is an all women’s liberal arts college in South Hadley, Massachusetts. There are just over 2,200 undergraduate students, classes are generally small, and the school is heavily focused on research. The acceptance rate for the class of 2022 was 50.8%.
Mount Holyoke provides two prompts and you’ll pick one. They say they’re optional, but there’s really no such thing as an optional supplement.
Tell us why you are interested in attending Mount Holyoke College. (250-400 words)
Mount Holyoke is asking “Why Us” and the best way to answer this question is to write about your academic interests and the extracurricular activities you plan to partake in. Start by looking at the list of majors and minors that Mount Holyoke has to offer and choose something that’s related to your academic interests. Their website makes it easy to research professors, classes, special programs, and projects within each major. Find upper level classes you want to take and write about why you want to take them and how they’re related to your interests. A lot of the faculty members work on research projects, so find one you’d want to join and explain why.
There are a lot of different ways to get involved at Mount Holyoke. In the next part of your essay, write about any clubs or organizations you plan to join. The club or organization you choose should align with your major and also be an extension the activities you did in high school. It’s important to stick with what you’ve been doing because you want to show the reader of your essay that your experiences will help you contribute to what’s happening on campus. There might be a project or position in student government you want to join.
Because this essay is capped at 400 words, you shouldn’t have much room left for a lengthy conclusion. If there’s a cultural or community aspect that draws you to Mount Holyoke, now would be the time to mention it. If not, you can close things out briefly.
What makes you proud and how does this help to define you?
There are generally two ways to answer the question of what makes you proud. You might be proud of something you’ve achieved or overcome (I’m proud that by the end of my two week trip to Mexico I was able to speak conversational Spanish and am now working towards fluency) or you might be proud of another person in your life (I’m proud of my younger brother for starting a lemonade stand and donating the money to a local charity.)
Both are equally true, but keep in mind that for this essay you need to write about how what you’re proud of defines you. For that reason, if the thing that you’re proud of isn’t a personal achievement, it needs to be something that has involved you in some way. Going back to the younger brother example, it could work if his lemonade stand inspired you to start a charity that you and your brother now run together. It can be something small: I’m proud of my sister for learning how to drive (she was terrified) and helping her through the process made me realize how much I love teaching.
To start this essay, brainstorm five things that make you proud and think of a story that best exemplifies what you’re proud of. We’ll give three examples below:
I’m dependable (My teacher counted on me to organize a class trip)
I taught myself how to code (My group project’s website crashed and I figured out how to fix it on my own)
I ran three marathons (My dad runs marathons and we train together)
Look at the stories you’ve brainstormed and pick the one that has the best narrative arc. Based on the examples above, the story about how a student fixed a crashed website sounds like the most interesting read. Write that story: the best way to speak to what you’re proud of is to show it, not explicitly state a characteristic and then explain why.
These questions are tricky, so let us know if you need help.