How to Write the Rice University Supplement 2018-2019

Located in Houston, TX, Rice University is a private research university known for its small student-teacher ratio and its science programs. In 2017, Rice accepted 16 percent of applicants.  

The Committee of Admission is interested in getting to know each student as well as possible through the application process. Please respond to each of the following prompts. 

1. There is a breadth of intellectual opportunities here at Rice. Further explain your intended major and other areas of academic focus you may explore. (150 word limit)

This first question is about intellectual opportunities. Remember, Rice is a highly-academic university, and if you don’t know that by now, you probably shouldn’t be applying there. In your answer, you should discuss classes and opportunities for undergraduate research you’d like to take advantage of, and any other academic offerings that appeal to you. Be straightforward and to the point.  

One note: DO NOT say that you don’t know what you want to do. Even if you don’t know what you want to major in, don’t let on. You must be specific and decisive here. What you say in this application is not binding. Show Rice (and all schools for that matter) that you’ve done the research, you know what they have to offer, and you’re a perfect match for these very specific reasons. Write about a hyper-focused interest and early in your response, tie in why that interests you.

2. What aspects of the Rice undergraduate experience excite you and led you to apply? (150 word limit)

Your response here should be about everything else Rice has to offer that you didn’t write about in the first question. Talk about the extra-curriculars you’d like to do. (Just make sure they are an extension of whatever you’re doing in school now). Remember, show focus and decisiveness. Even if you’re really sick of leading your school’s mechanical engineering club and you just want to do rhythmic gymnastics when you get to college, don’t let on here.  You can also talk about the location of Rice located in Houston’s historic Rice Military neighborhood. It’s right next to one of the world’s most prominent medical centers, in one of the country’s most diverse and progressive cities, and also, in a place that just survived a major natural disaster.

If you are hyper-academic, you could double-down on talking about research opportunities here, but since it’s only 150 words and you just talked about academics, it’s better to talk about something else.

3. In keeping with Rice's long-standing tradition (known as "The Box"), please share an image of something that appeals to you. See the Help Section for more information. 

This one really tends to make people anxious.

One of our students a few years ago photoshopped a photo of herself into a bunch of scientists who were accepting their Nobel prizes. She utilized the box to demonstrate her creative abilities, built upon the interests that were already highlighted elsewhere in her application, and showed humor. She ended up going to Penn, but she did get into Rice.


Need help coming up with creative ideas for a supplement? Reach out to us here. We are great at getting our students to think outside the box on applications.