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2020-21 Update: University  of Pittsburgh Essay Prompts + Pitt Honors College Application Essay

The University of Pittsburgh essay prompts have changed for 2020-21, with new questions for both the optional supplement and the Pitt Honors College application essay.  You can look at our updated guide here, but if you just want to know what's changed, read on!

First, instead of three questions, Pitt is going with a Choose 2 of 4 approach.  Here are the choices:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to the Pitt community. Please identify and describe one element of your personal identity, and explain how that element would positively impact and/or progress the Pitt community.
  • Resumes and lists of activities provide the Admissions Committee with an overview of your accomplishments. Please use this opportunity to provide more information by identifying one of your accomplishments and explaining how it has prepared you for a transition into collegiate life.
  • if you could create a new product, process, business, or organization, what would it be? Please describe its purpose and how it would function. (We especially encourage applicants interested in the College of Business Administration or the Swanson School of Engineering to respond to this question.)
  • With thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone, discuss why the University of Pittsburgh is a good fit for you.

There's no word limit here, but Pitt instructions say:

  • The Admissions Committee reviews responses for quality rather than length. However, the most effective responses typically range from 200-300 words per question. Responses that are longer or shorter are acceptable."  So we'd keep it at that length!

You might be wondering if you need to write the Pitt supplement at all.  We highly recommend it, and so does Pitt. The instructions state:

  • Responding to our Short Answer Questions is optional – but strongly encouraged. Getting to know you better is an important part of the holistic review process and answering these questions increases the likelihood that you will be considered for scholarships, guaranteed admission to graduate or professional school, or given special consideration due to extenuating circumstances. Please keep in mind, if you are applying using the Common Application we will not see your Common Application Essay – we encourage you to respond to our Short Answer Questions.

So if the University of Pittsburgh is your dream school, you'll want to set aside some time to dig into these essays. If you've taken the time to brainstorm lots of experiences for your Common Application essay, you'll have no shortage of topics!

If you're hoping to apply to Pitt Honors College, there's an additional essay you'll have to complete. Those requirements have also changed. Instead of two short essays, you'll be writing one longer essay.

  • If you could change anything in the world, what would it be? Explain why and how you would change it. Responses should be stated in 500 words or less.

Get started with our free brainstorming tools!

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