Expert guidance for all your college essays

Prompt’s Essay Specialists share tips to help you write better essays in less time

Get fresh essay tips in your inbox

All Posts

How to Choose the Best Topics for the Chapman Application Essays 2018-19

UPDATE!  Chapman has changed its prompts for the 2019-20 season.  Check out our all-new guide here.

The Chapman Application has three 200-word supplemental essays and a series of short answer questions. This guide will help you develop strong topics that show your interest in Chapman University and paint a picture of your values, interests and goals.


Why This Major Essay

Please tell us about your interest in the major you selected (200 words or fewer).

  • In this essay, your admissions reader will be looking for connections between your main academic interest (your major) and Chapman’s resources. In other words: Why is Chapman the best place for you to study this major?
    • Note: If you’re not 100% sure of your major, that’s okay! Write about the major you feel most interested in at this time.
  • Your first step will be research!
    • Dig into the Chapman website. Here’s a page that will help you explore Chapman's undergraduate majors. Find yours, and look for 3-5 specific examples of resources within your major that excite you.
      • For example: courses, concentrations, faculty, research opportunities, internships, study abroad opportunities, relevant student groups, etc.
    • As you build your list, jot down a few notes about why you like each resource.


  • Here’s an example student’s brainstorming list:
    • Major: Business Administration with International Business emphasis
    • Resources at Chapman:
      • Electives like Business Across Cultures and International Marketing
      • International Business study abroad program in Grenoble, France
      • Lecture series on International Business in the Schmid Center
      • Chapman Women in Business student group


Why Chapman Essay

There are thousands of universities and colleges. Please share with us why you are interested in attending Chapman. (200 words or fewer)

  • To start your brainstorming process, identify about 3-5 specific things you like about Chapman. Explore the Chapman website to help you add details.
    • Try not to repeat content from your Why Major essay.
  • Jot down some notes on what you like about each item on your list.
  • Note: If you’ve visited campus or interacted with Chapman admissions staff, it’s great to include this in your essay!


  • Let’s revisit the example student from above. Here’s her Why Chapman brainstorming list:
    • Spanish Minor – Elective courses to improve business vocabulary, like Spanish for Business
    • Positive experience during campus visit – enjoyed attending Spanish and Business classes and talking to students about campus life
    • Volunteer opportunities – Alternative Break program and Chapman Day of Service
    • Club Rowing team


Choose 1 of 2 Essay:

For your next Chapman application essay, you’ll be asked to choose from 1 of 2 prompts. Here are some tips to help you choose the best prompt for your application.


Option 1 - The Chapman Diversity Project:

The Chapman Diversity Project is a campus-wide initiative with eight different Advisory Groups. These groups identify, recommend, and support creative strategies for promoting and enhancing our campus community. They also respond to any issues, needs, and concerns identified on our campus. Suggest an Advisory group or select one of the existing groups below and share how you would contribute to the advancement of our campus community. (200 words or fewer)

Existing Advisory Groups
Disabilities and Accessibility
Faith, Spirituality, and Secularism
LGBTQ Communities
Military Affiliates
People of Color
Socio-economic Stratification
The Status of Women
International Communities


  • This prompt is a great choice if you are passionate about a specific culture or underrepresented group.
  • If you’re thinking about using this prompt, try to make sure you can provide clear answers to these questions:
    • Why are you passionate about this specific group?
    • What ideas, skills, or perspectives would you be able to contribute to the Advisory Group?


Option 2 – The ‘I Am Chapman’ campaign:

The ‘I Am Chapman’ campaign on our campus was created to foster an appreciation and awareness of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice for all. We celebrate our students’ individuality in all of its forms including their personal experiences, culture, religious beliefs, opinions, ancestry, race, ethnicity, interests, ability, geographic backgrounds and family traditions. Given the diverse experiences and perspectives of our community members, the admission committee would like to know what makes you ‘Chapman?' (200 words or fewer)

  • Most students will have something in their life that fits this prompt, but sometimes it can be challenging to find the right topic. So let’s start with a brainstorming exercise inspired by Chapman’s “I am Chapman” website.
    • Complete the following sentence: “I am a _____”
    • Set a timer, and complete the sentence as many times as you can. Try to list at least five identities. For example:
      • I am a violinist
      • I am a proud Wisconsite
      • I am a feminist
      • I am a gamer
      • I am a third generation Russian immigrant
    • Look at your list- are there any identities that jump out at you as being core to who you are, or any identities that stand out as being in conflict with one another? Pick TWO to center your essay around.
      • For example, the student above might write about reconnecting with her ancestors by playing Russian folk songs, or about any conflicts she has experienced as an outspoken feminist on Twitch.


Complement your Common App Essay

  • When you choose your Chapman essay topic, consider how it compares to your Common App essay topic.
  • Try to use your Chapman application essay to discuss values, interests, or goals that you didn’t discuss in your Common App essay.

Here’s how an example student handled this:

    • Common App essay topic: Helping her school’s Black Student Union organize a Black History Month event
    • Chapman “Choose 1 of 2” essay topic (Option 1): Creating an Advisory Group for immigrant students
  • Why This Works: She had already addressed her experience as a Black student in her Common App essay. So, for her Chapman “Choose 1 of 2” essay, she chose a topic that will allow admissions readers to learn about some of her other values and interests.


Fast Facts:

Please answer the following questions in one word, phrase, or sentence. There are no right or wrong answers here. We hope you enjoy working on this section as much as we’ll enjoy reading it.

  • What is your dream job?
  • Please list three words to describe yourself.
  • What song should we be listening to while reading your application?
  • Who is your role model?
  • Name one dish you would cook for our admission team.
  • What is your favorite quote and by whom?
  • Name a "hashtag" to describe you.
  • What is your favorite subject?
  • What is the top thing on your bucket list?
  • What is your most prized possession?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • What do you spend too much time doing?
  • Aside from necessities, what is one thing you can't go a day without?
  • We present the following question submitted by a prospective student: If Chapman’s admission team came to visit your hometown, what site would you take them to and why?


  • These fast facts may have a 200 character limit each, but your answers can still provide compelling information about who you are and what you value.
    • Try to connect each response to a broader value, interest, or goal of yours.
    • For questions that ask about something you like or something you want (ie. a dream job, a theme song, a favorite subject), try to explain why you like it.
    • Focus on one idea for each question - don’t try to write a list unless the prompt specifically asks for it.
  • Here’s an example student’s response to one question:
    • Question: What makes you happy?
    • Draft 1: Playing with my dog, painting, going running, spending time with my family and friends
    • Draft 2: Playing with my dog, a rescue pit bull whose recovery from an injury in his early life inspired my goal of becoming a veterinarian.
    • Why Draft 2 Works: He focused on one specific topic, and explained how his dog connects to one of his goals.

 Click here for our guide to writing the Common App Essay

Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

Get Your Essay Reviewed

Related Posts

How to Write the Pitt Honors College Application Essays

To win admittance to the University of Pittsburgh Honors College, you'll have to respond to two short ans...
Reina Dec 23, 2019 11:51:56 AM

How to Write the Cornell Engineering Essay 2019-20

If you want to attend Cornell College of Engineering, you’ll have to write a supplemental essay about you...
Nick Dec 19, 2019 4:09:57 PM

Writing the Cornell Supplemental Essays 2019-20: the CAS Essay

If you’re applying to Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences, you’ll need to write one of the ...
Reina Dec 19, 2019 9:44:48 AM