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How to Pick the Best Prompt for Your UVM Supplement Essay: Great Answers to Oddball Questions

In the University of Vermont application, you can answer one of five supplemental essay prompts. This is optional, but we recommend it. It’s an opportunity to show the admissions committee another side of you in 500 words or less.

Some of the prompts are pretty quirky, but this guide will help you pick the best one to show off your unique strengths. Let’s take a look at the UVM supplement prompts.


Option 1:

Imagine it is the morning of August 28, 1963 and Twitter has already been developed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has contracted the flu. Rather than giving his historic “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, he instead sends out a Tweet that highlights the central point of his speech. What does he Tweet (in true Twitter fashion, no longer than 280 characters) and why?

Pick this prompt if you’re really interested in at least one of the topics involved. For example, are you passionate about history? Are you fascinated by social media?

Keep in mind that you’ll need to explain exactly why you think that you’ve written a good “twitter version” of MLK’s speech. There’s no right or wrong answer, but your admissions reader will be looking for a thoughtful and clear justification for the tweet.


Option 2:

A time traveling connoisseur gives you a remote with two buttons: pause and rewind. Which would you prefer to use on your own life and why?

This prompt is really open to interpretation! For example, if you choose to rewind, you might decide to relive a great moment from your life, fix a mistake you made, or visit a historical time period. If you choose to pause time, you might talk about the interesting things you would do if you had extra time. For example, how would you use an extra hour in your day? What if you could pause time and do whatever you wanted for a year? There’s no wrong answer, so pick a topic that’s important to you!

Note: This might be a great prompt to use if you really want to talk about a past experience that was important to you.


Option 3:

Congratulations! You have been elected to give a TED Talk. You will give an 18-minute presentation on the topic of your choice to a room full of people who are eager to hear your insights. This talk will also be recorded and made available online, with the opportunity to go viral and affect millions. What is the title of your talk? What is the message you are trying to get across? What would you say in the final minute of the presentation that would leave a lasting impression? Explain.

If you choose this UVM supplement prompt, try to pick a topic that ties directly into one of your values, interests or goals. You don’t have to talk about your own life the whole time, but your essay will be more compelling to your admissions reader if you pick a topic that has personal significance to you.


Option 4:

At the University of Vermont, we have a set of core values called Our Common Ground, which define how we work, live, study, do research, and participate as members of the community. Each core value statement falls under one of the following words: Respect, Integrity, Innovation, Openness, Justice, and Responsibility. Choose one word from Our Common Ground and explain why it is important to you, how it has impacted you, and how you have incorporated it into your life.

Can you think of an experience where you put one of the core values into action? If so, this UVM supplement prompt is a good choice for you!

To help you decide whether this prompt is a good fit, here are a few topics from example students:

  • Core value: Innovation
  • Experience: Built a wall-climbing robot for a science fair


  • Core value: Openness
  • Experience: Started a school-wide campaign to end mental health stigma


Option 5:

Why UVM?

If you really want to attend UVM, this prompt will let you make your case for why you’re a great fit! Pick it if UVM is one of your top-choice schools.

To really be convincing, you’ll need to include specifics. Head over to the UVM website and research the school. Look for specific opportunities that interest you, and make a list! For example, you might like:

  • Academic opportunities, like the fact that CALS students can self-design a major
  • Traits of the student body, like the fact that 80% of students are involved in a student club or organization
  • Experiences, like living in the Dewey House for Community Engagement or joining the club figure skating team
  • The way the school puts their values into action - for example, their diversity course requirement

For more help with writing a “Why School” essay, check out our guide!



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