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How to Respond to Every Prompt in the Rice Supplement

The Rice supplement includes a 500-word essay, two shorter Rice University essays, and one quirky prompt about an image that is meaningful to you. This guide will help you develop strong responses for every prompt in the Rice supplement.

First, let’s look at the essays.


Personal Perspectives:

Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspectives would you contribute to life at Rice? (500 word limit)

(not required for Architecture majors. Separate supplement is given for that major)


In this essay, you’ll need to draw a connection between your past experiences and your future as a member of the Rice community.

What makes you unique, and how will you share it with other people at Rice?


Step One: Choose your perspective

  • First, identify an important part of your life that you like sharing with other people. What part of your life do you love to talk about?
    • For example:
      • I’m a second-generation Chinese immigrant
      • I’m a cancer survivor who loves computer programming
      • I’m an environmental activist


Step Two: Connect Your Topic to Rice

  • How will you be able to share your unique perspective with people at Rice? Try to identify about 2-3 opportunities at Rice where you will be able to do this, in or out of the classroom.
    • Struggling to come up with ideas? Try exploring Rice’s website. Are there discussion-based classes, student groups, volunteer opportunities, or campus events that will help you share your perspective with others?


Step three: Your Core Message

  • Finally, craft a 1-2 sentence Core Message that summarizes your response to the prompt. This will provide direction to the rest of your essay.
  • Let’s revisit one of the example students from Step One. Here’s her Core Message:
    • “I am a cancer survivor and I’m interested in computer science. At Rice, I will share my interest in the intersection of technology and chronic illness with my peers.”
  • Why this works: It introduces the perspective she will be writing about, and introduces the idea that she will share this perspective with the Rice community.
  • When you start writing your essay, you’ll want to include your Core Message somewhere in your first 3-4 sentences.


Why Rice:

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

Our “Why This School” essay guide will help you write a great 150-word response to this Rice supplement prompt.


Why Major:

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 guide will help you write a strong 150-word “Why Major” essay for your Rice University application.


The Box:

You’ll also need to answer this unusual prompt about an image that is important to you.

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.

You won’t be able to include a written explanation of your image, so focus on choosing an image that will tell your admissions reader something important about you without any further context.

For example, you could upload:

  • A photo of something memorable that you described in another essay
  • An image that represents one of your interests, like a work of art that is meaningful to you
  • An image that represents one of your values or goals, like a picture of one of your role models


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