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How to write the Chapman Application Essays 2020-2021

In addition to the Common App personal statement and activities list, 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

There are two prompts for this essay, depending on whether you select a major or are undeclared.


If you select a major, the prompt will be:

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


If you select “Undeclared,” the prompt will be:

Chapman University encourages academic exploration through our dynamic liberal arts curriculum. It’s OK to be unsure of what you might want to major in, however, please tell us about the academic areas that interest you (200 words or fewer)


Either way, admissions readers will be looking for connections between your main academic interest(s) and Chapman’s resources. In other words: Why are Chapman’s learning opportunities a good fit for you?

  • Note: if you select Undeclared, you’ll want to identify 1-3 academic areas that interest you. What do you want to explore at Chapman?

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 your major or areas of interest, and look for 3-5 specific examples of resources that interest you.

  • For example: courses, concentrations, faculty, research opportunities, internships, study abroad opportunities, relevant student groups, etc.

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

Out of the thousands of universities and colleges, why are you interested in attending Chapman? (200 words or fewer)

To start your brainstorming process for this Chapman application essay, identify about 3-5 specific things you like about Chapman. Explore the Chapman website to help you add details, then jot down some notes about why you like each item on your list.

  • Try not to repeat content from your Why Major 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 my virtual visit – enjoyed hearing students talk about the business program and 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 – Campus Culture:

"Our campus is committed to listening to and learning from our students. With your knowledge of Chapman, what ways would you implement a more welcoming and diverse campus culture through physical spaces, programming, classes, etc.?"

This prompt is a great choice if you are passionate about a specific issue, culture, or underrepresented group. 

If you’re thinking about using this prompt, try to make sure you can provide clear answers to these questions:

  • What would you like to do to promote a welcoming and diverse culture at Chapman?
      • Try to be as specific as possible. For example: “I want to start a student group to help students learn ASL” is more specific than “I want to start a student group to promote a diverse campus culture.”
  • Does Chapman already have a resource that is similar to your idea? Take a quick look at their website. If they already have it, try to think of a new idea.
  • What experiences, interests, or perspectives led you to pick this idea?


Option 2 - Engagement & Growth:

“Knowing what it means to be a Chapman Panther, how do you see yourself engaging with and growing in our community that continues to strive for diversity, equity and inclusion?”

You could approach this prompt in a few different ways.

  • You could focus on how you will contribute to the Chapman community.
    • How have you promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion in your school or community? How will you continue to do this at Chapman?
  • Or, you could focus on how you will learn and grow in the community by seeking out specific opportunities.
    • What is a specific issue related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that you would like to explore in college?
    • Which resources at Chapman will allow you to do this, in or out of the classroom?

Tip: This essay will be short, so try to focus on just one idea!


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): Adding campus resources for immigrant students

Why This Works: Her leadership in her school’s Black community could have been her topic for the Chapman “Choose 1 of 2” prompt, but she had already addressed it in her Common App essay. So, for her Chapman essay, she chose a topic that would allow admissions readers to learn about some of her other 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?
    • 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?
    • Submitted by a prospective student of the Fall 2019 class: If Chapman’s admission team came to visit your hometown, what site would you take them to and why?
    • Submitted by a prospective student of the Fall 2020 class: What can you give a 30-minute presentation on without any preparation?
    • Submitted by a prospective student of the Fall 2021 class: If you could teach a college course that best describes you, what would it be called?


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
  • Draft 2: Playing with my dog, a rescue pit bull, whose recovery from an injury inspired my goal of becoming a veterinarian.
  • Why Draft 2 Works: He focused on one specific topic, and explained how his topic connects to one of his goals.

Click here for our guide to the Common App essay

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

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