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How to Write the 2020-21 SDSU Honors College Essay: Get into Weber!

San Diego State's Weber Honors College essays are key — SDSU doesn't admit everyone who fits the GPA requirements.

As it did last year, SDSU Webers Honors College requires a "choose one of two" essay, and an optional "additional information" essay. In this guide, we'll consider how to pick a San Diego State application essay prompt that will show off your amazing qualities ... and score you some scholarship money!

Let's start by looking at the prompts for the required essay.

Every applicant MUST write an essay answering ONE of the two prompts below.  Your essay should be approximately 700 words. Remember to be specific and give examples.

  • If you knew you could not fail and those around you would not only suspend judgment, but wholeheartedly support you...what would you do that you are not currently doing, AND why would you do that particular thing? Be specific when answering and make sure you discuss how your response indicates that you are a good fit for the Weber Honors College's mission, values, and requirements.
  • Even though most colleges require you to submit SAT or ACT scores with your application, research shows they are not the best predictors of your ability to thrive in college. Even GPA can be a problematic predictor. Excluding then these quantitative indicators, what do you think SDSU and the Weber Honors College should look for in applicants and why? Be specific when answering and make sure you discuss how your response indicates that you are a good fit for the Weber Honors College's mission, values, and requirements.


Step One: Identify Values

For both prompts, SDSU wants you to be specific, and show how you're a good fit for the Weber Honors College Mission and Values. Take a few minutes to read through the mission and values on their website. You'll note that they list the following core values:

  • Equality and Diversity
  • Flexibility and Openness
  • Imagination and Curiosity
  • Integrity and Persistence
  • Compassion and Courage
  • Excellence and Accountability
  • Generosity and Engagement
  • Teamwork and Collaboration

As you read, jot down a few notes on each value, asking yourself the following questions.

  • On a scale of one to three, how important is this value to me? (Not that important, fairly important, or the most important?)
  • On a scale of one to three, how strong am I in this value? (Not that strong, fairly strong, or very strong?)
  • What are some times when I've exhibited this value, or used it to solve a problem?
  • What is a goal or dream I have that this value would help me achieve?

It's important to note that you won't be equally strong in every value! That's ok! The point of this exercise is to find the areas where you can prove that you are strong. For your SDSU Honors College application essay, it's better to focus on just one or two values rather than trying to cover them all.

After completing this brainstorming exercise, you should have identified one to three core values that are key to who you are . You'll also have a few experiences and goals to tie to those values. You're ready to pick a prompt and a topic!


Step 2: Choosing Your Prompt

Which prompt should you pick? That depends. Do you want to highlight your goals, or your experiences?

  • Pick the first prompt if: you have a dream that's important to you, Whether it's starting a company or researching a scientific conundrum, this is the prompt that will allow you to discuss your passion.
    • If you pick this prompt, you should be prepared to talk about the specific steps you've taken towards this dream already. For example, a student who dreams of making a big-budget superhero movie might discuss learning to storyboard, or achieving surprising visual effects for short social media videos.
  • Pick the second prompt if: you can think of an experience you've gone through (or multiple experiences) in which you've displayed the Weber Honors College Values.
    • Don't fall into the trap of talking about other people! Even though the prompt asks what the college should look for in a theoretical applicant, remember that they want to know about you. For example, a student who wanted to highlight the value of "teamwork and collaboration" might discuss learning the importance of this value while competing on their school's robotic's team.


Step Three: Structure Your Essay

The SDSU Honors College essay is just a bit longer than a common application essay, which means you've got some options in how you write it. For tips on how to tackle and outline an essay of about this length, check out our guide to structuring the common app essay.

  • Tip: When an essay doesn't have a hard word limit, aim to keep as close to the suggested word limit as you can. For the Weber essay, we'd advise writing something between 675 and 725 words long.


Additional Information Essay

Finally, let's take a look at the optional SDSU honors application essay, which doesn't have a word limit.

  • There may be additional information that you want considered as part of your admissions application. You might include exceptional hardships, challenges, or opportunities that have shaped or impacted your abilities or academic credentials, personal responsibilities, exceptional achievements or talents, educational goals, or ways in which you might contribute to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment.

You've got a lot of flexibility here! You can use your favorite admissions essay that you've written for another purpose, including your common app essay. You've put a lot of work into it, so why not use it?

  • Tip: use this essay to highlight a different value than what you highlighted in your main San Diego State honors application essay. For example, if your main essay addressed the integrity and persistence you displayed when facing a difficult conundrum in student government, your optional essay might focus on the flexibility and openness you learned when working on a project with someone whose values were very different from your own.


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