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How to Write the University of Arizona Honors College Essay and the UA SALT Center Essay

The University of Arizona has supplemental essays for students who are applying to specific programs for undergraduates.

If you’re applying to the Honors College at the University of Arizona, you’ll need to write an essay that will help you show off your unique strengths in 500 words or less.

There is also a separate essay for students applying to the SALT Center at the University of Arizona. You’ll need to write an essay about a time when you overcame a challenge.


First, let’s take a look at the University of Arizona Honors College essay prompt!

Please tell the admissions committee a little about yourself. You might consider including some of the following: your background, academic interests, where those interests come from, what makes you unique, career or professional goals, obstacles you've overcome, why it's important for you to be part of the Honors College, a talent you have, an extracurricular activity that's been particularly impactful, or anything else you would like for the committee to know.” (500 word limit)

This is pretty broad! Here are some brainstorming questions and ideas to help you narrow down your topic.

Try to write about a topic that shows readers how you’ve demonstrated one of these five traits:

  • Intellectual Curiosity: Do you have an interest that you can’t stop talking about? Maybe you’re obsessed with physics and you read about it in your free time, or maybe you love art and you’ve taken all of your school’s art electives. If you’re really curious about something, it could be a great topic.
  • Drive: Are you super-determined to achieve your goals? For example: Maybe you got a bad grade in a writing class, but you worked hard to improve your skills, shared your work with others to get feedback, and won a writing competition the following year. Consider how your determination has helped you achieve your goals!
  • Initiative: Did you do something awesome during high school that wasn’t required of you? If so, you could write about how you took initiative. For example: Maybe you taught yourself physics over the summer even though it wasn’t required of you, or decided to start a petition to fight an unfair dress code in your school. Consider how you’ve demonstrated initiative in the past few years.
  • Diversity of Experience: Do you have a unique perspective or experiences that your peers don’t have? Consider how this part of your background has guided your actions, interests, or goals. For example: Maybe you’re bilingual, and this led you to develop an interest in studying linguistics. Maybe having a parent who is an immigrant led you to get involved in activism. Think about how your perspective has influenced your choices in your school or community.
  • Contribution to Community: Have you done something to make your school or community a better place? For example, maybe you helped run a food pantry in your school, took on a leadership role in a student group, or organized a protest. If you made a positive impact, it could be a great topic. What specific things did you do, and what impact did you have?

Tip: When you choose your University of Arizona Honors College essay prompt, consider how it will work with your Common App or Coalition App essay. Try not to write about the same thing. Take this opportunity to show a different facet of who you are.


There is also a supplemental essay for students who are applying to the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center, which provides academic support resources to students with learning disabilities. 

Now let’s take a look at the University of Arizona SALT Center admissions reflection prompt.

Describe a difficult situation you have encountered in your life and tell us how you handled the situation.”

This prompt has no length limit. In this situation, we recommend using the Common App’s essay word limit as a useful guideline: try to stay in the 250-650 word range.

For this essay, you have a lot of freedom to pick a topic. For example, you could write about a challenge you faced in school, in an activity, or in your community. 

Try to write about a challenge that led to personal growth. After you overcame this challenge, did you develop a new interest, value, trait, or goal? If you answered yes to one of those, it could be a great topic!

Tip: Try to write about a topic that is not too similar to the other essays you will submit to the University of Arizona, including your Common App or Coalition App essay and any other supplements.

Get started with our free brainstorming tools!

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

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