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How to Write the Updated Brandeis Supplement Essay for 2019-20

If you’re applying to Brandeis, you’ll have to choose one of three prompts to answer in 250 words. With this Brandeis supplement essay, you can give admissions readers a glimpse into your personality and passions, and show them a side of yourself that doesn’t appear in other parts of your application.

In order to best accomplish this, which Brandeis supplement essay prompt should you pick?

Below, we’ll look at the Brandeis essay questions and some reasons you might choose each one.

Note: Two of these essays prompts are the same as they were in 2018-19, but one is all new!



Please include a short response to one of the three prompts below (250 words or fewer).

Justice Brandeis said, "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." Tell us how you would implement change in society that others might think impossible. [Same]

Pick this prompt if: you have a specific or semi-specific goal that involves improving the world in some significant and meaningful way. (It might help if you’re something of an optimist, too!) Your plans don’t have to be based around activism or social justice—though they could be. Perhaps you’re committed to revolutionizing some aspect of medicine, technology, athletics, art, music, or even philosophy. (I feel, therefore I am?) The key is that your proposed change would improve people’s lives (be sure to explain why this change is important to you) and that you have some semi-specific plan for how you would enact such change. Be creative and audacious (after all, you’re supposed to reach for the “impossible” here)—but also realistic!


Why would you like to attend Brandeis? [Same]

Pick this prompt if: you can name specific resources, opportunities, or characteristics that make Brandeis the perfect fit for you. This prompt in particular calls for you to research the school’s offerings, both in your main area of interest and in terms of the school’s overall ideals and educational philosophy. Connect your interests and passions to what Brandeis offers. (Yes, this is basically a mini “Why Brandeis” essay.)

  • For example, a student interested in literature from around the world might mention courses such as COML 171A: Literary Translation in Theory and in Practice, the overall interdisciplinary nature of the Brandeis comparative literature major, and opportunities such as studying abroad in the APA/Paris or Sarah Lawrence/Cuba programs.


What is something you have recently changed your mind about and why? [New]

Pick this prompt if: you have a story to tell! This prompt is a great opportunity to show that you have an open yet rigorous mind. Try to pick a topic where your "change of mind" led to a change of behavior; you didn't just think differently afterwards, you acted differently. Although this prompt is similar to a couple of the CAPs prompts, the low word count means you'll want to be much more direct. Instead of starting with a scene, start by stating your "change of mind."

  • For example: A student who thought of themselves as "a STEM person" might describe how their spontaneous decision to audition for the school play helped them let go of the idea that there are strict borders between academic disciplines, leading to a new interest in interdisciplinary work.

Be concise and specific when writing your Brandeis supplement essay; with just 250 words, there’s no room to ramble!


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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