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University of Florida Essay Guide Quick Facts:
- UF has an acceptance rate of 31.0%—U.S. News ranks the University of Florida as a highly selective school.
- There is one school-specific UF supplemental essay required for all applicants. If you are planning to apply to the UF Honors Program, you will complete an additional two UF essays. This means applicants to the UF Honors Program will complete a total of three UF supplemental essays.
Does the University of Florida have supplemental essays?
Yes. Whether you apply through the Common App or Coalition App, you will respond to at least one UF essay prompt. Your UF admissions essay lets the admissions team learn more about you as they review your application.
Any freshman applying through the Common App or Coalition App also can apply to FHP, the University of Florida’s First-Year Honors Program. In addition to the required UF admissions essay, students applying to FHP must complete two additional UF supplemental essays.
While some schools handle honors admissions separately, UF includes all application materials for FHP in the standard UF application. This includes every UF admissions essay. Students completing the UF supplemental essays for the Honors Program, therefore, will submit all three UF essays through the Common or Coalition App. This means that you must complete the UF essays for the Honors Program before you submit your final application.
Need some help writing your Common App essay? Get great tips from our Common App essay guide.
How many supplemental essays does the University of Florida have?
There are three total University of Florida supplemental essays included on the 2021-2022 application.
The University of Florida has one UF essay prompt every student is required to complete. Additionally, if you choose to apply to their Honors Program, you must write another two UF supplemental essays. The first required UF essay prompt asks about your extracurricular engagements. In contrast, the UF essay topics for the Honors Program ask about your interest in the program and your academic priorities.
How do I write the University of Florida supplemental essays?
Here are some helpful tips to help you get started on the University of Florida supplemental essays!
To begin, the University of Florida supplemental essays give you an opportunity to showcase what motivates you, which academic topics interest you, and how you engage with the world around you. Therefore, think of the UF supplemental essays as your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions team on your own terms.
As you brainstorm the UF essay topics, remember your audience. Admissions officers read thousands of UF supplemental essays. Ultimately, if you are vague, superficial, or misleading, your UF essays won't help the UF admissions team understand who you are. To maximize your UF supplemental essays’ impact, you'll want to be as specific, genuine, and authentic as possible.
If you’re having trouble finding topics for your UF essays, don’t worry! We will discuss each UF essay prompt individually below. But first, here are some more technical tips to keep in mind when writing your University of Florida supplemental essays.
Overall, the most important thing your University of Florida supplemental essays should do is answer the UF essay prompt. Even if you write a perfect UF admissions essay, it has failed to serve its main purpose if it doesn't answer every aspect of the prompt.
Each of the University of Florida supplemental essays has a maximum word limit. In each essay, make sure to stick to the word limit and use your space wisely. For example, if you find yourself quoting someone famous or writing about a friends’ experiences, ask yourself how it relates back to you. In fact, the more “you” that you include in your UF admissions essay, the better!
The admissions team reads countless UF essays every year. This makes it particularly important that your UF admissions essay is as clear and polished as possible. Essentially, the more straightforward and refined your writing is, the more easily your ideas and personality will shine through! For this reason, you’ll want to be sure to give yourself enough time to draft, revise, and proofread your University of Florida supplemental essays.
Below, we have provided the 2021-2022 UF admissions essay prompts. Along with the prompts, you’ll find a breakdown of how to approach each UF admissions essay. As a bonus, we included both the general UF essay prompt and the Honors Program prompts. Additionally, we’ll also discuss tips for narrowing down your UF essay topics. If you follow these tips, you'll write University of Florida supplemental essays that will help you stand out in admissions.
University of Florida Supplemental Essays – Question 1 (Required)
Please provide more details on your most meaningful commitment outside of the classroom while in high school and explain why it was meaningful. This could be related to an extracurricular activity, work, volunteering, an academic activity, family responsibility, or any other non-classroom activity (250 words or less).
To start, this UF essay prompt asks you to choose your single “most meaningful commitment.” Even if multiple experiences pop into your head, you must narrow your UF essay topic down to just one commitment. The best University of Florida supplemental essays will use one commitment to reveal fundamental aspects of an applicant's identity.
If you need help choosing your UF essay topics, try making a list using UF's suggested categories. These include: Extracurricular, Work, Volunteering, Academic Activity, Family Responsibility, Other. While writing, remember that this list can include a sport you’ve played, a job you’ve held, or even a responsibility toward a sibling. Once you’ve completed your list, circle three to five topics that engage you most. Do a five-minute free-write for each. If there’s a topic you can’t stop writing about, there’s a good chance that might be your most meaningful commitment!
Once you’ve selected your essay topic, you can consider the rest of the UF essay prompt. This first UF essay prompt is quite open-ended, which gives you plenty of opportunities to showcase your identity. While “Please provide more details” isn’t very specific, remember that your UF admissions essay is an opportunity for the admissions team to get to know you. As you write, make sure to always connect your topic back to who you are.
Struggling to answer this UF essay prompt? Here are some questions to guide your response:
What did I do? Be specific. If your topic is a sport, like basketball, discuss details of playing basketball that your reader might not know. For instance, you might describe waking up at 6 am for practice, practicing drills and collaborating with teammates, or performing under the pressure of a crowd.
Why did I do it? What was the motivation behind your commitment? Let's continue with the basketball example. Is basketball something you and your little brother grew up playing together? Does playing a sport help with your anxiety? Were you inspired by a certain professional athlete? Including the reason why you pursue the activity will strengthen your response to this UF essay prompt.
What did I take away from this commitment? Learning happens in all places. While this UF admissions essay asks you to describe an activity outside the classroom, asking “what did I learn?” will help take your response to this UF essay prompt from a summary into a story. Maybe you discovered a new passion, a new skill, or a new way of problem-solving. Maybe your commitment to basketball translated into commitment in your classes? Or maybe the teamwork you cultivated in practice changed the way you helped your family at home?
As you expand upon your UF essay topics, think about how your commitment shaped who you are. This will give you a compelling ending to your UF admissions essay.
UF Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does my UF admissions essay reference one (not two, or three) commitment outside of my classes?
- Does my essay show why this is important to me?
- Do I show how I engaged in this activity?
- Does my essay reflect what I gained from this experience?
University of Florida Honors Program Supplemental Essays – Question 1 (Required)
Why is applying for the UF Honors Program important to you? Which aspects of the program’s three pillars of opportunity, community, and challenge pique your interests? How would you engage with the program to exemplify these pillars yourself? How does the program factor into your long-term goals? Please be specific (400 words or less).
The first step in tackling this UF essay prompt is to read about the UF Honors Program’s 3 Pillars of Value. As you think about your UF essay topics, ask yourself what about these pillars draws you to the program. Why are these ideals crucial to your college experience?
If you're struggling to find specific details to discuss in your UF essays, think about your current situation. What are you missing in your high school academic career that you want to experience in college? If your classes aren’t challenging enough, you might want to talk about “challenge” and why the Honors Program would give you the academic rigor you need to reach your greatest potential. Or, if you feel you haven’t met many like-minded individuals in your high school, you might want to talk about “community” and why the Honors Program would provide opportunities to support and be supported by peers. If you aspire to do research or attend a graduate school, you might want to talk about “opportunity” and how the Honors Program will connect you with advisors to put you on track for those experiences.
Think about the future
While this brainstorm can help you begin choosing your UF essay topics, the Honors Program Application Tips reminds prospective students that this UF essay prompt is meant to be forward-facing. This means the admissions team wants to hear about what you imagine for your future rather than what you’ve completed in your past. This is where the second half of the UF essay prompt comes into play.
Imagine the Honors Program as a stepping-stone: what will you do in the Honors Program, and how will that help you reach your goals? Be sure to answer these questions with specific details about the Honors Program. For example, if your dream is to join the medical field, you might reference the Honors Program’s Pre-Health Coordinator and the Professional Development courses you will take to prepare you for medical school.
No matter what draws you to the Honors Program, remember to be specific, answer all four questions in the UF essay prompt, and proofread, proofread, proofread!
UF Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does my UF admissions essay reference specific details about the Honors Program?
- Do I include both why I am interested in the Honors Program and what I plan to do if I get in?
- Does my essay communicate why the Honors Program is important in reaching my academic goals?
University of Florida Honors Program Supplemental Essays – Question 2 (Required)
Identify two topics you have previously studied that do not traditionally overlap. How do you envision you might bring these topics together during your time in Honors to engage a pressing societal, medical or technological concern? The concern you wish to engage could be of local, national, or global scope, but you should be clear about the issue you want to address. For the purposes of this essay, the topics you identify need not have been formally studied in high school, but you should have studied them since beginning in high school (300 words or less).
This UF essay prompt asks you to think along interdisciplinary lines to express your unique academic goals. This gives you a crucial opportunity to illustrate why you belong in an intellectually rigorous space like UF's Honors Program.
Choosing a Topic
The first challenge of this UF essay prompt is to choose two topics that do not traditionally overlap. If you are having trouble choosing your UF essay topics, use your transcript and make a bulleted list of your classes divided into basic high school subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and the Arts. Think about which classes on this list you most enjoyed, and start combining subjects with seemingly little relation. The more unorthodox your combination, the more unique your UF admissions essay will be. For example, if you first choose Statistics and Chemistry, you may want to keep brainstorming as those have quite a bit of overlap. However, if you choose Chemistry and Music, you’ll have a less traditional pair that will make for a fascinating UF admissions essay. Strong UF essays can come from unexpected places!
Choosing a Concern
Next, turn away from your academic interests and choose the societal, medical, or technological concern you'd like to address. Unlike some other UF essays, this UF essay prompt focuses on how you think rather than who you are. As you choose your concern, therefore, focus on how you will engage the topic rather than why it is important to you. Remember, you've chosen this topic because it needs to be addressed, and your reader knows that. If you have a specific, personal connection that impacts the way you view the problem (and will ultimately tackle it), keep your justification brief and always connect back to how you will engage with the topic at hand. The best UF essays will offer concrete, specific details on how an applicant plans to tackle their chosen concern.
As you complete your University of Florida supplemental essays, be sure to reference their Application Tips to ensure you have a strong application.
UF Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does my essay include two topics that I will combine to solve a problem (not one, not three)?
- Do I show how my two chosen topics inform and relate to one another?
- Does my essay reflect how I plan to engage with this topic (not just why I am interested)?
How hard is it to get into the University of Florida honors program?
The University of Florida Honors Program is a highly challenging and therefore highly competitive program. Last year, the acceptance rate was 13%—well below the University’s acceptance rate. Students who are accepted have excellent scholarly credentials, are leaders in their communities, and plan to push themselves alongside their fellow Honors Gators.
It is important your University of Florida supplemental essays showcase why you belong in the Honors Program. Students accepted to the UF Honors program also have high test scores and GPAs as well as strong UF supplemental essays. You can read more about the 2020 Admitted Student Profile, the Honors review process, and the timeline for the 2021-2022 application cycle here.
What are the requirements to get into the University of Florida?
Your University of Florida supplemental essays are only one element of your UF application. The University of Florida’s Admissions page provides a list of minimum requirements for freshman applicants. That means you need to meet or exceed the following benchmarks to have a competitive application outside of your UF supplemental essays:
- Graduation: You must be on track to graduate from a regionally accredited or state-approved secondary school or the equivalent (G.E.D., etc.).
- Academic Credits: You need 16 academic units distributed across English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Foreign Language.
- Grade Point Average: Your cumulative GPA must be at least a C.
- Conduct: You must have a record of good conduct. Any major issues may disqualify your application from being considered, regardless of your academic credentials.
- SAT or ACT: You must submit test scores from the SAT and/or the ACT. If you have taken a test multiple times, UF will take the highest scores for each subsection and superscore to create the highest possible total score.
University of Florida Supplemental Essays: Final Thoughts
As you think about the University of Florida supplemental essays, remember that no single element of your application will determine your admissions results. The UF admissions team uses a holistic review process, meaning they take everything into consideration: your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, background, and UF supplemental essays. Admissions will consider your UF supplemental essays alongside your other academic credentials to better understand who you are as a student and how you will enrich the University of Florida community. While your transcript and test scores reflect the kind of student you already are, your UF essays will help them see what kind of student you can become.
While writing the University of Florida supplemental essays can be time-consuming, remember your UF essays—including both your Personal Statement and your UF supplemental essays—are the one part of your application where you have complete control. Be sure to take your time and make your University of Florida supplemental essays as strong as they can be! Give yourself time to think about the UF essay topics before you get started. Consider what you've already included in the rest of your application and use the UF essays to share something new about who you are.
If the thought of distilling yourself into a few short essays seems daunting, spend some time daydreaming about what going to the University of Florida could mean to your future. Think about the possibilities and opportunities you are excited to take on. Let that excitement shine through in your UF supplemental essays. Good luck!
This 2021-2022 essay guide on UF was written by Stefanie Tedards. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources, click here. Want help crafting your University of Florida supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.