“Tell us about an aspect of your identity or a life experience that has shaped you.”
— Johns Hopkins University
For college applicants, this is the year of the identity-driven essay, the one part of the admissions process in which it is still explicitly legal to discuss race after the Supreme Court banned affirmative action in June.
A review of the essay prompts used this year by more than two dozen highly selective colleges reveals that schools are using words and phrases like “identity” and “life experience,” and are probing aspects of a student’s upbringing and background that have, in the words of a Harvard prompt, “shaped who you are.”
That’s a big change from last year, when the questions were a little dutiful, a little humdrum — asking about books read, summers spent, volunteering done.
We are confirming your access to this article, this will take just a moment. However, if you are using Reader mode please log in, subscribe, or exit Reader mode since we are unable to verify access in that state.
Confirming article access.
If you are a subscriber, please log in.