Rice University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
Rice University 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations
The Requirements: 2 essays of 150 words; 1 essay of 500 words; 1 image
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community , Why, Diversity
The Admission Committee is interested in getting to know each student as well as possible through the application process. Please respond to each of the following prompts.
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected. (150 word limit).
Consider this the prologue to your Why essay (coming up next). To nail this question, set aside an hour or so to get cozy with the Rice website and read up on your academic school and other aspects of student life. Doing all of your research at once will allow you to tell a cohesive story about yourself, while also ensuring that your essays aren’t redundant. Pour all of your academic focus into your answer to this question. What do you love about your chosen major? If you’re interested in the Visual and Dramatic Arts program, can you describe the unique opportunities you’ll find at Rice University? What resources are available to undergrads and how will they guide your craft? If you’re undecided, think about what makes Rice the ideal environment for academic exploration. How do you plan to hone in on the perfect major? The more detail you include, the more admissions will learn about you.
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 word limit)
Keep the rich details flowing in this classic Why essay. Demonstrating a deep level of knowledge will show admissions that you’re a serious applicant. Even if you hadn’t heard of Rice before your guidance counselor suggested it, take the time to reflect on what makes you excited about the prospect of being a student there. Since you just wrote about why Rice’s majors and/or academics appeal to you for the first prompt, don’t hesitate to address residence life or campus activities in your response to this question. Admissions wants to know that you will not only thrive as a student, but also as a transplant living in their city. Does Rice have a club or volunteer organization that you really want to join? Did you fall in love with Houston when you came to visit last spring and now feel like a Texan at heart? What excites you about the prospect of sporting blue and grey next year?
Please respond to one of the following prompts to explore how you will contribute to the Rice community (in 500 words or fewer):
1. the residential college system is at the heart of rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. what life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow owls in the residential college system.
This prompt is a spin on the classic Community Essay : what do you bring with you to contribute within the residential college system, specifically? Consider your hobbies, culture, and any other extracurricular activities you do just because you love them. One great way to choose a topic is to ask yourself: if I had a podcast, what would it be about? More than likely, you’ll come up with a topic that not only interests you, but you also want to share with the world. Along with pinpointing what you’re passionate about, try to think of how you can enrich the lives of your peers. Do you teach a craft? Do you strongly believe in paying it forward? What would your friends say is your “superpower”? These are all ways to break into a discussion of what you bring to the table and what you would do to enrich your new community.
2. Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?
Odds are that this isn’t the first Diversity Essay prompt you’ve come across this year. If it is, however, please read on. Rice wants to accept students from a range of backgrounds who will contribute to their community, so tell admissions about what makes you you and how you will strive for positive change within the student body. Think about times when people have been intrigued by or curious about your identity, skillset, or background. Maybe you began practicing meditation and Buddhism during your sophomore year and you hope to spread some wisdom and mindfulness on campus next fall. Perhaps your parents emigrated from Ukraine, and you intend to raise awareness or funds for refugees. What do you hope to share with others about your lived experience? How will you incorporate this element of your identity to enrich the world around you? Show admissions that you’re eager to make your mark in their community. Bonus points if you can reference a specific component of the Rice experience (think clubs, classes, residential colleges, volunteer opportunities, etc.) as a natural stepping stone on your personal journey of leadership and progress.
In keeping with Rice’s long-standing tradition (known as “The Box”), please share an image of something that appeals to you. See the Help Section for more information.
The final piece to Rice’s supplement isn’t an essay at all. Rice understands that a picture is worth a thousand words (or so we’ve been told). So instead of having you write a thousand words (which sounds exhausting), Rice University is asking you to upload a picture of something that appeals to you. When brainstorming which image to choose, think about your goals and passions. If you’re hoping to declare an English major, maybe your photo of choice is the Pulitzer Prize. If you are hoping to develop your business management skills at Rice, maybe you want to share the photo your mom took of you devouring pizza at student-run The Hoot this spring. Regardless of which direction you choose to take, what matters most is that your image communicates something hyper-personal, and/or reveals new information about you, your interests or your goals that is not covered anywhere else on your application.
About Kat Stubing
View all posts by Kat Stubing »
Our Common App Guide can help you choose a prompt!
Contact us for information on rates and more!
- I am a * Student Parent Potential Partner School Counselor Private College Counselor
- Name * First Last
- Phone Type Mobile Landline
- Street Address
- Address City State / Province / Region Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czechia Côte d'Ivoire Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People's Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island North Macedonia Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Palestine, State of Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Réunion Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Sweden Switzerland Syria Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, the United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Türkiye US Minor Outlying Islands Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Viet Nam Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Åland Islands Country
- Which best describes you (or your child)? High school senior High school junior College student College grad Other
- How did you find CEA? Internet Search New York Times Guidance counselor/school Social Media YouTube Friend Special Event Delehey College Consulting Other
- Common App and Coalition Essays
- Supplemental Essays
- University of California Essays
- University of Texas Essays
- Resume Review
- Post-Grad Essays
- Specialized Services
- Waitlist Letters
- Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
- Agnes Scott College
- Alvernia University
- American University
- Amherst College
- Babson College
- Bard College
- Barnard College
- Baylor University
- Bennington College
- Bentley University
- Berry College
- Bethany College
- Bishop’s University
- Boston College
- Boston University (BU)
- Bowdoin College
- Brandeis University
- Brown University
- Bryn Mawr College
- Bucknell University
- Butler University
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- California Lutheran University
- Capitol Technology University
- Carleton College
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Catawba College
- Centre College
- Chapman University
- Claremont McKenna College
- Clark University
- College of Mount Saint Vincent
- College of William and Mary
- College of Wooster
- Colorado College
- Colorado School of Mines
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Culver-Stockton College
- D'Youville University
- Dartmouth College
- Davidson College
- Drexel University
- Duke University
- Earlham College
- Elon University
- Emerson College
- Emory University
- Flagler College
- Fordham University
- George Mason University
- Georgetown University
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Tech
- Gonzaga University
- Harvard University
- Harvey Mudd College
- Haverford College
- Hillsdale College
- Hofstra University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Illinois Wesleyan University
- Indiana University Bloomington
- Ithaca College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Kalamazoo College
- Lafayette College
- Lehigh University
- Lewis and Clark College
- Linfield University
- Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
- Lynn University
- Macalester College
- Malone University
- Manchester University
- Marist College
- Mary Baldwin University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Meredith College
- Monmouth College
- Moravian University
- Morehouse College
- Mount Holyoke College
- New York University (NYU)
- North Park University
- Northwestern University
- Occidental College
- Oklahoma City University
- Pepperdine University
- Pitzer College
- Pomona College
- Princeton University
- Providence College
- Purdue University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rice University
- Saint Elizabeth University
- Santa Clara University
- Sarah Lawrence College
- Scripps College
- Seattle Pacific University
- Smith College
- Soka University of America
- Southern Methodist University
- St. John’s College
- Stanford University
- Stonehill College
- Swarthmore College
- Syracuse University
- Texas A&M University
- Texas Christian University
- The College of Idaho
- The George Washington University
- The New School
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- Tulane University
- University of California
- University of Central Florida (UCF)
- University of Chicago
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- University of Maryland
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- University of Miami
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Richmond
- University of San Diego
- University of San Francisco
- University of Southern California (USC)
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Tulsa
- University of Vermont
- University of Virginia (UVA)
- University of Washington
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Villanova University
- Virginia Tech
- Wake Forest University
- Washington and Lee University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Wellesley College
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
- Yale University
Want free stuff?
We thought so. Sign up for free instructional videos, guides, worksheets and more!
Common App Essay Prompt Guide
Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
- YouTube Tutorials
- Our Approach & Team
- Undergraduate Testimonials
- Postgraduate Testimonials
- Where Our Students Get In
- CEA Gives Back
- Undergraduate Admissions
- Graduate Admissions
- Private School Admissions
- International Student Admissions
- Academy and Worksheets
- Common App Essay Guide
- Supplemental Essay Guide
- Coalition App Guide
- The CEA Podcast
- Admissions Statistics
- Notification Trackers
- Deadline Databases
- College Essay Examples
What are your chances of acceptance?
Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.
Your chancing factors
2 Rice University Essay Examples
Rice University is a highly-selective college, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to Rice University. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).
Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized.
Read our Rice University essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.
Prompt: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
It’s family movie night, and we’ve chosen to watch Bird Brain , a nature documentary about birds and their unique abilities. I’m starting to lose interest, but the narrator says something wild that perplexes me: “Some birds have the ability to hold their breath for over 15 minutes underwater.” Well, now I have to know more.
My mom groans as I pause the movie to spend the rest of my night understanding that one statement. I rush to my room and open my laptop, while my fingers type furiously as videos, images, and articles flood the screen. I click on the first site I see: “Emperor penguins dive to catch fish in the ocean, and their bodies begin to metabolize anaerobically after a certain point of being submerged.” But that wasn’t enough. I continue to scroll as my mind hunts for answers. How big are emperor penguins? How cold is the ocean in Antarctica? And what even is anaerobic metabolization? Ahhhhh! I feel like I am going to explode! I have to know more.
This example of the emperor penguin is one of the many instances where I am motivated by the need to question what I hear. I encounter a similar situation on any given day. Whether it’s a quick Google search or an all nighter, I find myself lost in time as the world around me blurs while I unearth its secrets. This love of research stems from my childhood, as I was determined to find my own answers. From conducting at-home plant dissections to confirm what was taught in class, or reading an actual newspaper for the latest reports, nothing was true unless I had found evidence. Soon, this habit became deeply ingrained in my character.
I call moments like these an “internet search spiral.” Part of the reason why these spirals are so captivating is because they can never be boring; it would take me 23.8 million years to go through the 295 exabytes of information on the web. Call me crazy, but I would do it. The never-ending knowledge found within the internet never fails to hold my attention, as my inquiries are like an emperor penguin plunging into the cold Antarctic waters for a swim. Knowing that there’s something I haven’t learned, a skill I haven’t mastered, or an equation I haven’t solved creates a warp in time that transports me to a region where seconds and minutes don’t restrain my knowledge.
Internet search spirals capture every part of me but often leave me seeking additional material. The search for more information not available online connects me with like-minded thinkers, and this connection is what I aim to foster as a student at Rice. This quest for knowledge is more meaningful when I encounter someone whose passion for teaching matches my appreciation of learning. I turn to those who feel compelled to share.
These internet search spirals ultimately transform me into a more mindful person. Every time I understand something new, I feel like a little penguin egg that’s ready to hatch and experience the world in a new way. The feeling of analyzing fresh material is one I will never give up. I don’t feel bound by the restriction of time because somehow my eyes never get tired of scanning endless papers and textbooks. After all, the knowledge I gain is worth it, because every bit of information gives me the chance to be a better individual. The purpose of knowledge is action, and knowledge that is acted on becomes greatness. I aspire to embody that greatness. Whether it’s from a website, a medical textbook, a documentary, or a good-old-fashioned human being, learning frees me from the constraints of time.
So, thank you, emperor penguins, for sparking internet search spirals that push me to be a better individual.
What the Essay Did Well
This essay does a good job of using an anecdote at the beginning to hook the reader in and then continuing to weave callbacks to the anecdote throughout the essay. Including these callbacks where the student refers to themselves as “an emperor penguin plunging into the cold Antarctic waters” and “a little penguin egg that’s ready to hatch” help make the essay feel more cohesive. The use of the anecdote also allows the student to describe the thoughts that run through their brain while researching penguins, which not only shows how the student thinks, but creates the same feeling of excitement and anticipation the student felt in the moment for the reader.
Another great thing this essay does is reflect on why this activity is so important to who the student is as a person. Although the prompt doesn’t specifically ask for anything more than why the topic is captivating and what do you turn to for more information, providing a reflection on how researching has positively impacted the student to become a better person proves to the admissions committee that this student knows who they are. The student took a passion they have and used it to show their growth as a person through engaging in this activity and how this activity will allow them to achieve their future goals. The last paragraph ties together the essay and takes it a step beyond what was required to elevate the essay.
What Could Be Improved
One thing this essay could work would be to tell less and show more. It’s cliche essay advice, but for a good reason. A lot of this essay tells the reader about the student’s researching habits without putting the reader in the chair next to the student while they sift through Internet tabs or flip through textbook pages. The anecdote at the beginning shows the excitement and thought process of the student when they are researching penguins which draws the reader in.
After the first paragraph the essay relies mostly on telling the reader what the student does and why they enjoy it, rather than using specific experiences and details to describe what was happening and how they felt. An easy way the student could improve their writing to show more would be to include more of their internal monologue while researching.
It should also be noted that this was a Common App essay submitted to Rice that specifically mentioned Rice: “This connection is what I am to foster as a student at Rice.” Common App essays don’t need to be school specific, so including school names can actually be highly risky and costly if you make a mistake. This student could have easily submitted their Common App essay to Rice with another school’s name or with a blank they meant to fill in. The best way to avoid this mistake is simply to not included schools in your Common App, or if you really want to, make sure someone else proofreads your essay before you submit!
Prompt: Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community?
One of the many Boarding School rules that I despised at the time but now look back at nostalgically was a 45-minute phone time. So with nothing else to do, our suitemates would gather together after “lights-out” and just talk. Sometimes it would be consoling a friend coming out of a bad break-up, and other times it’d be a serious debate on the merits of Latin honors. Whatever the topic, these conversations were always compassionate, spirited, and a source of familial support.
This camaraderie also made studying with friends profoundly different. My Indian family was always relentless in reminding me to “Forget joy for four years” because delaying gratification was the only way to find “permanent security.” Apparently, in our divine meritocracy, College is just one step on the continual stairway of advancement. I couldn’t disagree more with this notion that an education is simply a means to an end.
But, as I studied with my best friends in our hostel, learning and fun were never antithetical ideas. Nights reserved for calculus were always accompanied by ping-pong sessions, but we never intended to sabotage each other in a futile race to the top. Ours was a collaborative family, where instead of selfish opportunity costs, we were driven by brotherly love. No accolade could beat this feeling of security and finding a home — away from home.
At Rice, to build that sense of family, I want to create a discussion group—Night Owls—to gather at night and ponder both the grandiose and whimsical philosophical questions over hot chocolate . Think of these events as a modern version of the infamous Greek Symposia, just without the booze. This combination of conversation, whimsy, and intellectual inquiry is what I want from college. It doesn’t sound very prudential, but it’s surely poetic.
The student who wrote this essay did a good job of tying their previous experience to an experience they want to bring to the Rice community. This student pinpointed exactly what they loved so much about living in a community with their peers and how they planned to recreate that experience in college. The descriptions about the types of debates or ping-pong tournaments the student engaged in create an image of an intellectual and supportive environment admissions officers want to see at their college.
Additionally, by coming up with a name and a plan for the discussion group, the student’s interest is evident and it shows that they took time to consider genuinely starting this group at college. In general, the student’s writing created a warm sense of family and bonding that displayed some of the student’s key values. This leaves the reader with a positive impression of the type of person this student is outside of the classroom, which was exactly what the prompt was looking to achieve.
This essay could benefit from a more focused and cohesive story. The way the essay begins describing late night discussions at boarding school, then transitions to a discussion on the student’s family, and then returns back to his school study group is a bit disjointed. The second paragraph adds very little to the essay as a whole and distracts from the sense of community the student was trying to establish in his study group. This student probably felt the need to discuss his family and his Indian heritage to address the “cultural traditions” the prompt mentions, however the experiences studying with his friend are unique and special enough to satisfy the prompt so this was an unnecessary addition. The essay could just describe the late night conversations he had at boarding school and how they created a sense of camaraderie and family among strangers that he wants to bring to college, without needing to bring up his family.
The words this student saves by removing the paragraph on their family could be used to create more concrete examples of the types of discussions the student had at boarding school or what they want to have at Rice. Although the essay mentions discussing bad break-ups or Latin honors, adding more detail like a quote said by one of the student’s friends or an introduced idea that made them reflect on the world would help put the reader in the room with the student or gain a better appreciation for the impact of the discussions.
Where to Get Your Rice University Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your Rice University essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
Decoding Rice University's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays
Welcome to our comprehensive guide for Rice University's supplemental essays. This blog post will provide an insightful approach for each prompt, supporting your journey towards becoming an Owl.
Prompt: "Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated in our Member Section, earlier in this application? If you are 'undecided' or not sure which Brown concentrations match your interests, consider describing more generally the academic topics or modes of thought that engage you currently. (150 words)"
This prompt focuses on your intellectual interests and how they align with what Rice has to offer. Here's a stellar response:
"As a child, I was enamored with the stars and constellations. I've grown to understand that my early fascination was actually an interest in Physics. I'm particularly drawn to Rice's Physics program because of its research opportunities in Astrophysics and Space Physics. The collaborative culture, coupled with the chance to conduct research at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, could provide an intersection between my interest in Physics and societal impact."
For this prompt, make sure to:
- Highlight your genuine interest: Describe why you are interested in a particular field and how it connects with your personal experiences or aspirations.
- Connect to Rice: Mention specific aspects about Rice's program that attract you. Whether it's a particular course, professor, or research opportunity, your answer should demonstrate that you've done your homework.
Short Answer Prompts:
The short answer questions are an opportunity to show a different side of you. When responding, be genuine and concise. Here are a couple of prompts and examples:
- "The quality of Rice's academic life and the Residential College System is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspectives would you contribute to life at Rice? (500 words)"
Example: "Having lived in a multicultural household, I have experienced the confluence of different cultures and ideas firsthand. This has taught me the importance of diversity and open-mindedness. At Rice, I aim to bring this perspective by contributing to a diverse and inclusive campus culture."
- "Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What life experiences or cultural traditions will you bring to Rice? (500 words)"
Example: "As a member of the Kiwanis Key Club, I've organized numerous community service activities. This experience has ingrained in me a strong sense of community and collaboration, which I intend to bring to Rice. Furthermore, my Indian heritage has imbued me with vibrant cultural traditions, from the Festival of Lights, Diwali, to homemade samosas, which I'd love to share with the Rice community."
Remember to showcase your authentic self in your responses. Each essay and short answer is a new opportunity to demonstrate how your experiences and passions align with what Rice offers.
Wishing you all the best in your application process!
Conquering Stanford University's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays
Unlocking Princeton University's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays
Demystifying Georgetown University's Supplemental 2023-2024 Essays
Rice University Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice
September 8, 2023
Rice University, the STEM powerhouse in Houston, Texas, accepted just under 8% of applicants into their Class of 2027. Given that the applicant pool—including the 92% who are ultimately rejected—are all immensely talented and qualified, any aspiring Rice student needs to find ways to stand out on their application. One such way is through the Rice supplemental essays.
(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Rice? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get into Rice University: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)
When evaluating applicants, Rice University places a strong emphasis on the quality of one’s essays. Below are Rice’s four supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with our advice for creating a committee-swaying admissions essay.
Rice Supplemental Essays – Prompt #1
1) please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above. (150 word limit)..
Share an authentic story here of why you are interested in your selected discipline (or disciplines). What books have you read on the subject? Which documentaries have you watched? What podcasts have you listened to? What subtopics most intrigue you? Did a teacher excite you about a topic or was it a parent or outside mentor? Do you know where you want to take this knowledge post-bachelor’s degree? Do you aim to one day go on to pursue a graduate/professional degree or is there an occupation you are shooting for right out of undergrad? Which classes are you excited to take? What do you hope to research as an undergrad? Include as much detail as possible in this very limited 150-word space.
You can structure the narrative of this essay as a succinct but comprehensive soup to nuts chronicling of your entire journey toward your discipline of interest (even in limited space) or you could share one or two vignettes that illustrate your burgeoning passion for engineering, history, French, computer science, business, psychology, etc.
Rice Supplemental Essays – Prompt #2
2) based upon your exploration of rice university, what elements of the rice experience appeal to you (150 word limit.).
The admissions committee wants to know why you desire to pursue your studies at Rice. However, with only 150 words to play with, you’ll have to make every sentence count.
In general, make sure to:
- Cite specific academic programs , professors , research opportunities , internship/externship programs , study abroad program s, student-run organizations , etc.
- Explain how you will take advantage of the university’s endless resources both inside and outside of the classroom.
Examples of items that quality “Why Rice?” essays touch upon include:
- Rice’s high marks for both race/class interaction and overall quality of life.
- Additionally, the small class size—69% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
- Ample opportunities for mentored research with faculty as an undergraduate.
- A 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
- Desire to participate in some of the 300 student-led organizations on campus.
- Lastly, one of Rice’s study abroad opportunities that appeals to you.
Rice Supplemental Essays – Prompt #3
3) the residential college system is at the heart of rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. what life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow owls in the residential college system.
Your answer here could be about an ethnic, religious, or neighborhood community/identity or a group of individuals who gather for a club, sport, or service project. Perhaps you are the captain of a team, the editor-in-chief of your school paper, or the president of a club—on the other hand, you may simply be a valuable contributing member. Regardless of whether you are a leading man/woman or a still-essential bit player, make sure that you use your writing ability to show the admissions officer what type of community member you are rather than merely telling them. Of course, they are also interested in your “life perspectives” which are also typically more engaging when shown through examples versus delivered through “I” statements.
Rice Supplemental Essays (Continued)
You can also discuss how you have engaged with your high school local/community and what you have learned from interacting with people of a different ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, etc. Draw on past evidence of your commitment to being a positive force in your community and speculate how that is likely to manifest on Rice’s campus. Research and cite Rice student-run organizations, local nonprofit groups, or anything else you are drawn to. The admissions committee wants to understand precisely how you will contribute to their campus community of 8,000+ undergrads. In summary, drawing the link between your past efforts and future aims is critical here.
For example, if you’ve done work with Meals on Wheels throughout your teens, it will be most impactful if you express your commitment to joining the local Meals on Wheels chapter which is located at a Jewish Community Center in Houston.
Rice University Supplement – “The Box”
The rice box: in keeping with rice’s long-standing tradition, please share an image of something that appeals to you..
Take them at their word here that “The Box” “not used for evaluative purposes”. As such, you shouldn’t spend hours assembling the perfect collage or designing your own symbol from scratch. Think of this as your signature on your Rice application. You can be straightforward, silly, serious, or sincere. Also heed their advice that the image can be something “aside from what you have achieved”. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel pressure to insert a picture of a robot you built or a trophy you won.
How important are the Rice supplemental essays?
The essays are “very important” to the Rice admissions committee. The following factors are equally important: the rigor of one’s secondary school record. GPA, class rank, recommendations, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, and character/personal qualities. Clearly, Rice University weighs your essays heavily in their evaluation of your candidacy.
Want personalized assistance?
Lastly, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Rice supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.
- College Essay
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).
- 2-Year Colleges
- Application Strategies
- Big Picture
- Career & Personality Assessment
- College Search/Knowledge
- College Success
- Costs & Financial Aid
- Extracurricular Activities
- Graduate School Admissions
- High School Success
- High Schools
- Law School Admissions
- Medical School Admissions
- Navigating the Admissions Process
- Online Learning
- Summer Programs
“Innovative and invaluable…use this book as your college lifeline.”
— Lynn O'Shaughnessy
Nationally Recognized College Expert
College Planning in Your Inbox
Join our information-packed monthly newsletter.
Sign Up Now
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 5 tips for writing the perfect rice essay supplement.
Rice is one of the top 20 universities in the nation , and to get in, you need more than just awesome grades and test scores—you need a compelling Rice essay. The Rice application requires several essays depending on the school you're applying to at the university. So what should you write about for each Rice essay to make your application as strong as it can be?
We'll explain what the Rice supplement is and go over the Rice University essay prompts you'll see on your application. After, we'll give you expert tips on how to answer each essay prompt so you'll have an even better shot at getting accepted to this prestigious university!
Feature Image: faungg's photos /Flickr
What Is the Rice Supplement?
Like many colleges, Rice has a supplement that requires applicants to submit additional info to the school—that is, info not included in the Common Application or Coalition Application .
The Rice writing supplement consists of several essay and short answer prompts, which most undergraduate applicants (though not all—we'll explain this in more detail shortly) must answer for their applications. These supplementary questions ask about applicants' choice of academic field, reasons for applying to Rice, and so on.
In addition, as part of the Rice supplement, all applicants must upload an image that depicts something that appeals to them or is important to them. This requirement, called "The Box," isn't an essay, but it plays just as important a role in the application process. So choose a picture wisely!
Once you've answered all these questions and uploaded an image, you can submit your Rice supplement along with the rest of your application.
What exactly are the Rice University essay prompts you need to answer? Let's take a look.
What Are the Rice University Essay Prompts?
There are six Rice University essay prompts in total; however, feel free to relax a little since you won't need to respond to all these prompts on your application. This is because the Rice University essay prompts you must answer will vary depending on the school you're applying to at Rice.
Below are all the current Rice University essay prompts, organized by what types of applicants are required to answer which ones.
There are three essays that all applicants must submit to Rice.
The first of these is a personal essay that responds to one of the essay prompts provided by either the Common App or Coalition App (depending on which system you're using). This essay should be about 500-550 words long and must be no longer than 650 words.
Both the Common App and Coalition App offer several essay prompts from which you can choose. We won't be listing those prompts here, but you can find them in our guides to the Common App and Coalition App essay prompts .
In addition to the Common App/Coalition App personal essay, all applicants must submit two short answers as part of the Rice supplement. Your answers to these questions will be much shorter than your personal essay, at just 150 words max per response.
Here are the two short-answer prompts:
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above.
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you?
School of Architecture Applicants ONLY
Applicants to the Rice School of Architecture must submit all of the above PLUS two more short answers (again, these are part of the Rice supplement). Your answer to each question must be no longer than 250 words, giving you a little more space to work with compared with the two short-answer questions above.
Here are the current Rice University essay prompts for School of Architecture applicants:
Applicants to All Other Schools (Besides Architecture)
Applicants to all other schools (besides the School of Architecture) must submit a personal essay instead of the two architecture short answers. Like all the prompts listed above, this prompt is part of the Rice supplement.
For this essay, you can write up to 500 words. Compared with the other Rice University essay prompts, this one clearly gives you way more space to write.
Here is the prompt for this longer Rice essay:
Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community?
All Rice University Essay Prompts, Analyzed
Now that we've seen all the Rice University essay prompts, let's analyze them one at a time to see how you can answer them effectively.
Rice Short Answer 1 (All Applicants)
This first short answer wants you to summarize your (main) intended field of study as well as any other fields you're interested in studying at Rice. It's a deceptively simple prompt that's about a lot more than just what you plan to study at Rice.
The crux of this essay isn't just summarizing your major—it's explaining why you've chosen this field and why Rice specifically will be a good fit for your goals and interests.
Here are the questions this prompt is really asking you to answer:
- Why do you want to study this particular field?
- Why do you think Rice is a good fit for you and your academic interests?
As you write your response, try to focus on specifics. Don't just say you've always had an interest in writing stories. What specifically drove you to declare a major in English? For instance, you could discuss your deep fascination with Shakespeare, specifically with Macbeth , and how you're excited about Rice's array of Shakespeare-centered classes .
If you have enough space (remember that your answer can only be 150 words max), you could also (or instead) elaborate on what you plan to do with your intended major after college and how Rice will help you achieve this goal. If you're hoping to study music, for example, you could write about how you believe Rice's Navigating Music Careers portal and accomplished music faculty will help prepare you for establishing a successful career in music.
If you're still undecided about what you want to major in, this is a great time to explain what kinds of fields you're considering studying and why they intrigue you. Maybe you recently developed an interest in architecture after seeing the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and are now thinking of taking some architecture classes at Rice.
Whatever the case, be clear about what you (might) want to study and why.
Rice Short Answer 2 (All Applicants)
Unlike the prompt above, this prompt is not limited to academics (though you are welcome to talk about those here as well, as long as you don't repeat anything you wrote for your other short answer). Basically, Rice just wants to know this: why Rice?
This prompt is actually a variation of the "why this college" essay , which many colleges ask for in their applications. Specifically, this prompt is asking you to focus on why Rice is an ideal fit for you .
Here are some examples of topics you could write about:
- A particular academic program or major you're interested in doing, possibly one that's not offered elsewhere or is somewhat rare
- The small community atmosphere at Rice and the fun activities and traditions it offers students , such as O-Week and Beer Bike
- The diversity of the Rice student body and why this positive, blended environment would be ideal for you as a student
- Its urban location in Houston and how you intend to use the resources of the big city to further your academic and/or professional interests
- A certain professor or faculty member whom you wish to work with
Remember to be specific —don't just say you're interested in Rice because it's known for quality research or because it's ranked highly on many "best colleges" lists. What specific features does Rice have that made you apply?
If you're not sure what to write about for this Rice essay, I recommend doing some research on Rice. Start by visiting the official Rice website to see what the school offers in terms of academics, extracurricular activities, professional opportunities, internships, study abroad programs, etc. You can read more about anything that sticks out to you or resonates with your interests.
You can also refer to community-based websites, such as College Confidential and Reddit , to see what current students have to say about life at Rice.
Rice Short Answer 3 (Architecture Applicants ONLY)
Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular?
This prompt is similar to Short Answer 1 in that it's asking you to elaborate on your chosen major (in this case, architecture) and why you're interested in it. For this essay, however, you don't need to focus on architecture as a major as much as you do on architecture as a passion.
In other words, this is your chance to tell the story of how you developed a deep interest in architecture and what architecture means to you.
For this Rice essay, and as the prompt says, you can focus on aspirations (what goals do you have and how does architecture fulfill these?), experiences (did a particular incident make you develop an interest in architecture?), and relationships (who, if anyone, inspired you to study the field?).
Here are some potential topics you could write about:
- A particular person, such as a parent or teacher, who introduced you to architecture, and how this person influences you today (if applicable)
- A design or architecture class you took, either at school or as an extracurricular, and how this class made you become interested in architecture
- A research project you did, whether specifically about architecture or not, and how it drew you into wanting to learn more about architecture and its various applications
- A certain piece of architecture, such as the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building, you either saw in person or learned about and that made you want to study the field further
- Your love of design, and how toys you used to play with as a child, such as LEGO bricks, led to your gradually developing a desire to learn more about architecture as a field
- Any personal experience that relates to how you became interested in architecture —maybe you grew up in a shoddy apartment complex, an experience which showed you how better and safer architecture could improve people's day-to-day lives
In your essay, use specific details and avoid clichéd openings, such as "I knew I wanted to study architecture when …" The admissions committee at Rice has more than likely heard these types of overly broad statements hundreds, if not thousands, of times, so avoid them!
Rice Short Answer 4 (Architecture Applicants ONLY)
Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application.
This is an interesting essay prompt since it's so much broader than the other one you have to do as an architecture applicant to Rice. The purpose of this prompt is to reveal to Rice what types of activities you're interested or engaged in (outside of architecture), and what role they play in your life.
Think about what you do in your spare time, what you're passionate about, and possibly what you are obligated to do (such as chores or duties at work). Are there any activities you do that you find fun but also intellectually or physically challenging? Are you particularly invested in an activity?
Don't be afraid to get really creative and honest here —you're allowed to write about an activity that's unconventional, eccentric, "boring," or even plain goofy. Just make sure you're also giving the admissions committee deeper insight into something about you, such as how you flourish when competing against your own times in cross country races or how you calm yourself down with a big bowl of Froot Loops every evening. Ultimately, you want to highlight a personal strength.
- An instrument you play every day or nearly every day, why this activity is so significant to you, and how it has helped shape your personality or goals
- A sport you play, why it's important to you, and how it's contributed to a certain personality trait you have, such as determination or optimism
- A video game or other game you love to play, such as Dungeons and Dragons or Mario Kart, and what this game means to you on a personal, intellectual, or emotional level
- Any other hobby you have and why it's important to you, as well as how it has helped you cultivate or reach a goal you had
- A task, chore, or duty you have to do often, either at home or at a part-time job, and what this activity has revealed to you, such as the necessity of doing something you're not a fan of in order to be able to do or get something you really want
- Volunteering with an organization or at a specific place, and what this activity means to you ( NOTE: I recommend only picking this topic if you're continually involved with a specific volunteer effort and if it's something you're very invested in—if you helped out at an animal shelter just once, for instance, don't write about that here!)
- A food, TV show, movie, guilty pleasure, etc., that you love and indulge in on a regular basis, and why you believe this routine is helpful or even necessary for you
As a final tip for this Rice essay, don't feel obligated to choose an "impressive" topic. Instead, use this fun and open-ended essay prompt as a chance to demonstrate your personal strengths and passions in a highly personal, creative way.
Rice Essay (All Applicants EXCEPT Architecture)
Aside from the Common App/Coalition App personal essay, this is the longest Rice essay you'll write for your application (unless you're an architecture applicant—in that case, you don't have to write this essay!).
Once again, you have a limit of 500 words, which should give you plenty of space to delve into the details of yourself and what you'll contribute to the community at Rice.
So what is this prompt asking you to do exactly? This prompt is essentially a diversity essay prompt in that it's asking what makes you different from other applicants and what qualities you can bring to Rice.
Note the significance of the word "unique" in the prompt here—this is the crux of what you should write about in your essay. What specific, unique qualities do you have that you think will make a positive contribution to the Rice community?
Here are some sample topics you could write about for this Rice essay:
- A particular skill you have —for example, maybe you often play classical guitar music to calm down your younger sibling at home, and you think this skill could help students (and yourself) feel better during finals week at Rice
- A positive personality trait you have, such as optimism or dedication, and how this trait has helped you in life and could help you and others at Rice as well
- A cultural, religious, or ethnic background you have that is important to you in your daily life and that you feel will help increase the diversity at Rice
- Any unique experiences that are significant to you or have had a major impact on how you define yourself —perhaps you've lived in many countries and believe these experiences of constantly having to adapt to new cultures and lifestyles might help you (and others!) with transitioning to life at Rice
Make sure to show, not tell. You've got plenty of room to be able to tell a compelling story, so try not to rely on dull descriptions, clichés, and general, all-encompassing statements. Rather, fill your story with personality, voice, images, and realism. Using a variety of literary devices can add lots of color to your writing and will help your essay stand out.
In addition, don't repeat anything you've already written in your Common App/Coalition App essay. The essays required for both application systems are similar to the Rice essay above in that they're all longer and more personal. Write about something different for each so you don't sound as though there's just one single thing that defines you.
Real Rice Essay Example + Analysis
Though knowing what kinds of topics you can write about for each Rice essay is definitely helpful, it's even better to be able to see what an actual successful Rice essay looks like. Below, we show you a real Rice essay example that was written by an admitted student.
The following essay was written in response to a prompt similar to the current Rice essay prompt for Short Answer 2 above. (In other words, it's essentially a "Why Rice?" prompt.)
Note: Since this essay is a little older and the Rice essay topics change every few years, the prompt and word length for this essay differ slightly from the current guidelines. For this essay, the word limit was 250 words, whereas the current limit is 150 words.
Here is the essay:
"We are going to visit Rice today," my mom leaned back in her front row seat and said to me.
Wait, is that a restaurant specializing in all kinds of rice dishes? Like fried rice, rice soup, and rice balls? My brain went into a frenzy.
All other questions flooding my thoughts dissipated, however, when my eyes lay on Rice's beautiful Byzantine-style buildings with its magnificent archways and its soft sand-pink brick walls. While just outside its surroundings the thriving city life of Houston continues, Rice kept its sacred ground intimate with its relatively small campus and peaceful with its large spreads of greenery and shades. It's perfect! said my right brain, falling in love at first sight with the campus. My left brain, however, chastised the emotional side of me with Don't judge a book by its cover. You can't just choose your true love like that!
Exasperated by my left brain, I attended an information seminar. Phrases like "Passport to Houston," "Best Quality of Student Life," "Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen," and "more than 40 interdisciplinary centers" flashed by my eyes. Almost unlimited access to Houston's transportation and hangout spots? A research facility where I can group with students of all fields and work on solving real-world problems? Friendly research faculty who might allow me to continue my interdisciplinary research in psychology and computer science? My left brain finally gave in. Alright, alright. Let's go make Rice into not just a staple for food, but also education, then.
What Makes This Rice Essay Work?
It's got a lot of personality. The italicized parts, which symbolize the applicant's thoughts, give us a highly personal and intriguing look into their reactions to their first visit to Rice. In addition, the humorous bits (such as when the university's name is compared to the actual rice food) add a fun and creative touch.
It oozes passion. While this applicant might occasionally go a little overboard in how they describe how amazing Rice is, one thing is clear: they're extremely interested in attending Rice and making the most of their interdisciplinary interests here.
How Could This Rice Essay Be Even Better?
It could cut out the clichés. The saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" has been done to death and doesn't add any memorable insight into the applicant. This essay would be better if the applicant had changed this phrase or simply cut it out completely. Moreover, although the concept of Rice as a food is funny, this applicant likely isn't the first person to have made a joke about this.
It could be more specific. Although there's clearly a lot of passion in this Rice essay, it lacks detail in areas where we could've learned a lot more about the applicant. For example, what kinds of research does this person want to conduct at Rice? And what "real-world problems" do they want to solve?
How to Write a Great Rice Essay: 5 Key Tips
Before you go off writing your Rice essay, here are some final tips to keep in mind.
#1: Use Specific Details
I've said this before and I'll say it again: be specific in your essays. Rice doesn't just want to know that you're good at softball—it wants to know why this sport is important to you, what kind of role it plays in your life, and how it makes you feel.
If you're describing a specific person in one of your essays, use concrete details to show the admissions committee who this person really is. Does she have an endearing gap in her teeth when she smiles? What does his voice sound like?
Details like these will allow your readers to more readily feel the personality and passion in your writing, making it easier to relate to you on a deeper level. They'll also help you and your essays stand out from the sea of applicants, which is always a plus!
#2: Channel Your Inner Voice
Personal essays are all about showcasing your personality and a side of yourself that's not made clear in the more quantitative (i.e., grades and test scores) parts of your application.
Therefore, with each Rice essay, make sure you're channeling your inner voice. Does the essay sound as though you wrote it and not someone else did? Are you writing about what you really want to and not what you think the Rice admissions committee wants to read?
For example, if you're naturally a humorous person, feel free to throw in a joke or two. If you're the poetic type, you could add in some lines of poetry you've written (if relevant to your essay topic) or sprinkle in some flowery metaphors.
The basic tip here is to write in whatever way comes most natural to you.
That being said, there are a few things you should always avoid in your college essays:
- Typos, poor grammar, incorrect spelling, and other technical errors (the only exception to this would be if you're quoting someone who used incorrect grammar or colloquial words such as "ain't" or "gonna")
- Inappropriate stories —don't write about the time you got arrested or made an obviously wrong or immoral choice, for example
- Rude or impolite words and phrases
#3: Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Even though most of the essays on the Rice supplement aren't that long, you still have a lot to write for just one school, so these essays will likely take up a lot of your free time. Be sure to start your essays (for all the colleges you're applying to—not just Rice) ahead of time, ideally at least a few months before your college application deadlines .
#4: Avoid Repeating Yourself
Many of the Rice University essay prompts touch on similar topics, such as why you want to attend Rice, why you want to study a certain field, and what makes you unique.
As you answer the prompts, try to ensure there isn't too much overlap between the content of your essays.
It's OK if there's a little bit of repetition. For example, it'd be hard not to talk about your interest in architecture as you answer Short Answer 1 (What do you want to major in?) and Short Answer 3 (Why architecture?).
That said, your primary goal should be to try to focus on different main points for each of your essays. This way, Rice will get a more well-rounded (versus one-sided) picture of who you are.
#5: Don't Forget to Proofread!
For each Rice essay, take a lot of time to edit and proofread it.
After you write a rough draft, put the essay away for a few days. Once some time has passed, take your essay out again and reread it. Fix any obvious errors, such as typos and misspellings, and mark any areas that are awkward, unclear, or irrelevant.
Do this process a few times until you have a fairly clean draft. Then, give your essay to someone else to read; this could be a parent, teacher, older sibling, tutor, etc. Ask this person for feedback and use their advice to further tweak your essay until you eventually have a quality final draft.
As with any essay, be sure to do one final proofread (and get someone else to look it over, too!) right before you submit it to a college.
Interested in applying to other highly prestigious schools besides Rice? Then take a look at our guides to how to write essays for Northwestern , Harvard , and Stanford .
Writing college admissions essays can be tricky. Check out our expert guides to learn how you can write a great Common Application essay and Coalition Application essay .
For more tips on how to get into Rice, including what SAT/ACT score you'll need, check out our Rice University admissions page .
Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar.
Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.
Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now :
Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.
Student and Parent Forum
Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.
Ask a Question Below
Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!
Improve With Our Famous Guides
- For All Students
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points
How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:
Score 800 on SAT Math
Score 800 on SAT Reading
Score 800 on SAT Writing
Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:
Score 600 on SAT Math
Score 600 on SAT Reading
Score 600 on SAT Writing
Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests
What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?
15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points
How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:
36 on ACT English
36 on ACT Math
36 on ACT Reading
36 on ACT Science
Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:
24 on ACT English
24 on ACT Math
24 on ACT Reading
24 on ACT Science
What ACT target score should you be aiming for?
ACT Vocabulary You Must Know
ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score
How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League
How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA
How to Write an Amazing College Essay
What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?
Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide
Should you retake your SAT or ACT?
When should you take the SAT or ACT?
Get the latest articles and test prep tips!
Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?
Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:
GRE Online Prep Blog
GMAT Online Prep Blog
TOEFL Online Prep Blog
Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”
Add Project Key Words
How to Write the Rice Supplemental Essays 2021-2022
September 8, 2021
You might be drawn to Rice University for a lot of reasons. You could be drawn in by the strong bonds formed thanks to the residential college system which groups students attending the same program within Rice. You could also be excited by the Houston weather, the generous availability of merit scholarships , or the chance to study under esteemed musicians at The Shepherd School of Music. Regardless of your reasoning, if you’ve got a motivation behind your Rice application and believe that you’re an ideal fit for the school, there’s no better place to discuss it than in the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022.
Rice has six great colleges for six different areas of interest: engineering, social sciences, natural sciences, music, architecture, and humanities. In reading your responses to the supplemental essays, admissions officers want to know whether your strengths, experiences, and goals are compatible with the unique and competitive programs the colleges within Rice have to offer. To guide you through your writing process for the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 , I’ve outlined how to answer each of the prompts, including prompts for admission into specific colleges within Rice, and additional tips on helping you write standout answers in response to the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 .
Prompts for the Rice Supplemental Essays 2021-2022
The essay prompts for Rice are divided into 3 parts: questions for all applicants, questions for applicants to the School of Architecture, and questions for applicants to the School of Engineering, School of Humanities, School of Music, School of Natural Sciences, or School of Social Sciences. When you apply to Rice University, you’re required to submit an intended major at one of its colleges. Let’s take a look at each of the prompts and ways you could go about answering them.
Essays for All Applicants
The Committee of Admission is interested in getting to know each student as well as possible through the application process. Please respond to each of the following prompts.
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected. 150 word limit.
The key to answering this question among the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 lies in conducting appropriate research surrounding the major and college you’ve chosen. You can write about specific courses that appeal to you within your major, such as the “From Decolonization to Globalization” course in the Classical and European studies program. Or you can write about unique opportunities at Rice that you can’t find anywhere else, such as the Museums and Cultural Heritage program in the School of Humanities, or the Opera program at the Shepherd School of Music.
While 150 words is very little, make sure to assert your interest in the subject in your essay as well. Mention any anecdote or example that conveys your passion for the field. Elaborate on how your experiences and exploration of the topics within the discipline so far make you a strong candidate for the program. If there have been any ways you’ve actively pursued your interest—such as working at a lab in preparation for a Chemical and Biomedical Engineering major, mention them in a sentence or two.
Since there’s not much space, you won’t be able to get too much into the details about other areas of academic focus, and that’s okay. Drive home your enthusiasm both for your field, and how Rice can specifically hone your skills and assist your growth as a student.
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? 150 word limit.
This is a typical “why this school” essay, but within the strict limit of 150 words. For questions like these, specific examples are key. Since you’ve already expanded on your academic interests and goals in the previous prompt, in this second essay you should focus on finding a balance between academics and more social aspects of your college experience. If you’ve visited Rice, this is a great opportunity to talk about what you experienced—were you excited by the academic atmosphere when attending a class? Did you have a memorable conversation with a current student?
Mention clubs and student organizations that align with the theme of the rest of your application. You could write about how you want to continue your involvement in event management by partaking in the Rice Program Council. Emphasize the kinds of events you’ve organized so far and what you value about the work to explain how you’d bring your perspective to Rice’s events organization board. Doing so will not only provide context on your interests but also demonstrate to admissions officers that you’ve thought about how you might contribute to the Rice community.
Rice wants a “diverse, exciting student body, consisting of the best and brightest from across the country and around the globe”—how do you fit this description? It’s important to portray your excitement at the possibility of attending the school for specific reasons. Admissions officers want to accept students who will bring positive energy and a love for Rice, and answering this question with active enthusiasm can go a long way.
Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community? 500 word limit.
Pay attention to the words “life perspectives.” A good way to start your brainstorming process would be to think about your background and experiences. Is there a part of your identity that you feel adds a unique element to your story?
Rice prides itself on its diverse student body , how do you feel you can add to it? The word “diverse,” while a buzzword, can help you try and figure out the focus of your essay. While it may definitely evoke your cultural identity, sexual orientation, or religious views, you can also think out of the box when it comes to diversity. Both cultural differences and life experiences are mentioned in the question. So you could talk about nearly anything, from what the preparation of food from your family’s culture has taught you about community to how your passion for hiking has changed your worldview.
Then we come to the final part of the question: how would the perspective from your experiences contribute to Rice? Similar to the other essays, don’t talk about what you think admissions officers want to hear. What are you genuinely excited about participating in at Rice? What kinds of activities have you led in high school that you believe have prepared you to continue to make an impact while at Rice?
This essay is almost as long as your personal statement, so you have a lot of room to address all of the parts within the question. Don’t forget to research what Rice values in its students and which parts of campus you might be able to contribute to. If you can specify how you’d be an asset to the school within Rice you’re applying to, that’s even better.
In keeping with Rice's long-standing tradition (known as "The Box"), please share an image of something that appeals to you. See the Help Section for more information.
“The Box” is a unique Rice supplemental component that asks you for a photo response with no accompanying text explanation. This is Rice’s signature question, notorious for throwing students off. So if you’re confused and flustered over what picture to choose, you’re not the only one.
You’ve heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”—here’s your chance to test this theory. Upload a photo that holds meaning to you. It can be easy to stress over this—after all, you can only use one picture and you have no way to tell admissions officers what it means. But remember, there is no right or wrong answer and what you choose won’t make or break your entire application.
Ideas you can draw from to decide on your picture include:
- A photo of a place that is important to you, for example, the house where you grew up or the treehouse where you first discovered your love for art
- A family photo, for example, from a reunion or your grandpa’s 90th birthday
- Portrait of a family member or close friend
- An action shot, maybe your favorite baseball player pitching at the first game you watched live or your a teacher who has had an impact on you in their natural habitat—the classroom
- A picture of an object that holds meaning to you, such as a first edition book or an old family quilt
Since your Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 are meant to add a layer to the rest of your application, this is another chance to let the school know more about your personality and character. Don’t just post a generic picture such as a stock photo of Niagara Falls downloaded from the Internet. But if it’s a photo of you and your grandmother capturing the joy on her face the first time she saw one of the Seven Natural Wonders, it’s an entirely different story.
Essays for the School of Architecture:
Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular? 250 words.
As the question states, you can highlight any aspiration, experience, or relationships that have fueled your passion for the profession. Do you have a particular goal when it comes to architecture, such as designing a space shuttle for NASA or the tallest building in your city? Can you describe experiences, such as time spent designing sets for every school play since sixth grade, which helped you realize your love for architecture? Or were you motivated by watching your parents map out blueprints for your home?
Don’t just state what that origin story was in one or two sentences. 250 words is a solid amount of space to transport admissions officers into the time of your discovery—to the museum where you first became fascinated by the interior of a space shuttle. You could write about anything here as long as you address where your wish to pursue architecture arose.
Save a few words at the end to connect your answer specifically to the School of Architecture at Rice. You could mention how your particular aspirations in architecture would benefit from working with one of the firms that partner with Rice’s Preceptorship program. Or, you could write about how the Rice Architecture in Paris program perfectly ties in with your passion for French architecture.
Admissions officers should be able to take away your motivations behind studying architecture, and ways you would grow from attending the School of Architecture.
Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application. 250 words.
Your answer to this prompt might jump out immediately upon reading it, or you might have to sit down and think about activities that call out to you. The Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 don’t want you to repeat your entire activities list; you need to make a choice. Will you pick an extracurricular because you enjoy it the most, or will you pick an activity that you find especially challenging? You could also write about an activity that brings you both joy and a challenge. As long as it has contributed to your aspirations, you can choose anything.
It might be hard to find a non-academic activity that has motivated your interest in architecture, but you shouldn’t limit yourself. If it’s something you do for fun that might tangentially have a relation to architecture—such as participating in sandcastle competitions—that’s still outside academics and definitely counts.
The activity doesn’t have to be over the top or on a grand scale. It could be something relatively quiet, such as reading 18th-century literature, drawing model airplanes, or making animated short films on your computer. As long as it’s authentically you, you can write about any activity that has impacted your goals. Again 250 words is a good amount to break up your essay into talking about the activity itself, then delving into detail on what you enjoy the most or find challenging.
Additional Tips for Writing the Rice Supplemental Essays 2021-2022
- Don’t repeat the rest of your application - Admissions officers will already have read the rest of your application by the time they get to your supplemental essays. So if they see that you’ve talked about the same topic as your personal statement or have repeated details about extracurricular that are outlined in your activities list, they might think you’re one-dimensional and don’t have much to offer. They should come out of the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 having learned something new about you.
- Focus on yourself - All of the Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 specifically ask about you and your experiences. For any of the essays, you might be tempted to write about someone else—a family member who’s a Rice alum or a famous architect who’s inspired you to study architecture. If you mention them, make sure to keep it minimal. At the end of the day, the school wants to know about you. Don’t get carried away and use all your words talking about someone else.
- Show, don’t tell - This is cliché advice when it comes to writing, but it’s crucial to keep in mind, especially with the prompts that Rice has offered. Don’t just tell your reader the name of an activity that you enjoy or simply state what motivated you to study architecture. Upon reading your essay, the admissions officer should immediately be able to picture you in your room happily drawing away, unable to hear the knock on the door.
The Rice supplemental essays 2021-2022 are a great opportunity to provide your reader with more context on who you are, your passions and aspirations, and how you could succeed thanks to a Rice education. Answer the prompts in a way that highlights the aspects that make you unique and portray you as a memorable candidate. Your application can unquestionably benefit from your supplemental essays completely wowing the admissions officers. So work hard on those responses, and convince the school why you are a student they don’t want to miss!
Tags : rice supplemental essays , rice university , how to get into rice , rice essays , rice supplemental essays 2021-2022
Schedule a free consultation
to find out how we can help you get accepted.
The Admissions Strategist
“ the box ” and writing the supplemental essays for rice: a superb guide.
Rice University, located in Houston, Texas has an acceptance rate of 14% and is a private research university that regularly contributes to advancements in technology and science.
These contributions include work with artificial hearts and nanotechnology.
Rice faculty and alumni have been awarded Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, Academy Awards, National Medals of Science, and more.
The university’s website describes itself as “a community of curious thinkers, passionate dreamers and energetic doers who believe that improving the world demands more than bold thought and brave action. It takes unconventional wisdom.” Oh, and it’s also ranked number one for the happiest students!
It might sound like the odds aren’t in your favor, but there’s plenty you can do to increase your chances of acceptance, including writing some standout essays.
Not sure how to write essays that can set you apart from the crowd ?
We’re here to help! In this article, we’ll provide information and tips to help you write your way to an acceptance letter from Rice University.
What Are the Rice University Essays?
Rice accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application, with no preference between the two. No matter which application you choose, you’ll also need to complete the Rice Writing Supplement.
The supplement consists of two short responses and one longer essay (or two shorter essays for applicants to the School of Architecture).
The short response questions are:
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above. (150 word limit) Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 word limit)
The longer essay question asks:
Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspectives would you contribute to life at Rice? (500 word limit)
If you’re applying to the School of Architecture, you won’t answer the question above. Instead, you’ll answer the following two short answer questions, along with the first two short-answer questions:
Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular? (250 word limit) Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application. (250 word limit)
Rice also asks you to “submit an image of something that appeals to you,” a long-standing tradition known as “the Box.”
General Tips for the Rice Supplemental Essays
Rice University website explains, “We want a diverse, exciting student body, consisting of the best and brightest from across the country and around the globe. If you are excited by the opportunities and experiences we offer, we encourage you to apply to Rice.”
In reviewing applications, the university considers “the entirety of an applicant’s academic prowess , creativity, motivation, artistic talent, leadership potential and life experiences.”
Your GPA, SAT scores, and extracurricular experiences won’t necessarily convey the qualities mentioned here.
Your essays are your opportunity to demonstrate that you’re the type of student Rice is looking for: someone bright, curious, eager, creative, and motivated. Someone who has leadership qualities and wants to take advantage of the many opportunities available at Rice.
In order to effectively captivate your audience (Rice admissions officers), we recommend that each essay is:
- Specific – One way to set yourself apart from other students is to avoid generic, clichéd responses. Give specific details and examples to illustrate your points. This approach will bring your personality and views to life.
- Enthusiastic – Use an enthusiastic tone to show that you’re excited about the possibility of becoming a Rice student. Whether you’re discussing your choice of major or your interest in Rice, admissions officers should almost “hear” your enthusiasm.
- Polished – Although this isn’t exactly a writing test, your essays should still be polished. Essays that are free of grammar and spelling errors will make a better impression and indicate that you’re serious about the admission process. Have trusted friends, family members, or teachers review your essays, and spend time revising and editing .
- “ You ” – Perhaps most importantly, your essays should be “you.” The point of the essays is to help admissions officers get to know who you are. Write in your own unique voice, and reveal information and experiences that you find meaningful and important.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the questions in the Rice Writing Supplement.
Brainstorming Activity for the Rice Essays
To write a strong response to this fairly standard question, try to focus on the extracurricular activity or work experience that you find most significant and meaningful.
Don’t select an experience solely because you think it sounds most impressive. Instead, try to come up with one particular anecdote that explains how and why this activity or experience has impacted your life or personal growth.
Use specific details to engage admissions officers in your experience, and reflect on how the experience changed you or influenced your life.
- Perhaps you were a volunteer for a local campaign and now want to volunteer for similar campaigns at Rice.
- Did you raise money for students in need overseas? If you learned something about their experiences and struggles, how has that influenced you?
- When you took on a leadership position for an activity or club, how did your personality change thereafter? How has this personality change manifested itself in your interactions with the outside world?
Think about how you’ll continue exploring this interest at Rice University, or how you’ll implement the lessons learned through this experience as a student at Rice.
Always focus on action. What did you do during this activity?
The point of this exercise is to exercise your brainstorming muscles and get you thinking about specific stories from your life. You need clarity of thought for the Rice essays because you don’t have much of a word count to work with.
Clarity equals better writing. This exercise should help you write the essays below.
Get personalized advice!
“why this major” at rice.
Short Answer Question #1: Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above. (150 word limit)
In your application to Rice, you’re required to indicate an interest in one of the university’s six academic schools: architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences, or social sciences.
Although this decision isn’t binding—you can change schools after being accepted to Rice—the university does specify that they’re expecting a thoughtful answer to this question.
Each academic school is looking for different “strengths and qualities” in applicants, so Rice recommends choosing the school “in which you feel the most confident of your abilities and interests.”
- Keeping this in mind, focus on how your abilities and interests make you a good fit for the school you’ve selected.
- You may wish to describe a brief anecdote that illustrates your passion or talent for the area of study you’ve chosen.
- The anecdote should comprise action items that address how you took the initiative to explore this intended major.
You should also do some research on your school of choice.
- Find classes, research opportunities, or even professors that spark your interest.
- How will an education from this particular school help you reach your future goals?
- Mention these details in your application, being as specific as possible .
- If you’ve visited the campus before, did you sit in on a lecture that excited you?
- Did you hear intriguing information from students enrolled in your school of interest?
Including details like these in your essay can show that you’re genuinely interested in Rice and would be a good fit for the school.
Just remember, you don’t have much room to work with, so if you’re going to discuss another interest alongside your intended major, keep it short and related to the rest of the essay.
Don’t swerve into something random because you think it’ll catch the attention of the admissions officer – not only will it fail to do that, but you’ll ruin the narrative of this essay.
- Last, if you don’t know what you want to do after college, pick a major that relates closely to your passions and initiatives.
Pick something that can be buttressed with supporting details from your life – projects, volunteer opportunities, research assignments.
“Why Rice University” Essay
Short Answer Question #2: Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 word limit)
This is the classic “ Why This College ” essay, only much shorter. This college application essay question aims to determine whether you truly have a profound interest in attending Rice University.
Again, research is key.
- Try to strike a balance between discussing academic opportunities and more “sociocultural” elements of the university.
- Mention clubs or student organizations that you’d like to participate in, or something that captivated you on a campus visit.
Additional helpful tips for this essay include:
- If you can, reach out to current Rice students and ask them about the atmosphere and culture of the university.
- Avoid generic answers about the “student-faculty ratio,” the “renowned faculty,” or the school’s “prestige,” along with information you’ve clearly lifted from the front page of the university’s website. Dig deeper.
- Never mention: Campus location, sports, and social life
You’ll also want to avoid repeating the information mentioned in your response to Short Answer Question #1.
To help you brainstorm, think about the following:
- How did your first impression of Rice motivate you to apply?
- And after this initial motivation, what more did you learn about Rice that helped your interest grow?
- Convey enthusiasm and a deeper knowledge of Rice than the average applicant might possess.
All in all, your essay should be structured something like this:
- Quickly mention or explain what you love about the Rice undergraduate experience.
- Demonstrate your connection to it.
Keep in mind that the more specific you are, the better. Mention proper nouns. Discuss items not found on other college campuses.
Here’s a good test to determine whether your essay is quality: Copy and paste this essay into another school’s “Why This College” essay. If the essay fits, then it’s too generic. You want an essay that is custom-tailored to Rice.
Contributing to Rice Essay
Unless you’re applying to the School of Architecture, you’ll have 500 words to answer the following question:
You may want to start by brainstorming a list of life experiences and/or cultural traditions that have shaped your personality and identity.
- This can be challenging, so feel free to ask friends and family members for their strongest memory of you .
- You can also ask how they would describe you, then try to come up with experiences you’ve had that demonstrate these key qualities.
Whatever experience you choose to discuss, follow two major guidelines:
- Don’t talk about something you’ve already described in your Common App essay. These essays should complement one another, each revealing a different piece of the puzzle that makes you “you.”
- Show, don’t tell. As we’ve recommended for other essay questions, choose an anecdote that “shows” your answer to the question instead of simply “telling” it. Use vivid details to make your experience memorable and engaging for the admissions team.
Overall, this is a broad question that can inspire many different approaches. Don’t panic because you think you aren’t “unique” enough.
No other student can offer the same combination of qualities that you have.
Here are some great questions you can ask yourself to find a powerful topic:
- What is the most significant contribution I’ve made to my high school community, extracurricular activity group, or community outside of school?
- Name an important lesson or two I’ve learned through my struggles both in and outside of school. How can I teach those lessons to others?
- What is my greatest talent, and how has it manifested in the real world?
- Have I collaborated to create something meaningful? What was it, and what can I do to further improve my efforts?
Here’s an example outline of this essay:
- I worked as a STEM tutor for underclassmen at my high school at ethnic community center.
- During my tenure as a tutor, I relived how challenging it is for younger students to ask the older ones for assistance. It can be intimidating and downright scary.
- I learned the values of mentorship and asking vulnerable people if they need help. On Rice’s campus, I’ll volunteer with underclassmen (and even upperclassmen) who are falling behind their class curriculum.
- After tutoring, I utilized my coding skills and developed my collaboration skills by creating an Andriod app that connects students to on-campus tutors.
- On Rice campus, I want to fully implement this app. I also want to take busines classes and learn how to transform this app into a commercial venture.
Try to come up with a meaningful experience that’s central to who you are as an individual, and you’ll write a powerful essay that stands out!
School of Architecture Essays
Instead of writing the longer essay mentioned above, School of Architecture students must respond to two 250-word essay questions.
Architecture Question #1: Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular? (250 word limit)
This question is similar to Short Answer Question #1, so be careful not to repeat information you’ve already shared.
Note that while the short answer question asked why you chose architecture over the other schools, this essay is more about your direct relationship with the field of architecture.
- Do you have specific goals related to your pursuit of architecture?
- Is someone in your family an architect who has inspired you?
- Can you think of a building or landmark, other than extremely famous ones, that ignited your passion for architecture?
Another idea is to think of qualities that are important for architects, such as creativity or attention to detail, and writing about experiences that have helped you develop these characteristics.
- Did you build a treehouse for your younger siblings?
- Were you a baseball umpire who used right angles and tools to create foul lines and meticulously enforce the strike zone?
- Perhaps you built a collection of birdhouses for seasonal birds that frequented your backyard.
Whatever your choice, connect it directly to architecture.
Architecture Question #2: Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application. (250 word limit)
As always, don’t strive simply to impress here. Be honest. This is a chance to reveal something unexpected and interesting about yourself.
- One rule of thumb, however, is to try to choose a topic about you actively doing something, instead of simply discussing your favorite TV show.
- If, however, you can take a unique approach, like relating a character’s journey to your own, then you may be able to write a great essay.
Brainstorm a list of activities and interests that challenge you or ignite your passion. It’s okay to choose an unconventional topic, but explain why you enjoy it so much and how it has shaped or influenced you.
Remember, for most students, what you enjoy or find challenging should be action-related. You should be perorming the action to practice this activity or pursue this interest. Examples include:
- Building lego spaceships
- Cleaning the litter at a local river every Sunday
- Teaching your little sister geograpy, which she seems to hate
- Taking apart and re-assembling computers
Don’t forget to explain why you love the activity or interest. Does it…
- …free your mind from daily stresses?
- …give you a sense of safety?
- …remind you of your parents?
Since this essay is all about what you enjoy in your free time, make sure your tone conveys real enthusiasm. Talk about something that genuinely excites you.
Then, connect it to architecture. Make a simple outline to visualize the link between the activity that you chose and architecture. It should look like this:
- Activity that you enjoy actively doing
- How it’s connected to architecture
- How it has encouraged you to pursue architecture
This structure will help you focus on your story.
“The Box” is a photoresponse with the following instructions:
In keeping with Rice’s long-standing tradition (known as “The Box”), please share an image of something that appeals to you.
You aren’t allowed to write an accompanying explanation, so try to choose an image that can speak for itself or in some way relates to the information in your application or essays.
Due to its unique nature, this prompt often baffles applicants.
- Keep in mind that there’s no “right” answer to this question, and the image you select is extremely unlikely to make or break your application.
- Places that have been important to you (even something as simple as a favorite park bench)
- A favored keepsake or meaningful object
- One of your role models in action
- Artistic portrayals of your values or important qualities
- Uncommon or hidden locations
- Portraits of a family member
- Old pictures you own
- Memories that inspire growth
The key to answering “The Box” is to steer clear of overused responses like a sunset or the Eiffel Tower.
Because there are so many options to choose from (after all, there are millions of interesting images out there), you want to choose something specifically appealing to you. To emphasize, don’t pick a cliche.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Once you choose your image, ask yourself how “unique” the image is. You don’t need something from a deep corner of the Internet, but is it a cliché?
- Can the image be easily explained and, thus, forgotten? You don’t want an image that a large plurality of students will use.
- What is the essence of the image? Don’t make it too complex or simple – you should be able to explain why you chose it.
- Use the Google test: If the image, or a similar one, can be found on the first page of Google Images, it might be a cliché.
Don’t overthink it—just be honest! Rice knows that this is an unconventional and challenging prompt.
Conclusion: How to Write the Rice University Essays
In order to apply to Rice, you’ll need to complete three short answer questions, a photo response, and either a 500-word essay or, if you’re applying to the School of Architecture, two 250-word essays.
As you answer these questions, remember to be authentic, enthusiastic, and specific. Do your research when needed, and connect your answers back to your identity, values, and/or interest in Rice.
Following these tips just might help you join the Rice Owls in the fall. Good luck!
Learn how we can help you with college and career guidance! Check out our YouTube channel!
Click Here to Schedule a Free Consult!
College Application Boot Camp
Stay on track and ease your anxiety with our second-to-none college application assistance.
- Ethics & Honesty
- Join Our Team
- Cost & scholarships
- Admission requirements
- Essay prompts
Want to see your chances of admission at Rice University?
We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.
Rice University’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts
Architecture short response 1.
Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular?
Architecture Short Response 2
Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application.
Select-A-Prompt Short Response
Please respond to one of the following prompts to explore how you will contribute to the Rice community:
The Residential College System is at the heart of Rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. What life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow Owls in the residential college system?
Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?
Why This Major Short Response
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above.
Why This College Short Response
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you?
The Rice Box: In keeping with Rice’s long-standing tradition, please share an image of something that appeals to you.
Common App Personal Essay
The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
What will first-time readers think of your college essay?
- Life at Rice
- Cost & Aid
Virtual Essay Writing Workshop
- Virtual Essay Writing Workshop Wednesday, November 8 at 5:00 PM
- Virtual Essay Writing Workshop Wednesday, December 20 at 5:00 PM
M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog
"Way to tell it like it is, Ivy Coach" - The Dartmouth
2023-2024 Rice University Supplemental Essay Prompts
Rice University has released its 2023-2024 supplemental essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2028. In all, Rice asks applicants to respond to three supplemental essay prompts — two essays of 150 words and one essay of 500 words. For the 500-word essay, there are two options from applicants are asked to choose one. In addition, as is tradition, Rice applicants are asked to include an image that represents them with their Rice supplement. So, what exactly are this year’s essays for the Rice Class of 2028?
2023-2024 Rice Essay Topics & The Box
Rice applicants are asked to answer the first two essay prompts in a maximum of 150 words. These two prompts are as follows:
1. Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected.
This prompt is a straight-up-the-middle Why Major essay. As such, students should write an origin story of their interest in their chosen field. The origin story should take place in high school rather than in childhood. Applicants should make the story interesting rather than tout their strengths in the given area since bragging is an implausible way to inspire admissions officers to root for applicants.
2. Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you?
This prompt is a straight-up-the-middle Why College essay . It should thus be filled with specifics on why a student wishes to attend Rice — programs, institutes, the culture, traditions, activities, and more. Notice we didn’t mention classes or professors. Classes change. Professors leave. It’s about capturing the enduring specifics of Rice.
If an applicant writes a sentence that can apply to schools other than Rice, we recommend deleting it. Every sentence in this essay should be specifically tailored to Rice. That’s the game!
For the third Rice essay, applicants are asked to answer one of the following two essay prompts in up to 500 words:
3. Please respond to one of the following prompts to explore how you will contribute to the Rice community:
- The Residential College System is at the heart of Rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. What life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow Owls in the residential college system?
Rice’s admissions committee seeks to admit a diverse incoming class and while the United States Supreme Court outlawed the practice of Affirmative Action , Chief Justice John Roberts left an opening in college essays.
As he wrote in his majority opinion, “At the same time, as all parties agree, nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”
Herein lies that opening. But, of course, students do not need to be underrepresented minorities to answer this question powerfully. The question is purposely broad. As such, students can write about the communities in which they were raised, their cultural traditions, their faith, or any other such topic that ideally showcases how they think and what makes them tick.
- Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?
This question is similar to the first option for the third Rice essay prompt, but it leans more heavily on being a change agent. Rice’s admissions committee wants to see how a student’s background or experiences shape who they are and how they hope to create the world they wish to see. Applicants should be specific instead of broad — think saving the bees rather than saving the world from climate change.
The Rice Box
One of Rice’s longstanding traditions is “The Box,“ a question on our application where we ask all of our applicants to share an image of something that appeals to them. The Box gives you the opportunity to present us with an image that shares something about yourself, your interests or what is meaningful to you. This image is not used for evaluative purposes in the application, but allows you to put your stamp on the application about who you are aside from what you have achieved. Be sure to choose an image that speaks for itself and does not need an explanation. The Box must be a two-dimensional image that is uploaded in the Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir, or uploaded in the Rice Admission Student Portal.
The image that a student uploads should be consistent with their hook. If they’re astrophysicists, the image should ideally relate to the stars. If they’re Classists, it should relate to the Classics. Too many applicants merely upload a silly image, a wasted opportunity. Beyond the essays, The Box is another opportunity to showcase intellectual curiosity.
Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Rice Essays
If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission to Rice by submitting essays that inspire admissions officers to root for you, fill out Ivy Coach ‘s free consultation form , and we’ll be in touch to outline our college admissions counseling services for seniors.
You are permitted to use www.ivycoach.com (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.
Categories: College Essays
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Newsletter Sign Up
Sign up for exclusive tips on elite college admissions.
- Email Address *
- Comments This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
212-600-0312 | [email protected]
© 1998-2023 Ivy Coach ®, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Ivy Coach has no association with the Ivy League or any of its affiliates.
Last Chance to Elevate Your Apps! Our last minute students have been accepted to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and more!
How to Write the Rice University Supplemental Essays
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above (150 words).
While it may not be clear at first, this is really a two part question. First, it’s asking “Why do you want to study what you’ve selected?” Second, “Why do you want to study those topics at Rice?” With just 150 words to work with, you’ll want to try and be as specific as you can be when answering these big questions. Focus on your core interests and find concrete reasons why Rice is the best place for you to explore those topics. While you won’t have space to list every class you want to take or everything you love about Rice, try to write about a few specific opportunities to show the admissions committee that you’ve done your research and that Rice is a good fit for you.
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you?* (150 words)
You may be tempted to repeat some of the reasons that you listed in your first essay to explain why Rice appeals to you, but don’t fall into this trap! This essay is intended to allow you to write about your other, nonacademic interests and how Rice will allow you to explore them. Just like in the first essay, you’ll want to provide some concrete examples. For example, you may want to have a diverse social circle with people of different perspectives and identities, and know that Rice ranks #1 for race and class interactions. Or, there may be an extracurricular or non-academic program that you want to explore. Allow the word “experience” to mean whatever you want it to mean!
Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community?* (500 words)
At 500 words, this essay gives you plenty of room to describe your perspectives! However, you’ll want to avoid listing too many ideas at once. Instead, consider the communities you are a part of now and the experiences you’ve had that are the most meaningful to you. To help narrow it down, research the values that the Rice community espouses, and see where your values and interests intersect with theirs. They want to get a sense of the kind of student you’ll be at Rice, and how you’ll fit into the campus culture.
Get specific! Instead of just answering “what” perspectives you’ll bring, include “where” you want to bring them. Consider how you might bring your different perspectives to your social and academic life as well as to the 350+ clubs and organizations Rice has to offer. How might your community background enhance the Residential College System ? Will your teamwork experience from your time on a high school athletic team inspire you to lead a club sport? Whatever your life perspectives, make sure to demonstrate how you will use your unique background to become a valuable member of the Rice community!
- Privacy Overview
- Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
Rice University Supplemental Essays 2023-2024
Rice Supplemental Essays 2023-2024
The Rice University supplemental essays play an integral role in any student’s “how to get into Rice” plan . As one of the top universities in the nation, strong Rice University supplemental essays can help set your application apart.
This means you should plan to ace the why school essay, the why major essay, and the long essay that Rice requires. So, if you’re looking for helpful tips on the Rice supplemental essays, then you’re in the right place.
Rice Essay: Quick Facts
- Rice acceptance rate: 9%— U.S. News ranks Rice as a most selective school.
- 2 (~150 word) essays
- 1 full-page (500 word) essay
- Rice application: Students must submit their Rice application through the Common App, Coalition App, or QuestBridge application systems.
- Rice essay #1 tip: We recommend using the short and long Rice University essay prompts to highlight different aspects of your experiences that you haven’t highlighted elsewhere—Rice Box image included—to help your application stand out.
Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.
Does Rice University have supplemental essays?
Yes. In addition to the personal statement that you’ll write in the Common App or Coalition App , you’ll also have to answer both short and extended Rice supplemental essays. In total, applicants will write three Rice University supplemental essays. This includes two that are 150 words and a third that is 500 words. The prompts may look familiar—namely, a why school essay and a why major essay.
Three additional Rice University supplemental essays may sound intimidating. However, we urge you to view them as a chance to share valuable information about yourself with admissions. Beyond any single Rice University essay prompt, you will have multiple chances to shine.
The Rice supplemental essays are available on the Common App site . You can also visit the Rice University site for a full list of application requirements, including the essay details. You might also complete an optional alumni interview to supplement your Rice supplemental essays and application.
What are the Rice University supplemental essays?
There are three school-specific Rice supplemental essays and an image contribution in the Rice application. The first two Rice supplemental essays each have a 150 word limit. One Rice essay is essentially a why major essay and the other Rice essay is a why school essay.
The third of the Rice University supplemental essays allows students to choose from two different prompts. However, the prompts are relatively similar with slight nuances in their wording. Essentially, the last of the Rice University supplemental essays asks students to show how they will enrich the Rice community. This essay has a 500 word limit.
You should use every opportunity in your Rice University supplemental essays to express yourself in a personal, engaging manner. And because each of the Rice University supplemental essays covers a different topic with a different word limit, you’ll use different strategies for each one.
Before starting your Rice University supplemental essays, do your research on Rice University. Check out our how to get into Rice guide in order to write your best Rice University supplemental essays. You may also want to read some successful college essay examples. Check out these why college essay examples for inspiration.
Now, keep reading to learn how to tackle each of the Rice University essay prompts!
Rice University Supplemental Essay #1: Why Major Essay
The first Rice University essay prompt asks applicants to explore their academic study interests with a why major essay. If you still haven’t chosen a major , don’t worry. You are not bound to the academic area that you reference in this Rice essay. However, successful Rice University supplemental essays will need to specifically address a given field. When considering how to get into Rice, remember that you will select an academic area of interest in the application. So, start thinking about intellectual interests and browsing majors to see what matches up.
Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected. (150 words)
This Rice essay is short but sweet. At this point, your reader may have already glanced at your previous coursework and activities, as well as your personal statement . So, to add to that, what stories do you have about what you hope to study in college? The strongest Rice University supplemental essays will give readers an authentic window into an applicant’s intellectual life.
Specifically, this Rice University essay prompt lets you offer some background on an activity or experience that showcases your intellectual interests. You may choose to start your first Rice essay with an anecdote that illustrates these interests in action.
Highlight your passions
For this Rice essay, don’t be afraid to geek out about a topic and share how you have explored it in the classroom and beyond. This could be in a school club, a summer program , or a personal passion project . In fact, your description of your interests should take up most of this Rice essay—perhaps 90-120 words.
Additionally, if you don’t quite know what you’d like to study, that’s okay! Remember, the potential field or major discussed in applicants’ Rice University supplemental essays is not binding. So, use your Rice essay to talk about the thing that interests you most.
Connect your interests to Rice
Most importantly, to wrap up your first Rice essay, connect your interests to something that Rice can do to help you excel. For example, if you have a penchant for the sciences , you might use this Rice University essay prompt to note unique research projects that previous Rice students have done with faculty. Or, if you’re interested in the humanities , you might emphasize Rice’s various unique minors like Museums and Cultural Heritage when responding to this Rice University essay prompt. This part of your Rice essay can just be a few sentences—perhaps 30-60 words. Remember to be specific about why Rice is the school for you.
Rice Essay Reflection Questions:
- Does your draft share a narrative rather than just restating your activities list?
- Do you limit your focus to a single field when responding to the Rice University essay prompt?
- Does your Rice essay connect your interest to opportunities available at Rice?
- Do you use clear and evocative language in the first of the Rice University supplemental essays?
Rice University Supplemental Essay #2: Why School Essay
While the first Rice University essay prompt asked students to write a why major essay, the second asks students “why Rice?”
The Rice University acceptance rate is competitive at just 9% . Successful applicants will write Rice University supplemental essays that show just why they have to study at Rice. Rice University supplemental essays are your chance to show admissions that you’ve done your research and are set on Rice.
Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 words)
This Rice University essay prompt is the classic “why school” essay . You may have encountered similar prompts on other applications. While it might be tempting to adapt a “why school” essay from another application, students will want to start from scratch to make sure their Rice University supplemental essays are as specific as possible.
No shortcuts on this Rice University essay prompt; you’ll have to do your homework. Begin by asking, “What about Rice suits you?” If you haven’t already, this Rice essay is a great chance to share if you have reached out to a current student, watched an official YouTube video , or attended an information session. And if you have not yet, it’s not too late! It all starts with a virtual tour . Do the Rice research before writing your Rice University supplemental essays so that you can speak about Rice like a pro.
Keep it about you
However, remember that this Rice essay is still a chance for the reader to get to know you. Are there other interests that you have not been able to discuss in other parts of your application? As you approach this Rice essay prompt, as well as the other Rice supplemental essays, think about what might be missing from your application. For instance, maybe you already have written some responses to a few of your activities in the other Rice University supplemental essays. Perhaps there is another that you could highlight in this Rice essay.
Take this Rice University essay prompt as a way to share something new about yourself. When all is said and done, the admissions office at any school hopes to admit a class full of talented people with various pursuits and interests. The best Rice supplemental essays will reveal what a given student will bring to their class and community.
Before answering this Rice essay prompt, read some successful why school essays. Here are some examples of well-written essays from applicants to Northwestern and Yale .
- Does your Rice essay draft include specific references to the academic community at Rice University?
- Do you share how Rice’s resources connect to your personal education goals?
- Does your Rice essay focus on just one or two aspects of Rice as they relate to your interests?
Rice Supplemental Essays – Long Answer
The last of the Rice University supplemental essays offers students the choice of two prompts to respond to. However, each prompt asks students to explore the way in which they will contribute to the Rice community.
The final Rice supplemental essay prompt offers much more room to write than the other Rice University essay prompts, with a 500 word limit. It may feel overwhelming, but there are many ways to meaningfully answer this Rice essay.
Successful Rice University supplemental essays will use the word count wisely in order to impress admissions and overcome the low Rice University acceptance rate. In fact, the best Rice University supplemental essays will thoughtfully use the word count to show applicants’ unique experiences and qualities. The room this Rice essay allows you is by design. This is your time to shine.
The Residential College System is at the heart of Rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. What life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow Owls in the residential college system? (500 words)
You might feel that you don’t have any traditions or experiences that you can discuss with the depth that the last of the Rice University essay prompts demands. “Life experiences” and “cultural traditions” are central to this Rice essay. For some, Rice University supplemental essays may reference meaningful touchstones like holidays, food, music, and dance.
When responding to the last of the Rice University essay prompts, try to engage your reader’s senses. What do the surroundings look, sound, smell, and feel like? Just as you might envision an opening scene of a movie, you should use this Rice essay to make the reader feel like they are right there with you. Successful Rice supplemental essays will use vivid and evocative language to tell an engaging story.
Define “community” and “culture”
That being said, you don’t need to fixate on a single anecdote to make your Rice essay shine. Successful Rice University supplemental essays may also refer to cultural traditions more broadly than any key moment. In considering your cultural background, you might initially think about your family or the fact that you will be a first-generation college student .
However, you can also use the last of the Rice University essay prompts as an opportunity to draw connections to a wider set of themes. Community and culture manifest in a variety of forms. From school clubs to youth groups, or even online Discord channels, we all engage in communities that inform our identities. All of these communities can give you useful material for your Rice supplemental essays.
Finding your story
If you’re still struggling with how to respond to the last of the Rice University essay prompts, don’t be discouraged. Everyone has a story to share, and the Rice supplemental essays are designed to help you do so. You could start by imagining how your friends would describe you. Or, it could be helpful to think of a simple timeline of your life so far. From birth to now, consider some milestones that have contributed to who you are today. You might also describe a hero or mentor who has changed your direction. There are a myriad of experiences that successful Rice University supplemental essays could touch on when responding to this Rice University essay prompt.
Bring it back to Rice
Remember that while the Rice University supplemental essays should center on you and your personal experiences, however, they also need to show what you will bring to campus. When answering the first long Rice University essay prompt, make sure that you clearly state how you will bring your personal experiences, culture, and traditions to the Rice community. Will you get involved in certain clubs? Will you share your family’s holidays with your hall in the dorms? And will you bring these experiences and perspectives to the classroom?
Rice University admissions wants to learn more about how you’ll fit into the Rice community. So, use the long Rice University supplemental essays to do just that.
Now let’s check out the second of the long Rice University supplemental essays:
Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?
Remember those helpful tips on how to respond to the first of the Rice University supplemental essays prompt? Well, they can actually apply here, too.
If responding the this prompt, students should focus on how the aspects mentioned in the prompt will make them incite change. Note how they refer to Rice’s “community of change agents.” Successful Rice University supplemental essays will show how students will contribute to this community.
How has your background informed your future academic and career goals? What has motivated your path forward to creating change in the world and essentially leaving it a better place than it was before? Students should write on their own experiences, upbringing and (if applicable) racial identity.
Similar to the first prompt, there are many routes that students could take when writing this essay. So, how can you choose what to write about? These essays need to be passionate and genuine. If you aren’t excited about the topic you’re writing about, then your reader won’t be, either. Remember that these Rice University supplemental essays need to truly add a new dimension to your Rice application. Namely, you want to share more about you and how you will be a perfect fit for the Rice community.
No matter the prompt, focus on you
This Rice essay gives you up to 500 words, which lets you discuss a lot. However, successful Rice University supplemental essays will not lose sight of the fact that this essay is about applicants as individuals. If you choose to describe how other people have made an impact on your life, remember to bring it back to yourself and your experiences. Above all, your Rice essay should center on how your experiences and traditions have made you the person you are.
As with the other Rice supplemental essays, make sure you remain centered on your own story and clearly communicate this story to your readers. Though it may be tempting to wax philosophical when writing your Rice University supplemental essays, you should focus on writing explicitly about yourself and your experiences. When in doubt, be more direct while trying to engage the reader in your Rice supplemental essays. Metaphors and quotes can help ground your Rice University supplemental essays at times, but be careful not to overuse them.
How do you wrap up the conclusion of such an open, personal essay? While there is no one “correct” way to end the Rice supplemental essays, take a moment to reflect on how these experiences have made an impact on you. How would you be different without them? Where have these milestones taken you to where you have been, where you are now, and perhaps where you hope to be in the future? Successful Rice University supplemental essays will answer these questions and more.
- Do you write between 400 and 500 words in this Rice essay?
- Does your Rice essay center on yourself and your development?
- Is your response to the third of the Rice University essay prompts concrete and specific?
- If applicable, do you use specific examples of how you have shared your perspectives or learned from those of other people?
How to write Rice Supplemental Essays
Writing impactful Rice University supplemental essays that catch the attention of Rice University admissions officers may seem like a daunting task. However, the Rice supplemental essays are extremely important, especially given the low Rice University acceptance rate.
Luckily, there are certain tips you can follow to ease the writing process when approaching the Rice University supplemental essays.
5 Tips for Writing Rice Supplemental Essays:
#1- be specific.
When responding to both the why school essay and the why major essay, you should be specific. One of the worst mistakes students can make in their Rice supplemental essays is being generic in their responses. When writing the Rice supplemental essays, reference specific programs and offerings only available at Rice. Also, when talking about your life experiences, describe why they are meaningful to you. It may be helpful to make a college resume in order to organize all of your important activities and draw on the most important ones when writing your Rice supplemental essays.
#2- Provide context to the reader
Above all, your reader wants to know what makes you the person you are. The Rice supplemental essays are your chance to show the admissions team that you’re more than a statistic. Tell them who you are, what you value, and why you belong at their school. Strong Rice supplemental essays will leave the admissions committee with a clear, authentic understanding of an applicant’s background and aspirations.
#3- Choose your topics carefully
You want to be authentic and unique in your responses to the Rice University essay prompts. The topic you choose to focus on makes a huge difference as your passion will be evident in the writing. Write on themes that are genuinely exciting and impactful to you.
#4- Start early
Give yourself plenty of time to thoughtfully and carefully respond to the Rice University essay prompts. Remember that you will be writing essays for the majority of the schools you apply to. Factor that into your college application timeline. You’ll need time to brainstorm, draft, and revise each Rice essay.
#5- Be creative and grammatically correct
Don’t shy away from getting creative with your writing style and responses to these Rice supplemental essays. That doesn’t mean you should write a poem, but, feel free to use vivid imagery and descriptive language in order to fully immerse your reader in your subject matter. However, your writing also needs to be grammatically impeccable. Have another set of eyes look over your final Rice University supplemental essays to make sure you’ve expressed your point and have no mechanical errors.
Additionally, if any special circumstances have influenced your academic or personal development, you may want to discuss them in your Rice University supplemental essays. This can help the admissions team gain insight into your perspective.
Additional Rice Requirements – An Image for “The Box”
One of Rice’s long-standing traditions is “The Box,” a question on our application where we ask all of our applicants to share an image of something that appeals to them. The Box gives you the opportunity to present us with an image that shares something about yourself, your interests or what is meaningful to you. This image is not used for evaluative purposes in the application, but allows you to put your stamp on the application about who you are aside from what you have achieved. Be sure to choose an image that speaks for itself and does not need an explanation. The Box must be a two-dimensional image that is uploaded in the Common Application or the Coalition Application, or uploaded in the Rice Admission Student Portal.
This Rice university essay prompt is not an essay at all. However, the Rice Box does a lot of the things your Rice essays do—namely, it gives the admissions team a window into who you are and what you care about.
Understandably, this unique prompt throws many students off. Remember that while the Rice Box might let you stand out, it should not detract from the effort you put into the required Rice University supplemental essays.
Don’t sweat your image choice
Notice the part of the prompt that reads, “This image is not used for evaluative purposes…and does not need an explanation.” In short, this image will not make or break your application—instead, it should be a fun addition to your overall profile.
Your submission should be able to speak for itself without a supplemental description. Some ideas for your Rice Box image might include a section of your bookshelf, a place you enjoy, an important memento, a project you enjoyed, or a hobby you mention elsewhere.
Don’t get hung up on the Rice Box! Find an image that speaks to you, and leave it at that. Then, spend the bulk of your time crafting your Rice University supplemental essays.
Rice Box Reflection Questions:
- Is your image clear enough, while staying within the file size limit?
- Is your image tasteful and appropriate for an academic context?
- Does your image reveal something interesting about you?
Does Rice care about essays?
Forbes ranks Rice University as #22 on 2023 Top Colleges list and the U.S. News Best Colleges list ranks it #15. And, the Rice University acceptance rate is quite competitive at 9%. For these reasons, when considering how to get into Rice University, one of the best colleges in Texas , applicants will want to focus on making their application as competitive as possible. The Rice University supplemental essays play a vital role in the admissions process.
Rice’s application philosophy is holistic and committee-based. That means that your Rice University supplemental essays are extremely important within the context of your Rice application narrative. Rice University admissions will evaluate applicants on more than just hitting certain academic marks. However, given the low Rice University acceptance rate, it’s important to have a good SAT score and above averag e GPA .
Using the Rice essays to your benefit
The Rice University supplemental essays are applicants’ opportunities to share new information that they weren’t able to display in other parts of their application. In evaluating Rice essays, the admissions team also looks to see whether you’ve done your research on why Rice University is the right school for you. So, the why school essay and why major essay are extremely important in showing off the specifics of what you’ve learned about Rice. The longer Rice essay is also an excellent opportunity to point out parts of campus life and community in which you would thrive thanks to your unique background.
Rice University admissions needs to see your understanding and enthusiasm for the university within your Rice supplemental essays. The entire Rice application is important in the admissions evaluation process, however, the Rice supplemental essays will allow Rice University admissions to get a truer picture of who you are and why you’d fit in at Rice.
More admissions requirements for Rice University
Applicants working on their Rice supplemental essays will need to make sure that they meet the Rice requirements and deadlines. In addition to well-written and unique Rice University supplemental essays, applicants should aim to take rigorous academic courses throughout secondary school. GPA is an important factor as a part of the admissions process.
Rice University is test-optional so students aren’t required to submit their standardized test scores. However, half of admitted students had scores within the range of 1490-1570. If you fall within that range, or above, submitting your scores will likely bolster your Rice application.
Letters and interviews
Rice requires applicants to submit three letters of recommendation . These letters are extremely important within the Rice admissions evaluation process. You’ll want to ask your counselor and two teachers for their recommendations well in advance so that they have sufficient time to submit them.
Students are able to complete optional interviews which are either with an alumnus or current Rice University senior. This is a great opportunity for applicants to learn more about the Rice experience. It also lets them share more of who they are both academically and personally.
Addition materials for special programs
Students applying to the Shepherd School of Music , School of Architecture , or Visual and Dramatic Arts department will be required to submit additional Rice University supplemental materials. You can look at all the Rice requirements here .
Remember that Rice partners with the QuestBridge application process. So, in addition to the Rice University supplemental essays, students should check out the match requirements when completing the application.
Applicants should also consider the cost of college and financial aid packages when starting their college search . This should be an integral part of building a college list . So, check out Rice’s financial aid options in order to compare with other colleges as you go through the college application and eventually enrollment process.
Rice University Supplemental Essays — Final Thoughts
As you craft your Rice essays, remember to be intentional and specific. Also, these tips are just a starting point. Every Rice University essay prompt is different, and you’ll want to examine each of them on their own terms. There are multiple ways to approach your Rice essays; as you draft, you’ll learn what works best for you.
Your Rice supplemental essays give you the creative latitude to make them your own, so use this to your advantage. There are many student success stories that come from writing strong essays that bolster a competitive application. Check out one student’s journey below and remember that you could be one too. Good luck!
Student Spotlight: Line T.
This Rice supplemental essays guide was written by Sarah Kaminski. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
Personalized and effective college advising for high school students.
- Advisor Application
- Popular Colleges
- Student Login
- California Privacy Notice
- Terms and Conditions
- Your Privacy Choices
Rice University Undergraduate College Application Essays
These Rice University college application essays were written by students accepted at Rice University. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 2305 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10987 literature essays, 2750 sample college application essays, 907 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
- Browse College Application Essays
College Application Essays accepted by Rice University
A dime a dozen carissa chang, rice university.
"Mommy! I can't find it!" My chubby hands flew up in frustration as my blankets and bed sheets tumbled on down, creating an incriminatingly prominent heap on the floor.
"Find what?" Faithfully her characteristic scent of jasmine with a touch of...
Purpose of Education Anh Pham
Nothing better epitomizes today's motto of learning than Aristotle's analysis of education, "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." It seems that the fruits of education have bloomed even greater and sweeter than ever before....
Rocket Science Mitchell Ji
Papers were sprawled on my desk. Books were stacked two feet high. I was sitting in my cubicle, hunched over old lectures, trying to learn the jargon of rocket science. My eyes squinted at the tiny text as I stumbled through the abstruse...
En Garde Jason Joo
Some consider fencing an outdated sport that has become nothing more than a simple game of electric tag. Others are not as belittling and see it as a modern interpretation of an ancient sport. To me, however, fencing is much more than just a...
White Jorgen Nelson
I was white. I was so unbearably white. I walked into this madhouse - this dizzyingly varied place, filled with new and different sights, sounds, and even smells. I plunged into the teeming throng of diversity with apprehension. Jostling my way to...
Fresh Air Jorgen Nelson
Slapping away yet another mosquito, I scrabbled and slid on the rough, gravel path. The steam rising from the earth fogged my glasses and gave credence to the affectionate nickname we had for this place: 'Hell'. It was the summer after sophomore...
The Lab Ryan Esparza
The first time that science really made sense was in seventh grade, when a frog lay splayed out on the desk in front of me. While the stench of formaldehyde made others eyes water and stomachs churn, I was too fascinated to notice. I was intrigued...
Is the World Flat? Xu Shenjun
“The world is flat.” When I was little, I never believed this line. I would always show off in class, proudly proclaiming: “The earth is a sphere!” But now, I see the line again, on the title of a book by Thomas Friedman—and, this time, I have no...
Diverse Paths to a Single Goal Anonymous
At the age of five, when most of my peers aspired to be astronauts, princesses or cowboys, I had already decided to become a musician. It was not until almost fifteen years later, however, that I settled upon not only the specific aspects of music...
The Monkey Room Suyoung Patrick Yun
“I want to go to the Monkey Room!”
Slightly exasperated, I look down at the screaming six-year-old child and try desperately to remember the training on “collaborative problem solving.”
Step One: Find a place of empathy with the child.
Crashing Into a Career Suyoung Patrick Yun
Sliding in a zigzag pattern down the slope, I descend the mountain. Halfway down the trail, I reach a small terrain park. Below me lay a number of jumps and grind boxes. Seeing nobody below me, I push off toward the first jump. Snowflakes bash...
Nature's Symphony Suyoung Patrick Yun
Staring into the dark emptiness at the back of my eyelids, I discern the sounds around me. I hear the water splash as I sit cross-legged on the moss-covered boulder in the middle of Bald Hill Stream. A raindrop falls somewhere to my left and...
A Modern Holocaust Anonymous
Countless books, documentaries, and museums recount the story of the Jewish Holocaust. Comparatively few people, however, have heard of the modern holocaust that took place in Indonesia twelve years ago in my hometown of Jakarta.
Nil Desperandum Sarah Noor
Although “Latin Club” conjures up images of stodgy professors scrutinizing ancient texts, my own club consisted of nine teenagers enthusiastically translating Harry Potter spells.
I co-founded the club with visions of handouts and worksheets—...
[Im]Possible Things Sarah Noor
“I believe as many as [three] impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland
One: I can save the world.
Converting tattered t-shirts into headbands, I am already looking ahead to “upcycling” tires. Additionally, I give as much time as...
Explorations Ariel Chen
A pink plastic weather station. A two-inch Black Friday telescope pointed at the Moon. A fishtank, lid heavy with chrysalises about to become butterflies. Of the images from my childhood, these and many more stand out as defining moments. I once...
My Family Krish Jhunjhnuwala
The smell of saltwater drifted on the breeze. I walked down the dimly illuminated path, palm trees to my side and stars above my head, searching for my destination. Clad in a suit and tie, I readied myself for the extravagant night ahead of me. I...
Moving Perspectives Alicia Marie Cotto
As I shoulder my bedroom door open, the cardboard box once secure in my hands flops to the ground. The resulting thud echoes off the walls, but my attention has already shifted. I start a calculated walk around the room, taking it in from multiple...
Growing to Care Anonymous
Each pounding step sends shockwaves up my body. My breathing is labored, but controlled. Inhale for two steps, exhale for two steps. Repeat. Midway through my run, my body has begun to complain. Amidst a sea of thoughts fighting for my attention,...
Kilwin's Winter Park Anonymous
There’s a line out the door. Our youngest customers teeter on their tip toes to see inside the long glass cases. I work at Kilwin’s Winter Park, one of 90 locations in a growing confectionery franchise. We serve 32 ice cream flavors (memorized by...
The Box Anonymous
Staring out at the rain pouring down onto the sidewalk beside the airport exit, I thought one thing. This is foreign territory . Just moments before, I had found myself facing down a horde of about 60 squealing EXO (a Kpop idol group) fangirls....
Rising Above Anonymous
As the applause faded to a hum, my whole body began to tremble. My throat seized up and tiny bumps arose across my arms. Just as my legs felt ready to give out underneath me, the conductor raised her hands. In one swift movement, a wave of relief...
Diverse versus Adverse. Anonymous
On a late winter evening, a young boy - soon to be robbed of his innocence - watches as his parents get into another heated argument. In every occurrence before, the feuding tempers would cool, and peace was restored; however, this time was...
Debate Joel Abraham
“…Thus I advocate for the global suicide of humanity as a solution to anthropocentrism…” I dropped my pen, frozen in shock and hilarity. Surely this was a joke; although I had only attended a few debate tournaments, I had never encountered...
Recent Questions about Rice University
The Question and Answer section for Rice University is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Nov. 3, 2023
Rice students ‘soar together’ thanks to donors’ generosity.
Rice University recently welcomed donors and scholarship recipients to the Moody Center for the Arts for “Soaring Together,” a reception celebrating the generosity of the Rice community and the transformational impact of scholarship endowments.
During the event, Rice Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva gave insight to the key role scholarships play in recruiting and retaining undergraduate students and thanked donors for helping Rice support the dreams of so many gifted students. Senior Puneetha Goli ’24 described how scholarships allowed her and her twin brother the freedom to choose a Rice education. The final speaker of the evening, Julie Itz ’72, inspired guests with stories of how important a Rice education has been to four generations of her family and shared why they chose to create multiple scholarships to enable new generations of students to attend Rice.
Nearly 600 need-based endowed scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students each year, helping to fuel the university’s financial aid policy, The Rice Investment, and make a Rice education more affordable and accessible for all talented students.
IT & Managed Service Providers
Moscow, MO - Russian Federation
Want to write a fair and honest review? Use these guidelines.
- Talk about quality, responsiveness, professionalism, etc.
- What was your overall experience?
- Would you work with this provider again in the future?
Which service did you hire this provider for? Select one Application Development Backup and Recovery Cabling Solutions Call and Contact Center CCTV Systems Cloud Infrastructure Cloud Migration Computer Repair and Diagnostics Database Administration Data Center Solutions Data Recovery Digital Media Services Disaster Recovery eDiscovery ERP Solutions Exchange Administration General Help Desk Hardware Installation Hardware Procurement Hardware Recycling Health IT/ EHR Project Management IT Compliance ITIL Services IT Service Management Linux Administration Malware Remediation Mobile Application Development Mobile Device Management Network Management Network Planning and Implementation Network Security Solutions Office 365 Phone Systems Physical Security Technologies Printer Services Security Audits and Testing SEO and Web Optimization Server Hosting Software Installation and Upgrades Spiceworks Implementation and Support Storage Solutions System Integration Services Training Virtual CIO Virtualization Engineering Virus and Malware Removal VOIP Web Design Web Development Web Hosting Windows Server Administration Wireless Technology
Approximate service date Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Please provide your review below
Featured IT Services
- IT Service Management
- Network Planning and Implementation
- Web Development
- Message us to find out more.
Synergy IT Solutions, Inc.
- Russian Federation
List your company in the IT Service Provider Directory. You'll get a professional, branded page where you can highlight expertise, services, projects, reviews, and more...all for free!
Talk shop and discuss best practices with other Spiceheads in the Services Provider Group!