The point of this essay is to invoke the casual nature of roommate relationships and invite students to take a more relaxed approach to writing about themselves. It brings the application to life by asking you to write only about your own personality, which feels more open than other essays that ask you to answer a specific question like “Describe your community” or “Talk about a mentor who got you through a difficult time.” While answering both of those prompts still offers insight into who the author is, they are fundamentally centralized around another person or topic, which is why Stanford cuts straight to the chase with this prompt to actually get to know you better.
Stanford is looking for an extremely authentic 250-word portrayal of your character that could distinctly identify you from a crowd of essays. If you got to meet your admissions officer in person, and only had 60 seconds to pitch yourself without using anything from your activities or awards, what would you say first? If you were legitimately writing a letter to your roommate at Stanford, what would you want them to know about the prospect of living with you? If you imagine how your Stanford alumni interview might play out, what topics do you hope to steer towards?
Think deeply about these questions and first see if there is something meaningful that you want to convey, and look through Prompt 3 to see if it would best serve answering the question, “What matters to you, and why?” instead of this roommate prompt. If you do have a more serious answer, you can style the essay like a very formal letter or like a traditional 1-2 paragraph short essay without any of the letter gimmicks at all to stand out syntactically.
If you don’t think you have any important topics on the serious side that you want to specifically cover in the space for this prompt (an extreme medical condition, a family hardship etc.), you could also go for another popular tactic by creating a fun, miscellaneous essay.
This prompt can arguably be one of the most entertaining to write and read of all college supplemental essays because of the opportunity to present the admissions office with an amalgamation of weird topics. Last year’s CollegeVine guide encouraged students to explore their quirky side with this prompt by writing about unique hobbies or interesting personality oddities. It also advises staying away from things like politics (i.e., don’t indicate which party or ideology you tend to support, even through jokes or minor references, since you don’t want to step on any toes).
Don’t sweat too much over the exact way to put the essay in letter format. Starting with something like “Hi! I am ridiculously stoked to meet you!” or any other straightforward greeting that doesn’t sound too cheesy is totally fine. If you decide to, you can essentially make a bullet list of “fun me facts” if you want to include the maximum amount of content. Remember that this essay should be fun!
Since it is usually hard to come up with good material about your own diverse personality while staring at a blank computer screen, try keeping a note on your phone and adding to it gradually as you think of things throughout the day. Think about what you enjoy and jot down notes like:
I love Sandra Bullock movies. I wish I could stop biting my nails, and sometimes I do, but only until I take a test or watch a freaky movie. I hate doing my laundry and the song ‘Drops of Jupiter.’ I planned myself a Cutthroat Kitchen-themed birthday party last year because I love cooking contest shows. My favorite store is the Dollar Tree, and when I’m there I always feel like I’m getting too much stuff, but when I leave I regret putting stuff back. Before I go to bed, I like to watch clips from Ellen or Jimmy Fallon because I think it gives me funny dreams. I’m attracted to buying gift wrap even if I have no reason for it, a trait I inherited from my mom. I love chicken. I sleep like a rock and unfortunately, that means I need an incredibly loud alarm clock, but I also will never be bothered by late night noise, etc.
You can see by how long this section got just how easy it can be to talk about yourself once you get started…
Try to intersperse some facts that relate to activities you could do together or things that would be important for an actual roommate to know to stay true to the prompt. Juxtaposing random facts might not be the way to go if you feel they are redundant with your short answers or too all over the place for you. Putting together just a few key aspects of your personality and typical habits with more coherent elaboration on each and topping it off with a “Love, your future roomie” holds the potential to become an engaging essay as well.
Here is another example that shows a ton of personality and utilizes a list format:
On top of the personal statement, Stanford also asks for 3 additional supplemental essays. One of them, and probably the most well-known Stanford essay prompt that appears year after year, is the letter to your future Stanford roommate:
Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better. (100 to 250 words)
What is an admissions officer looking for in this essay? What can you talk about or what should you talk about as a roommate? How personal should you get? Here we have 5 essay intro examples from the most recent application cycles to help you grapple with your writing:
To my future roommate,
I hope this reaches you in good condition and not found underneath a mound of boxes or pinned underneath heavy furniture; in which case, my deepest apologies (and no need to thank me for the exercise). Keep reading.
Have you ever tried archery? There’s this feeling of complete silence in the mind and body, of harmony between finger and eye and feet, of unity and peace and focus. When I stand in front of my straw-bale range, watching the trees for wind, I’ve learned that the isolation is, truly, the most beautiful gift I can give myself. View full profile.
My name is Tannar, and I cannot touch my tongue to my nose.
I’ll start out by giving you the candid details about my eighteen years upon this wonderful spaceship called Earth. Most notably, I’m known to be a ruthless player of board games (Settlers of Catan in particular), I enjoy exploring the great outdoors, I love Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar, Inception, etc), and one of my most exciting adventures took place on a fog cloaked Mount Thielsen. Continue reading.
I love rainbow sherbet. Why? Because it’s made out of so many different colors! Though this cold sweet refreshment is perfect on a sweltering day, its assorted colors are what truly make it special. Read on.
Aloha future roommate,
I hope you are a rather humorous individual yourself, because you’re in for a pile of pun… sorry, that was weak. On a more serious note, though, I’ve lived a pretty peculiar life, resulting in quite a few rather quirky habits: Read full essay.
Interested in reading these students’ full personal statements in addition to their full responses to the Stanford Roommate supplemental prompt? Unlock all of them in one go with our Stanford Roommate package!
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.