supplemental essay prompts

So you want to be a Duck!  What inspires you and motivates you to join the University of Oregon community, and what will you contribute to campus? Why is it a good fit for you? All things to consider as you dive into your University of Oregon application. As I sit in an Oregon tea shop on this drizzly fall morning, I reflect on my childhood years running around the University of Oregon campus: collecting leaves, biking, attending concerts and football games, hearing my grandma’s anecdotes about her career as a campus health center nurse, and witnessing the palpable passion for social justice and activism pulsing in the student body. Although I am not an Oregon alumnus, Eugene was my second home growing up, and the campus was my playground—as well as the magical place where my parents met. Before diving into your University of Oregon application, reflect and ask yourself: What would being a Duck mean for me?

As Oregon’s January 15th freshman application deadline approaches, it is time to start thinking about essays! In addition to the required application essay, Oregon has an optional second essay:

As you’ve looked into what it will be like to attend Oregon, you’ve hopefully learned about what makes Ducks Ducks. No two are alike, though, so tell us what makes you you, and how that connects to our campus community. We are interested in your thoughts and experiences recognizing difference and supporting equity and inclusion, and choosing one of these two options will guide you in sharing those thoughts. You can learn more about equity and inclusion at Oregon by visiting the Equity and Inclusion website. Maximum statement length is 500 words. This statement is not required.

When I first read this prompt I had to read it twice to realize that there are essentially two options:

  1. Reflect on what it means to be a Duck, who you are, and what you would contribute to the campus. Essentially, demonstrate why you are a strong fit for Oregon and why Oregon is a strong fit for you. For my sister-in-law (a very proud alumnus), she was raised cheering for Duck football in Autzen Stadium and watching the rich life-long friendships her parents formed during their time as students at Oregon. She was drawn to the sense of community, the diversity of academic options, and a sorority with a rich commitment to community service and engagement. In exploring this topic, I encourage you to review Oregon’s mission statement and explore information about “Duck Life” and academics so that you can highlight specific examples of how you are an excellent fit and ways that you will impact the community.


  1. Reflect on your thoughts and experiences recognizing difference and supporting equity and inclusion. A close friend of mine who attended Oregon is especially proud of the university’s recent dedication to equity and inclusion and the robust scholarly and student life programming focused on welcoming and embracing all forms of diversity. As you reflect on your own experiences with diversity (this could be from your experiences based on your own identity, or through interacting with others), review the Equity and Inclusionwebsite to learn about campus initiatives, statistics, and programming. In this prompt, connect your experiences with examples of how you would contribute to Oregon’s efforts around equity and inclusion. Be specific.

With either of these essay options, be authentic while showing “fit” to the Oregon values and what it means to be a Duck. This essay is an opportunity for the admissions team to get to know you holistically and to envision you as a thriving member of campus. Although this essay is technically optional, I encourage you to write it! Your academic record will speak for itself, but essays are the way for you to pop out of the computer screen as the well-rounded person that you are; a meaningful way to show that you are an excellent fit for Oregon and that Oregon is an excellent fit for you.

Good luck on your application!


Written by Sara Calvert-Kubrom
Sara Calvert-Kubrom worked as an admissions officer at Lewis & Clark College and a leader of the Program at Northeastern University prior to joining the admissions team at College Coach. To learn more about Sara, be sure to read her bio on