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University of Oregon Undergraduate College Application Essays

These University of Oregon college application essays were written by students accepted at University of Oregon. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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College Application Essays accepted by University of Oregon

Communications and Leadership Scott Lemoine

University of Oregon

“Good morning Torrey Pines! It’s a beautiful Monday, 77 degrees and partly cloudy.”

My voice echoed throughout the campus and every classroom, as it was my responsibility to do the morning announcements each day in my position as Senior Class.

Special Olympics Scott Lemoine

University of Oregon

Neither Ray nor I knew what miracles were possible. At one hundred and eighty-five pounds, five foot ten inches tall, and a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, Ray was a Special Olympic athlete with a dream to become a champion, but his mental.

Unconditional Love Anonymous

University of Oregon

The roaring waves crashed against the rocks. The sky was black except for two glowing fluorescent lights in a distance. I stood alone facing the Pacific Ocean and tears slowly trickled down my face but the wind quickly blew them away into the.

The Me-to-We Movement Anonymous

University of Oregon

My mother first introduced me to the me-to-we way of life. She has always been my heroine and my source of motivation. Her primary concern as a physician is to help as many people as possible. At first, I did not understand why she always worked.

Two Strands of Hair Anonymous

University of Oregon

School was almost over and I could not wait to walk out of the gloomy library. Just when I thought I was done for the day, I noticed four girls sitting two tables away from me. They talked loudly without any concern for the quietness around them.

Dodging Tiger Spray Anonymous

University of Oregon

The Siberian tiger roared and twisted his massive body as he pressed his paws against the chain-link fence. Miniscule dirt particles trickled from his raised paws while saliva strings dripped from his gaping mouth. I stood on the other side of the.

Black Belts and Black Jazz Shoes: Discovering My Purpose Through Persevering Sara Crossman

University of Oregon

I will not stop dancing until each of my toes fall off. I am currently waiting on the sixth toe to take a turn for the worse.

I have an intense relationship with dance. I have been dancing on a competitive team since I was twelve— meaning that I.

Epigenetics: How It Affects Our Future Anonymous

University of Oregon

For decades, the classic dispute of “nature vs. nurture” in regards to our maturation has dominated the debate about how children develop. Does a specific gene passed on from your parents predispose you to a life of crime? Are children more likely.

Learning by Teaching Samson Salzinger

University of Oregon

The stress of the last-minute cram for a test could be seen in each and every one of my kids’ faces, which were contorting from determination, to anxiety, to confusion, and back again. My students were huddled in the back of the dojang, reviewing.

No, I Don't Speak Mandarin Anonymous

University of Oregon

“You know how in Chinese, the first character for swan…”

Stop right there. I do not know anything about the characters for swan. Turning to my classmate, I repeat the phrase for the hundredth time in my life: “See… I don’t speak Chinese.”

My Impact on Diversity Anonymous

University of Oregon

At the University of Oregon, I would be eager to be a part of the advancement of the equity and inclusion division by contributing my ideas and passions to the Multi-Ethnic Student Alliance group. People often struggle to fully understand what it.

Being Raised by a Single Mom Anonymous

University of Oregon

Growing up being raised by a single mom enabled me and my mom to have a very special relationship. I cherish this close bond; however, it has also led to many challenges. I have had to step up and take much more responsibility than most kids my.

Handling Systemic Challenges Anonymous

University of Oregon

“Hey!” I say cheerfully as I lace my basketball shoes. Three girls look at me and snicker. As I leave my teammate Milica says, “Don’t let them get to you. They’re Albanian, so they’re rude to all Serbians.” My eyes widen in shock. Of course there.

Goals/Task Commitment Anonymous

University of Oregon

As the website designer, photographer, and social media manager for four small businesses I’ve had to be very detail-oriented and creative regarding new ways to advertise. In order to meet all my deadlines, I set a calendar, breaking up my.

Recent Questions about University of Oregon

The Question and Answer section for University of Oregon is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

University of oregon essay prompt

Prompt for University of Oregon: The UO is interested in learning more about you. Write an essay (500 words maximum) that shares information that we cannot find elsewhere on your application. Any topic you choose is welcome. Some ideas you might consider include your future ambitions and goals, a special talent or unusual interest that sets you apart from your peers, or a significant experience that influenced your life.

September 17th, 2011, it was a Saturday, a bright and sunny day in Placentia. I was with my club soccer team and we had already previously played a game that day. Our coach told us to meet at the field at 3:00 and that was it, he said he had a surprise for us. My whole team was wondering what it could be, we were all eager to find out what it was. As 3:00 came closer we all started to get nervous. My team showed up to the field at around 2:45 and all we saw was a field, two goals, and another team. We were all angry because we had to play yet another game and none of us had the energy to play again. We saw our coach, Skip, and a woman walking up to us. She soon informed us that her name was Tracy and that we were one of the teams selected to participate in the program Top Soccer. We all had a confused look on our face. She said Top Soccer was a program where they allow physically and mentally challenged kids to play soccer. She said that we were going to play with their older division, which was kids around the age of 18 and up. We put out cleats, shin guards, and jerseys on and were ready to play. They blew the whistle, the game was on. As we watched how these kids faces lit up as they played and how much fun they were having we didn’t care about anything else. As I stood on the field a girl about 5’0” was next to me. I introduced myself. She then said her name was Chassidy. Chassidy had a Autism. As I stood next to her she started talking to me and I realized how lucky I am. Everyone of my teammates bonded with one of the kids in some way or another. We saw a kid, who was playing in the younger division, that was in a wheelchair. His dream was to be able to walk one day and play goalie. This made me think to my self, people these days take everything they have for granted. After the game, we all talked and took pictures. I sat down and talked with Chassidy, she informed me that she had a boyfriend on the team, and when he walked over there was so much joy on her face that it made me tear up. We said our goodbyes and walked away. As I got into the car, I thought to myself how lucky I am that I had the opportunity to do this, and I am so thankful for everyone and everything I have in my life. This experience has truly changed my life, and this moment will forever stay in my heart, as will Chassidy.

Office of Admissions

Admission Requirements

Selection of First Year Students

Oregon State’s admission requirements promote student success by assessing student preparedness and academic potential in the unique context of each student’s personal experience. Admission assessment will consider all achievements, both academic and non-academic, to enroll students with a broad range of characteristics and perspectives.

Please note that academic performance is not the sole criterion for admission to the university. The university may evaluate a person’s behavior and background to determine their ability to maintain the standards of academic and professional conduct expected at the university. An evaluation may take into consideration current behavior and performance as well as past experiences and actions. Simply qualifying for admission does not guarantee admission.

Freshmen/First-year Admission Requirements

Initial admission selections are competitive and based on a holistic assessment of the criteria listed below:

Strength of Curriculum:
  • Quality, quantity, and level of coursework throughout the entire high school program, especially coursework completed beyond the minimum courses required (see high school course requirements chart).
  • AP, IB or college coursework completed or in progress.
  • Strength of the program taken within the context of the high school attended.
  • Completion of a progressively challenging math sequence, demonstrated by performance.
Academic Performance:
  • Preferred cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and completion of 15 required subject area courses.
  • Class rank taken in context with academic rigor and class size of high school attended.
Test Scores

OSU requires students graduating high school in the year 2013 and beyond to submit SAT or ACT scores. Students can submit an ACT score, or either of the SAT tests – the previous version that includes the mandatory essay portion, or the new 2016 version in which the essay will be an optional portion of the test. OSU prefers, but does not require, the essay portion of the new SAT test that was administered beginning in March 2016.

Note: Only scores sent electronically from College Board (SAT) and/or ACT will be considered official and used for admission purposes.

It is not an advantage to pay extra for “rush” scores and in some cases may add to the time it will take to process the scores within our office.

The SAT college code for Oregon State University is 4586.

The ACT college code for Oregon State University is 3482.

Insight Resume
  • Understanding of you as a unique, contributing individual.
  • Your accomplishments, perspectives, experiences, and talents.
  • Your achievements within the context of your social and personal circumstances.
  • Participation in activities that develop academic, intellectual, and leadership abilities.
High School Course Requirements

High school students must graduate from standard (private) or regionally accredited (public) high schools. (See Home School Requirements for additional information.)

Required Subject Area Courses

(not required if high school graduation or GED date prior to 1997)

Additional Factors

Oregon State is also looking for students who will lend educational and cultural diversity to our campus. We are looking for students who go above and beyond the minimum whether in talent, academic ability or potential. Combined with academic strengths, evidence of these characteristics may be considered in our review of applicants for admission.

Applicants who are ineligible to re-enroll at any college or university that they attended within the last seven years for student conduct reasons will be automatically declined admission at OSU. Applicants who are unable to re-enroll at a previous college or university for academic reasons will be considered for admission only if they meet OSU’s minimum academic requirements.

High School Graduates or GED holders with less than 24 (quarter) transfer credits

Applicants who have already graduated high school or received a GED and have earned fewer than 24 transferable quarter college credits (16 semester credits) will be reviewed for admissibility based on BOTH high school work or GED scores, and any transferable coursework. Learn more about transfer requirements.

Deadlines and Decisions

February 1, 2018 – Application deadline

February 16, 2018 – Transcripts and test score deadline

Applicants who do not meet these deadlines will be considered for admission on a space-available basis.

August 23, 2018 – Admissions Deadline

Oregon State’s Summer Session offers 4-week, 8-week, 12-week and special section options. Given its unique format and modified services, is not recommended for traditional first-time freshman entry. Freshmen who wish to apply for summer will be considered for admission in the same manner and with the same deadlines as freshmen applying for fall term.

  • A complete application consists of the application, fee, and all required support documents (i.e. transcripts, test scores, citizenship documents, etc.) .
  • New freshmen wishing to be considered for admission as part of the Priority Application round must apply by February 1. Documents required to make a student’s file complete must be received by the Office of Admissions by February 16.
  • Applicants who do not meet these deadlines will be considered for admission on a space-available basis.
  • Online applications must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time to meet the deadline.
  • You are responsible for submitting all materials well in advance of the deadline in order to avoid complications/delays in delivery and because additional information may be required before your application can be fully processed and reviewed.

Early Notification Round

Oregon State’s Early Notification option provides some applicants with an earlier admission decision and scholarship notification (if eligible) and allows applicants more time to make campus visits and to consider their options.

Early Notification is non-binding ; it does not obligate applicants to select Oregon State if admitted.

Early Notification and Priority Application (normal round) applicants are reviewed according to the same admission criteria and procedures i n the holistic review process.

Early Notification applications not completed by November 1 are rolled into the Priority Application (normal round) pool.

Notification of Application Status

  • You should check your application status online for the most current information; instructions to do so typically are emailed within 72 hours after an application has been submitted online.
  • Because each application is given full holistic review, some applications take longer to review than others. Early Notification and Priority Application applicants are reviewed according to the same holistic review process, and there is no advantage given to applicants in either pool by nature of the deadline selected.
  • Applications may be held for consideration within the context of the competitiveness of the applicant pool and/or additional information may be requested before a decision can be rendered, particularly when applicants do not meet priority consideration standards. For example, some Early Notification applications may be rolled into the Priority Application pool to allow time for students to strengthen their applications with additional academic work (7th semester transcripts).
  • The application for admission also includes an application for admission-based scholarships. Notification of scholarship awards begins in mid-November and continues through March.
  • Any applicant who is denied undergraduate admission to Oregon State University may petition to the Undergraduate Admissions Committee (UAC) for an exception. Decisions on appeal will be determined by the Undergraduate Admissions Committee and are subject to Oregon Public University System guidelines for special admissions. Each petition for appeal is assessed on an individual basis. Learn more about the appeals process.

E-mail is a primary communication tool for Admissions

It is important that applicants take the following steps:

  • keep a valid e-mail address on file with the Office of Admissions at all times
  • check their e-mail at least once a week during the admission process, and
  • ensure they can receive e-mail from by adding that address to their address book and/or safe senders list.

Alert! OSU has had repeated issues emailing prospective students with Microsoft-based email domains, including:,,, and We encourage you to use another email account at this time. Additional Information


Oregon State University Office of Admissions is saddened by the disasters caused by wildfires in Northern California. For prospective. Read More

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Contact Info

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Honors College

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Applying to the Honors College

There are approximately 1200 students enrolled all working toward an Honors Baccalaureate degree in their academic major. The HC offers the benefits of small classes, a residence hall option, student learning centers and personal advising with the research and involvement opportunities of OSU. Demand for entrance into the HC is high and competition strong. We evaluate applicants not only on their academic accomplishments, but also on their level of writing, while considering coursework, extra-curricular activities, and contribution to community. The HC welcomes students from diverse academic, cultural and geographic backgrounds.

Admission to the Oregon State University Honors College (HC) is competitive. Students who are eligible to apply must complete the appropriate HC application.

First-Year Students

Students applying to the HC directly from high school apply by filling out the Honors College application section of the OSU undergraduate application for admission.

* Note: First-year applicants who applied to OSU without filling out the Honors College application section and now wish to apply can do so by submitting the first-year Honors College application here on the HC web site. All information must be filled out even if the questions also appeared on the OSU application.

The fall 2018 application cycle for first-year students is now closed.

Transfer & Current OSU Students

Students who are already enrolled at OSU and wish to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admission should fill out the Honors College current student application here on the HC web site.

Students transferring to OSU from another college or university who wish to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admission should fill out the Honors College transfer student application here on the HC web site.

The deadline for Transfer & Current OSU students to apply to the HC for fall 2018 admissions has passed. The applications for fall 2019 admissions will open on January 1st, 2019.

International Students

First year International students who qualify and wish to apply can do so by submitting the first-year Honors College application here on the HC web site. All information must be filled out even if the questions also appeared on the OSU application.

Minimum Requirements for HC Admission

First-Year Students (entering from high school)

3.75 cumulative un-weighted high school GPA or

*1820 SAT for exams taken prior to March 5th, 2016

Transfer Students (transferring to OSU from another college or university)

3.5 Cumulative transfer GPA

Current OSU Students (already enrolled at OSU)

Honors College Tuition and Financial Aid

Honors College students are assessed “Honors College Differential Tuition” each term. HC Differential Tuition enables the Honors College to provide small seminar-style classes, academic advising, co-curricular activities and other amenities. HC Differential Tuition is currently $500 per term and will appear on each student’s billing account for each fall, winter, and spring term that the student is enrolled at Oregon State.

The HC recognizes that the HC Differential Tuition associated with enrollment in the Honors College can present a financial challenge for some students. Honors students who are unable to pay the differential tuition in a specific term can apply for a HC Differential Tuition Grant.

HC Application Process

a 400-500 word essay response to the prompt below

extracurricular activities with personal or community impact

and/or college credits

official transcripts and test scores to Oregon State University

HC Application Checklist

  1. Identify which type of HC applicant you are and make sure you meet the minimum HC application criteria.
  2. Apply to the HC either on the OSU application (first-year students) or on the HC web site (current OSU students and transfer students). On the HC application you will be asked to provide:
    • A written response to the HC essay question (450-500 words). Note: Essay questions are updated each year. See below for this year’s essay question.
    • A written description of up to three extracurricular activities that have had a significant impact on you and/or your community.
    • A list of AP, IB, or college credits you have completed, are taking, or plan to take.
    • Optional: Additional circumstances that should be known by the HC selection committee but have not been shared in another section of this application.
    • There is no fee to apply to the Honors College
  1. Verify that the OSU Office of Admissions receives official transcripts and SAT/ACT test scores (first-year students only).
  2. Check your e-mail regularly. The HC will communicate with you via e-mail with questions or important updates.

*All admitted students will be considered for HC scholarships. If admitted, you may be asked to provide additional information to be used in the scholarship selection process.

HC Admission Selection Process

Though similar, the selection process for HC admission is separate from admission to the university. Due to enrollment constraints, HC selections are extremely competitive. While many applicants meet the minimum criteria for HC admission, not all of them will be offered admission.

Selection criteria for an incoming first-year student is based on cumulative un-weighted high school GPA, SAT or ACT scores, plus a response to the essay question. The essay response is weighed equally with GPA and test scores, so give special consideration to this component of the application. The strength of courses taken in high school, as well as personal or academic attributes that will enrich the Honors community, may also be considered.

For college transfers or current OSU students, selection criteria are based on the applicant’s college GPA and the essay response. Personal or academic attributes that will enrich the Honors community are also considered.

2017 Admitted HC Student- Average Statistics

3.93 cumulative un-weighted high school GPA

3.85 cumulative transfer or OSU GPA

Dates & Deadlines

First-Year Applicants

Early round application submission dates: July 25th – November 1st

Early round HC admission decision date: December 31st

Primary round application submission dates: November 2nd – February 1st

Primary round HC admission decision date: March 31st*

*New for 2018: HC admission decisions will be mailed intermittently between February 1st and March 31st.

Current OSU & Transfer Applicants

Application submission dates: January 1st – March 15th

HC admission decision date: April 30th

HC 2018 Application Essay Question

All Honors College applicants must complete this essay in 450-500 words.

The essay is an important part of your HC application and should represent your polished writing. While many college admissions essays invite you to share a personal story, the HC essay has a different focus: it asks you to demonstrate your critical thinking skills. In 450-500 words, provide your perspective on the issue raised in the prompt. The essay as a whole should address the specific and substantive question(s) posed. In evaluating your response, we will consider your writing skills and ability to think deeply and creatively.

“There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”

Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero (London: Bloomsbury, 2007), p. 16

The presence of others can have an influence in a variety of works and disciplines. Previous works can provide inspiration, and sometimes foundations, for future creators, thinkers, innovators, and leaders. For example, contemporary social activists and political figures have described Martin Luther King as a source of great inspiration in the field of social justice. J.K. Rowling has discussed how her work draws on the Narnia chronicles by C. S. Lewis. Marie Curie’s work with radium inspired Ernest Rutherford’s experiments that led to the theory of atomic disintegration. American rapper Kendrick Lamar cites Tupac Shakur as a profound influence on his own work, writing, and relationship to his community.

After considering Ondaatje’s quote and the variety of examples above, write an essay in which you:

1) Select one individual* whose work reflects the “presence” or influence of another, and describe how that individual built upon or extrapolated from the pre-existing works, methodologies, techniques, products, or ideas of their influence.

2) Examine the significance of that influence and analyze how it changes or enhances the process or outcome.

*Note: Please do not select yourself or a personal anecdote as the topic for your response. The best response will offer a unique and specific example that will stand out among the many essays the admissions committee will review.

University of Oregon Essay Prompt

Your University of Oregon Essay Prompt Made Easy

You no longer have to keep on postponing the task of answering the University of Oregon essay prompt. This part of your application does not have to be a nightmare for there are ways on how you can make this easier. Take a peek at some of the tips on how to answer the prompts successfully.

University of Oregon Essay Prompt

My future ambitions and goals centre around reforming parts of our country that are underprivileged and suffering from poor management. It is my aim in life to provide help to communities in our country who are suffering from a lack of proper education, poor healthcare and who are blighted by social epidemics, such as high drug use. I am an ambitious person who is highly motivated towards getting the right kind of education that can set me on my way towards the career path which I have always dreamed of walking down.

I have always been able to communicate my points articulately and eloquently, and I therefore see myself as a very engaging, open and honest person who has a firm belief in the power of ideas of conversation. For this reason, a particularly extracurricular activity that has always appealed to me are Debates clubs. I enjoy the cut and thrust of a debate, but I enjoy even more promoting an awareness of ideas, concepts and truth and I believe that I have a particular talent for conversing with others in an engaging, persuasive and highly informative manner.

Owing to this, I have a very strong interest in local politics, and you could say that one of my major interests in life is involving myself in all kinds of matters that concern my local community. I attend elections, organise events and promote awareness of social conditions that need highlighting and improving upon. It is this willingness to get involved and to instigate reform that has helped to develop my personality, allowing me to grow as a person and learn new things.

My interest in politics, as well as my growing interest in education and learning, probably lies most strongly with my roots. I come from a very underprivileged town, where residents often feel hard done by and neglected by the government. Witnessing injustice and hardships firsthand imbued in me a desire to fight for others and to fight for what is ultimately right and deserved.

Tips to a Winning University of Oregon Essay Prompt Answer

  • When the question asks for story that tells about your life or identity. Your answer can focus on one or a series of events that influenced your choices and decisions. Your answers should answer the questions why and how these events affected your life.
  • When the question asks you about a failure. Discuss your failure but be sure to support it with what this taught you. Ask yourself what you learned from this failure or mistake. Be sure to mention how you faced this failure and how it helped you grow as an individual.
  • When the question asks about a time when you challenged an idea or belief and if you will do it again. This belief/idea can be your own, a classmate, family member or a group. Do not limit your answer to yes just so you can stand for your choice. Be honest and approach this question in a way that will show your core personal values and identity.

More Information on Answering the Typical University of Oregon Essay Prompt

  • When the question asks about an accomplishment. This prompt is great for transformative accomplishments that mark your development as a person. Do not be a hero who brags about what you accomplished. Instead, answer this in a way that shows and analyzes your personal growth process.
  • When the question asks about meaningful environments or places that make you contented. Analyze the reasons behind the sense of contentment and show the committee what you truly value in life.

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