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Essays and Activities

Essays are a critical part of the application. This is how we get to know you better as an individual. Read the prompts carefully, and use your best writing skills.

The essay prompts change regularly from year to year. You will find your essay prompts in the application at the time you apply. Read them carefully, and use your best writing skills to respond. All application essays are read as a part of BYU’s holistic admission review process. Tell us about the experiences and characteristics that are important to you as an individual.

Here are a few tips as you prepare to write your essays:

  • Review the Aims of a BYU Education. To better understand these principles, feel free to read some collected talks about the aims
  • Recent experiences are preferred as they better represent who you are today. 
  • Avoid repetition. 
  • The only way for us to know things about you is for you to tell us about them. 
  • Although it is acceptable to have others review your essays prior to submission, the words and ideas must be your own. 
  • Be genuine! 

Current freshman essay prompts:

  1. Describe a topic, idea, or experience that you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. What have you done to learn more or engage further in the topic, idea or experience? What resources do you use to learn more? 
  2. Have you become aware of significant needs in your family, school, and/or community? Please explain how you have worked toward meeting those needs. 
  3. Briefly describe a time that your efforts have fallen short, a goal was not accomplished, or an aspiration was not achieved. What steps did you take to recover from this defeat? What resources did you use? How and why are you different today? 
  4. We strive to create a rich and varied educational environment through admitting students with a wide range of: 

    • Goals 
    • Interests 
    • Skills and talents 
    • Life experiences 
    • Perspectives 
    • Cultures 

    Tell us your story. What will you contribute to our university community? Be specific.

  5. A BYU education will be spiritually strengthening. BYU students have a unique opportunity to seek learning by study and by faith. Describe how you would explain to a friend or family member the reasons you want to learn in an environment like this.

In addition to the essays above, transfer applicants are also asked to write one additional essay.

  1. Why are you applying to transfer from your current institution? How has your initial college experience prepared you for the academic rigor of BYU? Tell us what you have done to challenge yourself academically. Be specific. 


While you have most likely been involved in many different activities, you will have an opportunity to write about two activities that will help us get to know you as an individual. You will be able to describe the activity, how long you have participated in it, and how you have benefited from your participation.