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Oklahoma State University

Application Essays

Essay responses are optional. We want to look beyond your GPA and test score to see what experiences have shaped you and what drives you to be successful. Essay responses are used for holistic and alternative admissions decisions, as well as for select scholarships.

Students who have submitted their OSU application for admission may complete their essay questions and submit them at a later date. Essays must be submitted by February 1 for full scholarship consideration.

Need help getting started? Check out our tips to crafting a powerful essay and example responses.

Submitting Responses

If you haven't previously submitted your application for admission, you will need to do so before submitting your essay responses. Submit your essay responses online. You will be prompted to log in to your application account. If you have questions about how to submit your responses, read our Frequently-Asked Questions.

Essay Questions and Instructions

Respond to two of the following questions using no more than 300 words per essay. 

  • “If you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out,” Stephen Hawking said. Describe a time you faced a problem that seemed impossible to solve. What did you do to find a solution?
  • If you could turn your passion into a successful business venture, what would it be? Why do you think this is a good idea? Describe the steps you would take to start your business.
  • “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them,” William Shakespeare said. What is your greatest accomplishment as a leader and what steps did you take to accomplish it?  How did your actions benefit you and others?
  • Smells can trigger vivid emotional memories. Describe a favorite smell of yours and the imagery it evokes. 

Creative Supplement

You have the option to submit a creative supplement that displays your potential as part of your application. Please include 3-5 sentences explaining your concept and the mediums or tools used. Your submission could include, but is not limited to: an original song, piece of artwork, blueprint or fashion design. There is no negative impact on the application evaluation should you choose not to respond. This is an option for students who have a strong desire to present themselves through a creative component.

Before submitting a creative piece, please review the Creative Supplement Frequently Asked Questions.

Questions?

Check out our frequently-asked questions or contact us at 800.233.5019 or via email at admissions@okstate.edu.

Tips for Crafting a Powerful Essay

OSU is seeking students who will be active citizens and future leaders who will make a positive, meaningful and enduring difference to the world. We want to look beyond your GPA and test score to see what experiences have shaped you and what drives you to be successful. Our application questions are designed to measure your analytical, creative, practical and wisdom-based skills. 

Use the tips below to craft your own powerful essay response so we can learn more about what makes you a leader and scholar.

Make it personal and be original: Be honest and authentic in your responses, and don't be afraid to discuss struggles or hardships that have led you to this point.

  • Demonstrate passion: Tell us what excites you. We love that our students are passionate about a variety of subjects and interests.
  • Write about what you know: You are the expert on you! Use anecdotes and personal experiences to frame your essay responses.
  • Take your time: It's important to take your time completing your essay responses. Submit your application and then submit your essays online at a later date. You will be prompted to log in to your application account. There is no penalty for submitting your essay responses separately as stated in our Frequently-Asked Questions.
  • Edit and spell check: After you've written your essay responses, make sure to reread and review with a fresh set of eyes to make sure you're presenting yourself in the best manner possible for admission and scholarship consideration. 

Here are some excerpts from essays we love in which the students have shown their personality and character. Remember, we're not looking for the standard response; we want to hear your real stories to find out who you really are!

Something to consider: Your own cultural experiences

Example Question: Music spans time and culture. Explain how the lyrics of one of your favorite songs define you or your cultural experience.

Example Response: ...This song ("Jitterbug" by WHAM!) is definitive of my culture because so much of my generation revolves around finding love and having fun, entertaining experiences. In the chorus “Wake me up before you go-go, cause I’m not planning on going solo” details the insatiable fear each of us in my generation have of missing out, also known as FOMO (Fear of missing out). With all the social media at our fingertips, staying connected has never been easy or caused more anxiety. No one wants to miss out on what their friends are doing and so this song encapsulates that fear. Overall, this song is one full of joy and that, in essence, is the definition of my life and cultural experience.

Phillip Spaulding
Yukon, Oklahoma

Something to consider: Who do you aspire to be?

Example Question: At age 60, you have just completed an autobiography detailing your life journey to date. Write the summary that would appear on the back cover. What parts would draw in readers?

Example Response: ...Vera Wang has called her the “Essence of Her Time” and Harper’s Bazaar has featured Dakota’s wedding creations on the cover a record-breaking 27 times. Her life story shows that obstacles should be viewed as speed bumps and not road blocks on the atlas of life. She leaves her readers with “Be yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you ‘you can’t.’”…

Dakota Wickliffe
Copan, Oklahoma

Something to consider: What experiences have shaped you?

Example Question: At age 60, you have just completed an autobiography detailing your life journey to date. Write the summary that would appear on the back cover. What parts would draw in readers?

Example Response: Jansen Patterson is a very silly and lovable character who has worked hard and fought through adversity at a young age to become a very active and optimistic person. At age nine Jansen was diagnosed with Leg Calve Perthes disease and required two hip surgeries to help fix the lack of bone growth in his hips. Using his past as his inspiration he double majored in Physical Therapy so he could one day help kids recover from surgeries and find their own passions…

Jansen Patterson
Lewisville, Texas