Brandeis University Essay

Brandeis University 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

*For International Students Only

If you currently reside in the U.S., move along! Nothing to see or do here, you lucky ducks. If you’re an international student, though, buckle up. Brandeis has some work for you.

The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community/Why

Brandeis attracts students from many corners of the world. As an international student at Brandeis, how would you enrich the campus community? (250 words or fewer)

Dang! Brandeis is really making its international applicants WERK! Well, here’s a quick tip: this question may seem like it’s asking about the difference between you and the domestic applicants, but it’s actually in your best interest to think about what distinguishes you from any other international student! What do you bring to campus that no one else can? What have you learned from your life experience? And there’s one last twist to this application: in order to explain how you would “enrich the campus community” you should probably know a thing or two about that campus community. So spend a little time on the Brandeis website to get a feel for the school, the students, and the surrounding community. How is the culture different from your own? Where might the two intersect? And how might that point of intersection create an opportunity for mutual learning? For more information about acing the international essay, check out this video we made just for you!


Besides the cultural aspect of the “campus community” to which you will contribute, you can also discuss how your current aptitude in a particular subject will push Brandeis faculty or students to a new level in academic research and discourse. Quintessentially “Brandeisian” majors and minors are devised with a global mindset, most notably “International and Global Studies” and “Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies.”


While writing about such majors that allow for an individually tailored program (a Brandeis specialty), you could explain how you propose to combine a set of courses into a never-been-done-before curriculum, using a novel mix of disciplines that will inspire others to think of more unexpected programs of study during their own college career. This, of course, means that you need to conduct in-depth research on the course catalog and know a bit about how classes work at Brandeis. That may sound like a lot of work for a 250-word essay, but doing so will demonstrate you unwavering interest to the admissions officers.


For students who aren’t predisposed to the humanities, there is also the 5-Year BA/MA track at Brandeis’ International Business School (IBS), which allows undergraduates to earn their Bachelor of Arts as well as their Master’s in International Economics and Finance in an unusually short amount of time. Keen students with a strong entrepreneurial spirit may choose this path in order to start their own business earlier.


However, when writing about how your unique background meshes with these academic programs, it is paramount that you still discuss how your current abilities, accomplishments, ideas, and presence would further your fellow students’ scholarly pursuits — as this should be the core of your response. Thus, you may consider relating your current coursework with Brandeis’ offerings, in order to draw parallels between your ability to positively influence your peers in high school to your potential to do the same at the university.



Brandeis’ broad array of extracurricular options includes various student-run Arts & Culture and Political & Activism clubs.


Arts & Culture and Political & Activism clubs are equally valued at the school. Be sure to peruse the club websites and events if you wish to make reference to extracurriculars in your essay. Name dropping is an important and often overlooked aspect of writing admission essays. While it is insufficient to list the top 10 most popular student organizations at Brandeis to demonstrate your knowledge of the school, it is paramount that you weave in appropriate references to them.


For example, as an Economics major, while discussing your research on differing psychological mindsets between individuals of French and British descent, you could mention organizing psychological research events for the French Business and Lifestyle club, to further enhance the school’s understanding of the French style of approaching commerce. Alternatively, as a Legal Studies major, you could elaborate on the musings of your reading of U.S. judges’ opinions on immigration cases, and propose to join the fight for immigrants in the Student Association for TRII.


In addition to clubs, Brandeis University offers unique fellowship and internship programs like the Sorensen Fellowship and the Brandeis-India Fellows program. Alluding to the mission of these special tracks provides an opportunity to discuss your professional aspirations and how they relate to what you have accomplished so far.


The Big Picture

Granted, 250 words do not allow enough space for you to cover the cultural, academic, and extracurricular enhancements that you will bring to the Brandeis community. Therefore, use an anecdote or an activity that can represent multiple aspects of what you want to address.


Using a previous example, with the French Business and Lifestyle Club, you can use the “business” aspect of the club to discuss your prowess in economics and entrepreneurship, and use the lifestyle portion of it as an avenue to explicate your familiarity with French culture through your multiple language immersion excursions.


Moreover, keep in mind some of the unique grants Brandeis offers, such as the Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf Peace Award and Ari Hahn Peace Award. Past winners of these grants have shared their intent to fund a female speaker series or rekindle ties between Brandeis and a school in the Middle East with the money.


If using the wrong tone, writing about potential plans to use these grants to positively influence a demographic may seem a bit presumptuous. However, writing in hypotheticals and discussing the possibility respectfully will impress the admission officers with your vision and ambition.


Hundreds of international students call Brandeis University their home every year and differentiating your vision of the school community can be challenging. We here at CollegeVine would love to guide you through the process if you’d like more hands-on help.


May the odds ever be in your favor, and happy writing!


Want help on your Brandeis application or essays? Learn about our College Apps Program and Essay Editing Program.


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