Essay and Activities List

What We're Looking for in Our Applicants

We’re looking for applicants who are academically prepared and will actively contribute to our campus community. That’s why we use a holistic approach when we review your application. 

Grade trends and level and difficulty of courses are the most significant factors in our admission decisions. Still, we realize there are countless factors that show your true potential. Our review process considers school and community involvement, special talent, multicultural experiences, strength of character, and personal circumstances.

Strengthening Your Application

Use the essay and activities lists in your application to help the Admissions Committee learn what is important to you.

Writing Your Essay

Grades and test scores are important when applying for college admission, but it takes a lot more than "the numbers" to tell your story. The essay is a chance to give us a snapshot of who you are—your voice, your experiences, your goals. Remember that your essay is reviewed for both admission and scholarship purposes.

First-year Essay Prompts for 2024

Students are asked to respond to one of the prompts below as part of the application for admission. 

Prompt Option 1

Describe one or more activities you have been involved in that have been particularly meaningful. What does your involvement say about the communities, identities or causes that are important to you?

Prompt Option 2

Share a meaningful experience and how this has helped shape you in your preparation for college. This could be related to your passions, commitments, leadership experience, family or cultural background.

Prompt Option 3

Topic of your choice. If you have written another essay that captures what you want the Admissions Committee to know about you, feel free to share it here.

Additional Optional Essay 

The “Tell us More” essay is an opportunity for you to describe any special circumstances that created challenges or opportunities for you while in high school, and what you learned from those experiences.

Essay Tips


The content of your essay is important, but so is the quality. Ask a teacher, parent, or friend to read through your essay to catch errors and help you strengthen your message.


Most essay responses are about 500 words, but this is only a recommendation, not a firm limit. Feel free to write as much as you need to tell your story.

Be Yourself

This is a chance to share your story, so spend some time reflecting before you start writing. The best college essays make the reader feel like they know you, so write with authenticity. 

Share Your Achievements

Have you made a positive difference in the lives of others, whether in your family, community, or school? Tell us about it.

Show Your Dedication 

Demonstrating your dedication to activities and causes makes your application stand out. We want to see your commitment and passion. Tell us how those experiences affected you as a student or as a person.

Show You Care

Express your pride and appreciation for cultural diversity and inclusion of all identities. Enthusiasm for and experience within diverse environments will be key to your success here at Western and beyond.

Activities List

The activities list helps us understand how you spend your time. Provide a list of your most meaningful activities and achievements in high school, including: community involvement, volunteer experience, employment, athletics, extracurricular clubs, arts, family responsibilities, or special awards and recognition.

Please list your activities in order of importance to you and be sure to include:

  • The name of the organization and/or involvement
  • Your position or role
  • How long you have participated
  • A short description about the activities that are most significant to you. You do not need to describe all activities. For the most significant activities, please include a short description.

If you submit your application online, you can either upload your activities list to your application or type the list directly within the online form. If you apply using the paper application, please attach your activities list.  

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation aren't required, but if a teacher or counselor has written one for you, feel free to submit it with your application. Please ensure all letters of recommendation include your full name and date of birth. You or your teacher or counselor may submit a recommendation via mail or by emailing it to at any time, even after your application has been submitted.