Drexel University Essay Prompt

Drexel’s Custom-Designed Major offers students the opportunity to pursue an individualized and interdisciplinary course of study that uniquely satisfies their interests. Designed for the highly motivated, it allows students to lay out their own educational roadmap that is supplemented with one-on-one mentorship from faculty.


Note: Prior to applying for the Custom-Designed Major, check out Drexel’s extensive list of majors and minors to make sure that your desired course of study cannot be fully satisfied by an existing program. Some examples of Custom-Designed Majors include Quantitative Behavioral Finance, Sustainable Design, Science and Technology Policy, and New Media Entrepreneurship.


Despite appearing in the essay section of the Common App, this prompt can be more accurately described as a “vision statement.” It is very specific in its requirements and outlines all of the content that Drexel wants to see from applicants. It can be broken down into five key points.


Vision Statement Key Points:


  1. What do you want to study?
  2. What do you hope to accomplish while in the program?
  3. Why do you need a Custom-Designed Major?
  4. How will a Custom-Designed Major prepare you for your career/pursuits and help you impact the world?
  5. What is your plan of study?


Don’t be intimidated by the large block of text in the prompt because at it’s core, the vision statement simply asks you to explain why and how a personalized education path at Drexel will benefit you.


Why a Custom-Designed Major?

A strong way to start off your vision statement is by identifying a societal or professional need for an educational pathway that is currently nonexistent at the school. You can open with a personal experience or an observation that shows why an interdisciplinary approach is necessary. By doing so, you immediately grab the attention of your reader and give him/her the lenses to understand the rest of your writing from your perspective.


Once you highlight that need, you should specify a course of study by selecting at least two existing programs and discussing their intersection to form a Custom-Designed Major. Ideally, you want to come up with a name for your major, which could be based on either a professional field or your own experiences. Make sure you describe the programs in detail because your vision statement is centered around them.


Make sure to answer the “why” by explaining the future benefits of your course of study. Higher education helps you become better prepared for your pursuits later on in life, so you must express some kind of a trajectory that necessitates your Custom-Designed Major.


If you know exactly what you want to do in the future, write about your specific career path and how having a solid foundation in multiple fields will strengthen your skills and insight. If you are not certain of the specific job you would like to work at but have a general idea of what you want to do, discuss the shortcomings that currently exist and how your interdisciplinary studies prepare you to better respond to situations.


How will you take advantage of the program?

How will you use your time at Drexel? The admissions officers want to know that you are going in with clearly defined goals. Remember, this program is for students who are driven to pursue a specific path, and not for those who are still exploring. You need to make sure that you clearly demonstrate that you will make full use of the resources available.


That said, your vision statement must outline your key goals while in the program. Think about what you want to accomplish. For example, maybe you want to develop an in-depth understanding of how two fields relate so that you can one day make improvements to an existing industry. Whatever you decide your goals should be, make sure that they connect back to the interdisciplinary nature of your custom-designed major.


Plan of Study

Once you know what you hope to accomplish in the program, ask yourself how you will achieve those objectives. What academic resources will put you on the right trajectory? Here, Drexel wants you to be specific and discuss which aspects of existing programs you will merge to form the crux of your Custom-Designed Major.


Your proposed Plan of Study should be a term-by-term outline of the courses that you want to take. Notice how the prompt specifies you to look at existing courses in the University Catalogue. You want to create an organized table that lists out the specific classes you plan on taking during each term of each academic school year.


The majority of the academic departments at Drexel operate under a quarter system, permitting you to take classes even during the summer if desired. This gives you the option of overloading on courses, but make sure your proposal is one that you could realistically manage.


In addition to listing out the courses you want to take, make sure you include the ones that are degree requirements for all Custom-Designed Majors. These requirements include a number of CSDN/WEST courses as well as fulfilling a number of credits in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and sciences.


Note: This plan does not necessarily need to be set in stone, but it should be thorough enough to indicate that you have the foresight to succeed as a student in the program.


Our typical student has performed successfully in a challenging college preparatory curriculum and on standardized tests, ranking in the top quarter of their high school class. We consider letters of recommendation, high school activities, special talents, interests and community service involvement. These activities help us determine if you will benefit from and enhance our college community.

Application Process for:


Admissions Application DeadlineFinancial Aid Application DeadlineAdmissions NotificationFinancial Aid NotificationStudent Response Deadline
Fall First-Year Application

November 1 (Priority*)

April 1 (Rolling)

April 1RollingRolling as of OctoberMay 1
Fall Transfer ApplicationAugust 1March 15RollingTwo weeks after acceptanceMay 1
Spring First-Year ApplicationDecember 1December 1Rolling as of November 1Two weeks after acceptanceDecember 15
Spring Transfer ApplicationDecember 1December 1Rolling as of November 1Two weeks after acceptanceDecember 15

* Students who file by November 1 will receive priority consideration for admission and scholarships. You are guaranteed an admission decision by November 30.

Special Programs Deadlines and Requirements:

Because of their limited and/or selective enrollment, a number of specialized programs have their own set of deadlines and/or requirements.

3+3 Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

with Thomas Jefferson University, College of Health Professions

  • Application Deadline - December 15
  • Selected students will be invited to interview
    NOTE: Students do not need to apply to Thomas Jefferson.

Elizabethtown College Honors Program

  • Preferred Application Deadline - January 15
  • Preferred Interview Deadline (required) - January 15
  • Final Application Deadline - March 15
  • Final Interview Deadline (required) - March 15

Law Early Admissions Program (LEAP)

with Drexel University's Thomas Kline School of Law and Widener University's School of Law

  • Application Deadline - December 15
  • Interview Deadline (required) - December 1

Masters (4+1): Molecular Medicine

with Drexel University

  • A completed undergraduate E-town admissions application
  • Official high school transcripts
  • Official record of SAT totaling 1200 or higher (ACT accepted at 27 or higher)
  • Cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 (on 4.0) scale or higher

Pre-Medical Primary Care Program

with The Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine

  • Application Deadline - December 15
  • Selected students will be invited to interview

Standardized Test Waiver

Elizabethtown College values a strong high school record, complete with a challenging curriculum and consistently strong grades relative to your peers. For students who have demonstrated excellence during their four years of high school, Elizabethtown offers the opportunity to waive standardized testing from the application and scholarships review process. To qualify for the waiver option, students must rank in the top 10% of their class or, if the school does not rank, must have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. 

Students who waive their scores, particularly if the scores do not reflect the same level of achievement or aptitude as the rest of their application, generally help their chances for both admissions and for scholarship. When a score is waived for a student's application, admissions and scholarship reviews place greater emphasis on the relative strength of the student's curriculum, their submitted writing samples and teacher recommendations (as they relate to preparedness and communication skills).

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