Smith College Application Essay Prompt
For the 2016 to 2017 application cycle, Smith College’s single essay prompt is as follows:
We know that colleges ask a lot of hard questions on their applications. This one is not so hard and we promise, there is no hidden agenda — just have fun! We have all heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ Recount a time when something really made you laugh. (200-word limit)
Below, we’ll outline each of the steps required to properly answer this question.
OVERVIEW: You may notice that the word limit here is a brief 200 words. That being said, this prompt is not the place to write about the most elaborate joke you have on record. You may also note that Smith College is telling you to “just have fun,” which would imply a certain level of creativity should be present in your response. This question is pretty self-explanatory; you are to describe a funny situation or experience to the adcoms.
STEP 1: Once you’re asked to think about a time that made you laugh, it’s really hard to think of just that. You may be searching your mind through and through for the golden funny moment, but it might not come. The key is to brainstorm all you can think of right now and write it down on a sheet of paper. Unless you’re absolutely certain you found the golden moment that you’d like to share, let the prompt sit in your mind for a few days so that you can continue letting ideas seep into your head. As soon as they do, write them down on your list.
Note: Keep in mind that the essay is a perfect chance to showcase who you are as a person. This funny moment should communicate something about you — perhaps a quirky sense of humor, a particular interest of yours, an ability to be good-natured even during trying times… the list goes on.
STEP 2: Now that you have a list gathered of all the funny ideas you could present, it’s time to start narrowing down the ideas. Now, think through the following questions:
- Which ideas are too short for 200 words? Too long?
- Which funny stories are offensive or inappropriate to tell an admissions officer?
- Which funny stories do you have the least details about?
- Which ideas have humor that is so unique to you that it would be hard to understand by adcoms or even the average person?
There are many other criteria in addition to the above that you may consider when going through the elimination process. Once you’ve narrowed down your ideas properly, it is time to finalize which one you’d like to write about.
STEP 3: It’s time to start writing! Remember to apply your creativity, write with a strong voice, and follow all the standards and conventions of the English language. (It’s easy to forget that funny jokes still need to follow the rules of English!)
With such a short and fun prompt, it is okay to forgo an introduction in favor of just a hook that leads into the joke. There are lots of different ways to accomplish this, including a relevant quote, an opening scene that will define the setting or humor for the rest of your essay, or a sample of immediate action that will plunge your readers straight into the situation.
Next, fill in the body of your essay with the experience you settled upon earlier. You need not end with a conclusion paragraph — it isn’t practical, since there simply isn’t the space for that. Instead, wrap up your essay in a satisfying way, perhaps invoking the punchline of your joke for the last sentence.
If you cannot (or choose not to) end on your punchline, you may decide to reference your hook for some original added humor after the punchline. As you can see, there are many ways you can approach the beginning and the end of your essay! Once you are done, read through the essay multiple times yourself for edits. Have teachers, parents, mentors, and other helpful adults aid you in your essay editing as well.
Now that you have a general idea of how to properly respond to Smith College’s prompt, it’s time to let the funny moments roll out of your brain.
We highly recommend that you don’t procrastinate, even though this essay may seem like a simple one on the surface! Every word and idea counts, especially when it comes to a competitive school like Smith College. In the meantime, you may consider visiting the campus of Smith College to check out the campus and get some inspiration. Good luck on your essay!
Who Should Apply
Summer Precollege Programs at Smith are open to academically talented young women who will enter grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 in fall 2018. Enrollment is limited to ensure a quality academic experience. The program’s selective admissions process is based on a student’s academic performance in middle or high school, a written essay and a teacher recommendation. Students must have a strong record of academic achievement, a high level of motivation and a willingness to explore.
Applications will not be reviewed until all materials (application, essay, recommendation, transcript and financial aid application, if applicable) have been received. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials necessary for a complete application are received by Summer Precollege Programs at Smith. Admissions are rolling until all programs are filled.
Financial aid is available on a limited basis. Applicants must submit a complete application with all materials by the listed deadline to be considered.