In Short - how to answer "short questions"
Request Sent Successfully
Something Went Wrong

In Short - how to answer "short questions"

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 15 Jan 2020

UG application freshman admission applications


Towards the end of the application form for UG admissions, certain admission applications contain some questions which require short answers. For example:

  • Princeton - These were the questions asked in the Princeton Supplement 2019-20
    • Your favorite book and its author
    • Your favorite website
    • Your favorite recording
    • Your favorite source of inspiration
    • Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title
    • Your favorite movie
    • Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you
    • Your favorite keepsake or memento
    • Your favorite word
  • Columbia - Please list the following (150 words or fewer for each question):
    • the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year;
    • the titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year;
    • the titles of print or electronic publications you read regularly;
    • and the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.
  • Yale - Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will also respond to the following short answer questions, in 35 words or fewer:
    • What inspires you?
    • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask?
    • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called?
    • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six students. What do you hope to add to your suitemates’ experience? What do you hope they will add to yours?

Answering the questions

These questions require answers that are short, upto 150 words. But how should you answer these? 

While these questions can be a great opportunity to paint an individualistic picture of the candidate, figuring out an appropriate response takes some thinking on behalf of the applicant. You could simply just put your preferred hobby, or movie, or anything that comes to mind - which is exactly the purpose of the question. But it is important to remember there are certain answers which could possibly cause more damage to your application than good.

A few suggestions: 

  • In order to stick to the word limit, keep your writing straightforward and direct. 
  • Try to vary the responses so that they cover many activities or themes.
  • Think critically about the different aspects of your personality you are highlighting with each answer.
  • We sometimes try to create an identity for ourselves by giving radically different answers in the hope that it might make our application or impression stand out. Should you choose answers that will help you stand out? Yes! But do choose wisely, maturely.

The answers to these questions do not constitute a basis for selection on their own, but an extreme response or inappropriate content might raise red flags in the application. You should try to convey productive, creative, out of the box quirks through these responses. At the same time, try to contain the answers within a gamut of positivity. Choose tasteful responses while also being mindful of the audience. 


Other Related Blogs

The honest answer to your university essay questions

Self concept and University application

The value of persistence