Tips for Writing Your Stanford Roommate Essay


Kate Sliunkova

AdmitYogi, Stanford MBA & MA in Education



6 min read

Tips for Writing Your Stanford Roommate Essay

What Is Stanford's Roommate Essay?

Eight essays are part of the Stanford University college application, one of which is the roommate essay. Let's analyze the text for this question:

"Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—get to know you better."

The length requirement for the Stanford letter to roommate prompt is a minimum of 100 words and maximum of 250. Given that, feel free to answer the question however you deem fit.

Why Does Stanford Make You Write the Roommate Essay?

If you're unsure about what to write for the Stanford roommate essay prompt, don't worry—you can definitely find some great topics to discuss. The best part about this question is that it allows you to get creative and really think outside the box.

Stanford includes this prompt to better understand what you're like with others, as well as how you'll fit in with Stanford's student body. This question is your chance to reveal a different side of yourself than what you focus on in the rest of your application. The admissions committee isn't interested in your numerous extracurricular accomplishments or perfect academic record; they want to know about what you do for fun. What are some things you like to do when you're relaxing? How do you spend your free time? Who are some of your friends, and how do you interact with them? What makes you unique?

Topics to Write About in Your Stanford Roommate Essay

What should you write about in your Stanford roommate essay? Let's take a look at some potential topics:

#1: Unique Quirks and Habits

Assuming your quirks are entertaining, the Stanford roommate essay is a great place to share them. For example, do you always put in milk before your cereal? If so, this may be a great opportunity to mention it. Keep in mind that humorous stories often make the best impressions!

When you're thinking about your quirks, don't just focus on the quirk itself but also the motivation behind it. For example, why do you go to the gym everyday? Is it because you deeply value self-care? Or is it because you hold a deep love for sports? Adding that extra spin to the description helps round you out and gives an opportunity to share more about your interests and motivations.


#2: Your Relationship With Your Friends

The admissions committee not only wants to know how you'll do in academic classes, but they want to get a sense of whether or not you would fit into the campus community as a whole. The Stanford roommate essay is therefore the perfect place to discuss your relationships with people your age.

You can discuss how you interact with your classmates. For example, maybe you formed a close bond with another student who you always stayed late after choir to practice with. You can also talk about how you interact with your friends. You could share funny stories about your collective devotion to Taco Bell, or describe how you guys frequently attend local concerts.


Keep in mind, the examples you select should highlight that you're an amicable and exciting person. If the rest of your materials for Stanford emphasize your academic accomplishments, then use this essay to discuss something different about yourself.

#3: Your Favorite Things to Do

The remainder of your Stanford application will reveal your academic and extracurricular accomplishments. This essay is therefore an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what you do for fun in your spare time.

Maybe you enjoy constructing model planes, writing fanfiction, or teaching yourself new skills like breakdancing or audio mixing. Maybe you're constantly listening to podcasts about baking and are hoping to learn a challah recipe. Or maybe you just really love watching Disney movies!

3 Key Tips for Writing Your Stanford Roommate Essay

  1. Be specific

Your Stanford roommate essay should give a clear and detailed picture of who you are as a person. College essays allow the admissions committee to get to know applicants beyond their test scores, grades, and honors. The Stanford roommate essay is your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the reader and show them that you are more than just a list of accomplishments.

Don't pretend to be someone you're not or tell made-up stories in order to appeal to the committee. It's better if you show them who you really are through honest experiences and personal anecdotes. The more concrete details you can provide, the easier it will be for the adcom to visualize and connect with you.

  1. Be genuine

The admissions committee for Stanford isn't looking for grandiose statements or stories in your roommate essay--they want to get to know the real you. Don't try to fabricate aspects of your life just to make yourself sound more impressive; if you do, it will come across as insincere and inaccurate.

The admissions committee would rather hear about the authentic you—the person who spent 15 hours down a Wikipedia rabbit hole about Paris syndrome—instead of some persona that you believe they want to see.

  1. Proofread

You want to make sure your Stanford roommate essay is the best example of your work possible. Before turning in your application, edit and proofread all essays thoroughly. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and run your essays through a comprehensive spell checker and grammar checker.


Consider asking someone else to read your Stanford roommate essay. A parent, teacher, or friend can provide a helpful second opinion on your work. Make sure that the finished product represents you as a student and person. In addition, ask them to check for any small writing errors. Having a second set of eyes on your work can help make it the best it can be!

Although your Stanford roommate essay should be enjoyable, don't forget that good writing is still key!

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