Rice University is a small-medium private university located in Houston, Texas. Rice prides itself in having a 6:1 student-faculty ratio and a high level of research activity. Overall, Rice is known for its world-renowned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs.
This past year, Rice received over 18,000 freshman applications, and about 2,800 were admitted, giving Rice University a 15.8% acceptance rate. Rice is lauded for its undergraduate teaching, and was ranked #14 overall for national universities and #3 for "best undergraduate teaching."
Admission into Rice University is quite difficult, and in order to get your best shot of acceptance, your essays must make you stand out from the crowd. Below are some accepted Common App essay examples and supplements that were written by real students accepted by Rice.
Without further ado, let's jump right into the essays!
Please note: all names, cities, and other personal information in the essays and supplements have been replaced to keep the authors' privacy.
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Rice University Essays
Common App Essays (1)
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
(650 words max)
My head was contorted to the left in a painful, awkward position in which the tip of my head brushed the top of my chest. It was as if a puppeteer had gained control of my now jerky, wooden-like legs; I could not walk without aid. My whole body was so weak that simple movements like lifting a glass of water exhausted me. Therefore, I had to be fed, bathed, and clothed as if I was an infant. My speech was extremely slurred and incomprehensible. The physical problems were not what destroyed me the most, however; my mental cognition was severely inhibited. I could not successfully read, write, or even keep up with simple plots of television shows. Everything moved too fast for me. I’d just finished learning about complex trig identities, and I now couldn't even count to ten!
I’d developed a sudden, severe, rare form of dystonia just after my junior prom, but I have never believed in the quote “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” more than during my miraculous recovery, which revealed that my illness occurred to encourage me to stretch my supposed limitations in life’s journey.
My high school principal froze my grades where they were at, but my mother had to contact the college I was dual enrolled with to extend the time to take my French and trig finals. I’d doubted I could even pass my finals due to my current cognitive state.
My friends and family held back tears when they visited me. Their eyes stared at my stark white neck brace and awkward limbs, and their ears strained to comprehend my unintelligible speech. I did not react. I could not react. I felt like an empty shell of a human because I could not feel any kind of emotion—happiness, anger, fear, or sadness. I was simply being. Precious values my parents instilled in me–to maintain my faith and to crave the expansion of my knowledge– were gone. Prescribed medicine relieved my pain, but the various neurologists I’d seen could not determine how long I would be in this state; I believed God wanted me to be mentally and physically handicapped for the rest of my life.
Then one day, after many hazy days of nothingness and being unaware of the passage of time, my mother asked me morosely if I would like to enroll in an online school or drop out of school altogether since my condition was not improving. Her words echoed in my mind, and I was immediately drawn out of my vegetative state because I was horrified at the potential reality of my dreams being crushed from something I had no control over. I refused to accept my supposed fate.
I was the one thing in life I had control over.
Every day, I exercised my legs by taking my dogs outside, checking the mailbox, and walking around my room. Instead of watching new shows or reading books, since I could not keep up, I watched movies that I’d regularly watched to practice reading subtitles and interpreting information. Who would’ve thought that Walt Disney’s Tarzan and Pixar’s Bee Movie would be some of the most vital tools of my healing process?
For my trig class, numbers appeared to be Latin. However, after many weeks, I finally was able to solve problems and learn at the original rate I did before I got sick. As for French, I studied it every day to combat my weakened recall. Eventually, towards the end of the summer, I took my finals and aced them, and this success encouraged me to continue to strive for more successes, varying from learning new French words every day to starting my own music business. From my sickness, I realized that even the darkest points of your life occur for a reason, and any success begins with a powerful, true sense of self-determination.
660 / 650 words
Supplemental Essays (3)
With the understanding that the choice of academic school you indicated is not binding, explain why you are applying to that particular school of study.
(150 words max)
It's an understatement to label me as an English geek; I am that kid who squeals in excitement in English class when given a new essay assignment while others may groan in exasperation. I understand why some may be a bit anxious when preparing to turn in an essay for evaluation; you could bring an essay to two different English teachers and receive two different grades on it. This subjectivity is why some folks may prefer subjects such as mathematics in which the right answer is not debatable. However, its subjectivity is exactly what captivates me. I enjoy reasoning my opinions of arguments and the intentions of authors.
I was really happy when I learned I didn't have to major in Criminal Justice or Political Science to be a civil rights lawyer because I want to become a professional author as well. So, majoring in English is perfect for me.
150 / 150 words
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
(150 words max)
I petitioned for an introductory law class, but my high school principal rejected the idea. There were not any introductory online courses apt for me. Since I could not find law opportunities, I created my own opportunity; during the late summer of 2017, I completed two law internships.
I created this opportunity while accompanying my aunt to court. There, I met Judge Wolfe and Attorney Butler. I spoke with both of them for a while, and eventually I asked if I could complete an internship with them. They both agreed eagerly! I shadowed both of them in their separate offices as well as in the court room. I took notes and recalled important information they taught me. I learned so much that I would not have found from a simple google search, and I made many connections with people that offered to help me with my career goals.
147 / 150 words
How did you first learn about Rice University, and what motivated you to apply?
(250 words max)
I live in Ponchatoula, but I am from New Orleans. Most of my family is from there, including my parents, and as a result, I have grown up in a food-loving household. My parents and I decided to take a foodie vacation to Houston since we heard about how amazing the food is there. My mom suggested I research the schools in Houston so I could visit one while we were there. I will admit that I chose Rice simply because it was the highest-ranking school according to a quick Google search. I didn't do any further research.
However, as soon as I stepped through the Sallyport, my nonchalance faded, and I was entranced.
The beauty of the school was nearly enough for me to apply, but I was intrigued when my tour guide spoke about the importance of liberal arts at Rice because I have never been in an environment that held such respect for them. I also loved the housing system of Rice. It reminded me of the houses in Hogwarts from Harry Potter! I felt incredibly welcomed at Rice; I was pleasantly surprised when I asked the tour guide if I could visit the Shepherd School of Music by myself since it wasn't included in the tour, and she told me "of course." As I stepped through the unlocked doors and strolled through the maroon floors of the Shepherd School of Music, I didn't hesitate to inform my parents of my new dream school.
247 / 250 words
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