How to Write the Stanford Roommate Essay

Ah, the renowned Stanford roommate essay. If you are preparing a college application for Stanford University, you’ve probably heard about this famous piece of writing. But as much as you’ve heard about it, you most likely don’t have a really good idea what it is about.

Well, you are in the right place if that’s the case for you.

What is the Stanford roommate essay?

The Stanford roommate essay is one of the four essays you are required to write for your application for the Stanford University college. Unlike some other essay types, there aren’t some specific guidelines on how you should write and format your essay. The only requirement is that the essay be 100-250 words long.

The Stanford roommate essay essentially is a letter to your future roommate who you will be living with on campus. The purpose of this essay is to reveal something about you to help the roommate and the admissions committee to know you better.

And it is not about your academic achievements. Those are covered by the rest of your application. Your goal is to give the admission committee a better idea of who you are outside the class.

Stanford roommate essay format

Essays usually have some kind of a mandatory structure to them, which usually involves an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. As we’ve already mentioned, the Stanford roommate essay has no such requirements.

You may, of course, stick to the classic five-paragraph essay, but you are free to write the essay in any way that is authentic to you. The essay is as if written to your roommate, not to your professors or the admission committee.

And the way you’d talk to people of your age is very different from when you talk to adults, right?

When you think about it, it’s great that the Stanford roommate essay doesn’t have a specific format. Not limited to a certain number of paragraphs, you receive a unique opportunity to talk about the aspects not covered by the rest of your application.

3 points to keep in mind when writing the Stanford roommate essay

The Stanford roommate essay is very unique from other essay types, and there are certain things that you need to keep in mind in order to write a successful essay. We’d like to pinpoint 3 key criteria that your essay should satisfy.


Being very specific about your traits is going to allow you to convey your ideas much more easily than some general statements.

For example, instead of writing that you are hard-working, you could write that you once stayed up until 4 AM because you weren’t quite satisfied with the introduction to your paper. If you want to demonstrate your curiosity, you may mention that you’ve liked to tear apart your toys in childhood to see how they work.

Bringing real-life examples is going to help the admission committee get a clearer image of you what kind of a personality you have.


Authenticity is the next important thing to ensure while writing your Stanford roommate essay.

Ultimately, your goal is to satisfy the admission committee so that you get accepted into the Stanford University college. However, you shouldn’t attempt to write what you think the committee wants to hear from you. It will most likely sound unauthentic and will sting their eye.

Remember: you are writing a letter to your future roommate in order to reveal your personality.

Show off your unique quirks. Maybe, you meditate each morning, or do some push-ups whenever you have the time. Don’t also forget to include the motivation behind your quirk: for example, explain that you do a lot of push-ups because you want to try out college intramural sports.

In addition, tell about how you interact with your peers. Tell a funny story involving you and your friends that would uncover you as a person. Or if you’ve been staying up until late night with your roommate because you have both been embarrassingly bad at history, mention it.

Also, mention how you spend your time when relaxing alone. Do you listen to music, or maybe go out for a walk? And, of course, don’t forget to give a little explanation for your relaxation routine.


It is very important that your essay be well-written and free of any spelling and grammar errors. Before submitting your essay, make sure to run through your essay a couple of times to see if it is error-free.

It’s a good idea to have someone else read through your essay as well. This would allow you to catch the writing errors you may have missed, as well as make sure that you’ve accurately described yourself as a person and a student.

How you write your essay is also important. The ability to convey your thoughts and ideas to others is crucial. If you aren’t able to describe yourself clearly, your essay just won’t be perceived in the way that you would want. This is part of the reason why you should be specific in your essay: real-life examples are much more descriptive of you than general statements, as we’ve said above.

How to write a Stanford roommate essay?

Brainstorm details about you

First of all, you should brainstorm details about yourself which you would want to include in your essay. It may be anything, but be sure to pick the details that tell the most about yourself. There are plenty of things that may be descriptive about you, but you are limited to just 250 words. And you should include the best of yourself in those 250 words, right?

Organize these details

After you know what details of yours you will be describing in your essay, it is time to organize them. A great way to do so is to organize the details into paragraphs, with each detail having its own paragraph. This will make your message clearer and its idea easier-to-understand for the reader.

Refine your essay

You aren’t quite done yet after writing a couple of paragraphs about yourself. In fact, you may be as far from completion as you were when you were starting to write your essay.

Go through your draft a couple of times. Maybe, you find that some details aren’t that important, and that you can replace them with details more powerful and expressive of yourself.

And yeah, as we’ve mentioned above, proofread your essay so it becomes the best paper you’ve ever written!