#UMassDBelieves | Writing Prompt

We want to know…


Compose a belief statement that shares one of the cores values that shapes your daily life. Focus on a single value and explain the moment or experiences that brought that belief into focus for you. Help us understand why your belief matters by composing a persuasive and vivid belief statement.

How to Get Started

Consider the experiences and values that shape you–are there statements or moral codes that you live by? If so, can you explain how those were shaped for you? Tell the story that only you can tell and ground your beliefs in lived experiences. You may choose to reflect on just about anything, from experiences with family, friends, education, to adventures in foreign cities or your hometown, or perhaps a personal struggle that you’ve overcome; our values take root in an infinite number of ways. Remember, your audience is your incoming class, as well as the UMassD community at-large, so you will need to be thoughtful, personal and descriptive.

Use the categories on the right to help you decide what to write.

Mark your calendars!
Due 8/1 by midnight SUBMIT to Provost’s Writing Contest (optional)
Due 8/15 by midnight POST your 250-word belief statement to the blog (required)
Due 1st day of class

RESPOND to your peers on the blog


Prepare to Write | What do you care about?

Check out the Guidelines at National Public Radio- New England. Visit National Public Radio’s This I Believe website, This I Believe New England, UMassD’s faculty and staff submissions from previous years, and the Essay Contest Winners and Finalists from the summers of 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. Spend time getting a sense of the stories shared both in our community and within the larger “This I Believe” community. Consider:

  • In what context did your peers share their belief?
  • How did they support their belief statements with personal experience?
  • What kind of style did they use to engage their audience?


What do you believe? Compose your own belief statement of approximately 250 words. Your belief statement is a narrative that explains how you came to understand one of your own core beliefs through experience.

Tip: Specificity and originality are important, and so is your audience. Be mindful that when you post, you publish for all to see, so choose your content, style and tone with your audience in mind.

Want to know where to post? Either look to the menu on the right and choose a “Blogging Category” and post under the “comments” section or see complete Blog Posting Instructions at the bottom of this page.

Step 2.  Respond to your Peers | Due 1st day of class

Please read the stories of your fellow students and use Reply and Like to respond to them. They want to hear from you, and you want to hear from them!

Step 3. Submit to the Provost’s Writing Contest | Due 8/1

This part is optional, but you’ve done all the hard work of reflecting on your values and composing a belief statement, so why not develop your post and submit an essay?

Blog Posting Instructions
  • You are only posting a 250-word belief statement on the Blog.
  • Type your FIRST NAME LAST INITIAL at the beginning of your post- required.
  • Comments will post within 24-48 hours; all comments are read and approved by UMassD faculty.
  • Comments may be redacted by blog administrators for any reason.
  • Be kind in your replies. The UMassD community is reading!

When you’re ready to post, read the following guidelines carefully and complete each step:

  1. Select a Blogging Category from  the right-hand menu that best matches with the subject of your belief statement.
  2. Select “Comment.” Here, you will see the comments already submitted by your peers.
  3. Below your peers’ comments, you’ll see a dialogue box—“Leave a Reply”
  4. Enter your text in this box—please check grammar, spelling, and mechanics before you submit the comment. You will not be able to edit once you have posted.
  5. Type your FIRST NAME LAST INITIAL at the beginning of your post– this is required. We want students to take ownership over their words.
  6. Preview your comment before publishing– we recommend that you do so, since there is no editing
  7. Select “Publish” when you’re ready to post.  Comments will post within 24-48 hours. All comments are read and approved by UMassD faculty.
  8. Respond to others by selecting the Reply or Like options directly beneath their post.