Conquering Supplementary Essays for the Common App

Conquering Supplement Essays on Your College Applications

Supplement essays allow you to personalize your responses to individual colleges and universities in greater detail than elsewhere on your Common Application. When writing these specialized responses, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Highlight your personal interest in the school. What academic or extracurricular activities draw you to this school? What about the school encouraged you to apply? How is the school right for you? Use the individualized answers to these questions as a foundation for your supplemental essays.
  2. Make each supplement essay specific to its corresponding school. While you should not focus on praising the college or university or citing facts about it, you can demonstrate your sincere interest in the school and show that you have done your research. Feel free to include your past experiences with the school and your impressions of its campus and community.
  3. Be prepared for redundant or quirky questions. When applying to several colleges, you might encounter almost identical supplemental questions across different applications. If so, resist the urge to repeat a single, generic answer. Try your best to be specific and to give fresh responses to each individual question. In addition, some supplement essays might ask uncommon questions or include critical thinking prompts that will force you to think creatively. Be confident! Honest, quirky answers are appropriate in this situation. Remember to give yourself enough time to consider all prompts by planning ahead and starting early.

This blog was written by Sam H.

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