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Supplemental Essays: Everything You Need To Know in 2023
  • Dec 2022
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Supplemental Essays: Everything You Need To Know in 2023

1st December 2022

Many highly selective colleges request supplemental essays in addition to the personal essay provided in your Common Application. If you're worried about not knowing how to write a supplemental essay, don't be. You can find out everything you need to know about them and why they're vital here.

What is the Supplemental Essay?

Assume you need to hire someone for a job.

Your supervisor assigns you ten questions to utilize, but she informs you that you can add a few additional questions.

The first ten questions will give you a decent idea of the candidate, but the extra few you develop will give you the best insight into whether the person will be a good fit to work with you and your team.

Consider US college additional essay questions in the same way. The Common Application questions are the fundamental questions that every school receives responses to—but the additional questions are the particular colleges' best opportunity to get to know you and determine whether or not you'll be a good fit on their campus (es).

They are also your finest opportunity to demonstrate to colleges why they should choose you. Many students need to pay more attention to the relevance of the supplementary essays, and as a result, many students are rejected. If you're reading this, you're already trying to avoid that critical error.

Fortunately, there are recognizable patterns in most institutions' questions, so you won't have to start from scratch on every essay.

Gabe Gladstrien, our leading admissions consultant, leads you through the eight most common types of supplemental essay questions and provides ideas on how to answer them in this article. Are you ready to begin? Continue reading!

Why do Universities ask for Supplemental Essays?

Admissions officers use supplemental essays to round out their picture of you and learn information about you that isn't covered in the rest of your application. When do supplemental essays come out depends on the school, but most normally start after the admissions deadline.

The supplementary essays should not contradict what you've written previously but should also not be redundant. Supplemental essays are important for students because they help you customize your application to demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills.

Whether you’re simply facing a good amount of confusion on how to write the ideal supplemental essay, you’ve reached this page just to learn how to write a supplemental essay, or you need good supplemental essay examples that will help you write your quality essay– we have got it all covered.

Specificity, honesty, and devotion are three words critical to your supplemental essays' success.

1. Specificity

When it comes to specifics, universities want you to do extensive study on what they offer and the unique elements of their campuses that particularly appeal to you.

That means doing meaningful research—not just taking the first microeconomics class they offer and noting it in your essay because that's neither unique to the university (every university has an intro to microeconomics class!) nor unique to you (thousands of students will take a class like that).

2. Authenticity

Colleges value personality and individuality when it comes to authenticity. This entails speaking narrowly and specifically about your interests. If you enjoy solving Rubik's cubes as a hobby, mention it in your article.

If you enjoy model trains, mention it in your essay; the point is to find an outlet for it at university (a cubing club? or a hobbying club?). Don't just talk about "great professional chances" - what will be beneficial to you precisely?

3. Commitment

When it comes to dedication, universities want to see that you're the type of person with a history of devoting to extracurricular activities and various communities and that you intend to continue doing so at their school in the future.

You can convey your excitement to contribute in various ways, such as "I want to expand on a passion for community service that began in high school by joining the Harvard tutoring club.

"Minor enhancements like that demonstrate that you appreciate your past commitments and intend to continue expanding on them in the future.

The Different Types of Supplemental Essay Questions

We have a list of good college essay prompts for 2023. Good college essay topics aren’t easy to come by, but this list offers examples you can use as inspiration and gives you ideas for structuring your essay.

There are eight different sorts of supplementary essays. We will look at these types and offer some top tips on responding to them below!

1. The 'Why us? / Why you?' Question

Your focus for a 'why us' prompt should be on

A.) What services does the school provide?

B.) How well does it match your interests, emotions, and values?

"Why are you picking us?" asks the college. The focus of your' why you' essay should be on (1) your interests, hobbies, and values and (2) how they fit with the school's offers. "Why should we choose you?" asks the college.

How to Answer this Question?

The 'Why us' and 'Why you' queries are two sides of the same coin, but the order in which you deliver the topics, and the amount of space you devote to each is inverted.

Finally, your goal with your essay should be to tell admissions committees honestly, indeed, and enthusiastically what you will gain from attending their school in particular, as well as what you will give to their institution as a student there.

Which specific opportunities are you going to seize? How will you apply your knowledge and experience as a leader and collaborator on their campus?

2. The Academic Interest Essay

These essays urge you to explain your desired major or if you don't have one, your general academic interests. They are typically short answer questions, with institutions frequently requesting responses of 150-250 words.

How to Answer this Question?

When responding to this prompt, you must answer three questions:

A.) Why do you wish to pursue your chosen future main topic of study (or, if uncertain, write about your principal subject(s) of academic interest)?

B.) What are your long-term objectives?

C.) How will pursuing this course of study help you attain them?

You don't have to know precisely what you plan to accomplish in the future, but having a few ideas and trying to develop those ideas with some detail will make your essay much stronger!

3. Describe an extracurricular

Tell us about an extracurricular activity and how it has influenced you. Again, these questions typically require a 150-250 word response. In these essays, you delve deeper into one of your extracurricular activities.

How to Answer this Question?

It is more vital in this essay to discuss something important to you than it is to discuss something stunning. Admissions officers want to know the answer to this inquiry.

i.) Which activity on your list is most essential to you, and why?

ii) What about your participation in that activity that we don't know from your application?

iii) What have you learned from your experience with that activity that you can apply in the future?

iv) How does this extracurricular benefit others and embody your values?

4. The Meaning of Community

Colleges may phrase these queries: "Our college campus is all about community and valuing a diverse set of people.

" What aspects of the community do you value? How have you previously aided communities? "How would you contribute to our community?"

In this scenario, you need to focus on what you would add to the community of this particular university.

How to Answer this Question?

Admissions officers are trying to determine what our school offers that you'd like to participate in as a future student by asking this question. And what will you offer or bring to our campus as a student?

In answering these questions, you must demonstrate how your previous experience as a member of a community affects what you will contribute.

5. The Second Common App essay

Like the Common App essay, these essays can have varying substance and length (500-650 words). They may request that you write about. The common app supplemental essays are designed to help you stand out when applying to colleges.

A.) Someone who has motivated you

B.) Write about an experience that has affected how you see the world. 

C.) Use a quote as a jumping-off point to inform them about your point of view.

How to Answer this Question?

This form of the extra essay usually requires you to create a 500-650 word composition in response to a broad prompt.

Writing this essay is similar to writing a second Common App essay, except you must choose a different topic that examines a new aspect of your past, hobbies, personality, or characteristics.

6. Short Takes

Some institutions need you to submit concise descriptions of yourself or your interests in 100 words or less – sometimes even without using whole sentences. They may request

i) What two adjectives would your friends use to describe you?

ii) What is your favorite word?

iii) What is your favorite snack?

iv) Who you'd like to ask a question to (alive or dead), and what you'd ask them;

v) What would the name of your class be if you were teaching it?

How to Answer this Question?

These short answer questions can be challenging to answer! Top tips include: answering the question without repeating it, considering the underlying message, explaining your answer, and being detailed!

7. The Write a Letter to Your Future Roommate Prompt

This question aims for admissions officers to determine what you will bring to school as an energetic, passionate, intelligent, and sympathetic college community member.

They can be creative, amusing, contemplative, or inspirational, depending on the theme and style that best represents your personality.

How to Answer this Question?

These questions are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to campus on a micro level. Will you be the buoyant energy ball or the reflective listener who is always willing to provide a helpful hand?

This question must be answered honestly and reflect a side of yourself that will provide a proper understanding of who you are outside of the classroom.

8. Miscellaneous prompts

These are the uncommon or inventive prompts for designing a major.

A.) Create a class.

B.) "What do you like to do for fun?"

C.) Select an image that best portrays you.

D.) What piques your interest in learning?

They usually differ in length and style. While they are uncommon, they can be a lot of fun for applicants to design!

How to Answer this Question?

These questions differ, but some general guidelines are as follows: be personal (go deep! ), humble (no bragging! ), intellectually curious (show your passion for learning), and authentic (no cliches or clichés).

What are the Supplemental Essays for Each University?

Check out our blogs to discover more about each university's Supplemental Essay prompts and how to answer them! We provide professional advice and methods on how to answer them!

A.) Brown Supplemental Essay

B.) Boston Supplemental Essay

C.) UChicago Supplemental Essay

D.) Columbia Supplemental Essay

E.) Cornell Supplemental Essay

F.) Dartmouth Supplemental Essay

G.) Duke Supplemental Essay

H.) Harvard Supplemental Essay

I) MIT Supplemental Essay

J) U Michigan Supplemental Essay

K) Northwestern Supplemental Essay

L) Notre Dame Supplemental Essay

M) Penn Supplemental Essay

N.) Princeton Supplemental Essay

O.) Stanford Supplemental Essay

P.) Syracuse University Supplemental Essay

Q.) Tufts Supplemental Essays

R.) USC Supplemental Essay

S.) University of Florida Supplemental Essay

T.) UIUC Supplemental Essay

U.) Yale Supplemental Essay

Many colleges don't require supplemental essays or even to see them. Some students opt not to send them, and some get accepted without essays.



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