How to: College Supplements

The college application can be frightening: essays, resume, supplements, FAFSA or CSS Profile, scholarships, deadlines, early decision/ early action/regular decision. It seems as if the list goes on and on. This process can take months, but with a checklist in hand and time distribution, the long hours of stressing out will end before you know it and you will be on your way to college.

Out of all the tasks needed to be completed, the most time-consuming and stressful tasks is the supplements.

What are supplements?

Supplemental essays are additional pieces of writing that give admissions officers the chance to get to know you, apart from grades and high school courses. In other words, you get to tell admission officers a piece of information that they don’t already know: an essay that shows them who you are and what your interests are.

You might be wondering how you are supposed to tackle all the additional supplements that each school requires with a deadline, but don’t worry, this article will help you ease the process.

What should you do first?

Gather and carefully read all the prompts each university requires you to answer. Remember that not all schools require you to send one additional essay, some may ask you to send multiples or just the personal essay. It is important to make sure you are sending in all the required essays. Additionally, make sure you check the word limit for each as they may vary. Additional essays’ word limit can go from 25 characters to 500 words. So always make sure you are within the requirements.

Admissions officers want to get to know you apart from what’s on your application, so make sure you reveal something that can’t be found anywhere else. Write about yourself, your goals, character, even the smallest events that changed your whole perspective of something.

Take your time to research!

Some schools might ask you why you want to attend the university, and it is important you use specific details that are unique from there. This can be from courses, professors, to organizations, to any programs of interest to you at that school. Be as detailed as possible, but make sure to connect them to specific goals and interests. Sometimes important to remember is that you should know what the college and admissions officer might be looking for in their applicants.

Recycle your essays!

A small hack I learned is to always recycle your essays! There are some prompts that are very similar between schools, you just twitch a few things and you are ready to go, but make sure that you don’t paste in a college specific essay or details for the wrong school. That would be so bad! Always re-read what you write for each school before submitting.

Check the word count!

Most colleges will give you a maximum of words you can submit for the essay, so be sure to always be below the number of words. Other schools can also give you a minimum required of words, so you will have to meet them while applying.

Edit, edit edit!

The most important thing when writing your supplements is to always edit them! This can help you look out for any grammatical mistakes, reduce or increment your word count, or just making sure everything sounds alright.

Lastly, have fun!

Remember this is the part where you are able to show the admission committee who you are. The place where you can talk about something that isn’t in your CommonApp application; the place where you are able to stand out in the pile of thousands of students. Just be who they are and think about why that school is perfect for you.

All in all, college supplements can be intimidating at first, but remember that this is what makes you stand out in a pool of thousands of other applicants. Take a deep breath and think of things you would want somebody that doesn’t know you to know. Enjoy your time writing these supplements! At the end of the day, these writings are what makes you who you are. You got this!

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