We use cookies to ensure that we provide the best possible experience on our website. If you continue, we will assume that you agree to our cookie usage terms indicated in our Privacy Policy.

Writing Supplemental Essays for the Common Application 🖋

Applying to colleges is indeed a very stressful time. The most crucial elements in your application process include your grades, test scores, and courses. There is also a supplemental essay that you need to write. Aside from this required essay, many colleges also require supplemental essays. 

So, what really are supplemental essays? They are essays apart from the main ones that help the examiner get to know more about you. Supplemental essays are a great way to give away information about yourself to the examiner. They help you stand out from the crowd, and they also help you demonstrate your areas of interest. While supplemental essays aren’t always a requirement, they are one of the best ways to tell the examiner about your thoughts and how you are different from the others around you. 

Most students often worry about how to write supplemental essays. It can indeed seem to be a daunting task. You want to remain relevant, but at the same time, you want to give away as much information about yourself as possible. If you also have a question about how to write supplemental essays, then continue reading to get to know tips that can help! ⚡️ 

Writing Supplemental Essays for the Common Application

Tips for Writing Supplemental Essay 

  • Answer the Question 

The first and the most important thing you need to do is to read the prompt and understand what they are asking you. It is only when you fully well understand what they are asking you can you remain relevant and answer the questions correctly. Some students often try to use the same essay that they write for another college, but that isn’t always the best idea. Remember that the examiner is very smart and knows more about students than you think he does. So you should write a separate essay for different prompts. Be sure to answer the question that is being asked. 

  • Start With an Outline 

One of the most important things when writing an essay, whether it be a critical thinking essay or any other, is to start with an outline. An outline helps you brainstorm and have everything in perspective before you begin. It helps you channel your thoughts in the right direction and plan your essay well before you start writing. Experts advise that you brainstorm your personal qualities or skills that you want to highlight before you begin working. Once you are done with that, you can convey the right message in your college supplemental essay. 

  • Don’t Repeat Yourself 

When writing a university supplemental essay, you need to make sure that you don’t repeat yourself. That can annoy the examiner and make them feel like you are just trying to meet the word count. That is in fact, the worst thing you can do. Remember that getting to write a college supplemental essay is one of your chances to get to tell the examiner about yourself. Make use of the number of words that you have very wisely, and begin to write accordingly. 

  • Narrow Your Focus 

The biggest mistake that students make when writing a university supplemental essay is that they tend to work on a very broad topic. Choose a prompt that is much narrowed down. That can help you focus on one thing and help talk about it in the best way possible. Be very specific about what you say, and make sure you are sure about what you are saying. If you say something that is too far-fetched, examiners can easily catch you. They have ample experience in this field and can instantly tell if a student is making something up. 

  • Maintain Your Voice 

Many students ask for editing help once done. That is not a bad idea. It can help you further make your article one that stands out. But remember that you should sound like yourself. Too much input from someone else can be detrimental. The examiner can instantly tell that you have had someone to help you, which surely doesn’t give a good impression. Remember that this is a great way for the examiner to get to know you. So you need to make sure that it sounds like you. 

Step By Step Process 

If you are concerned about how to write supplemental essays, here is a step-by-step process that can guide you throughout and also some tips to avoid mistakes in the common app

This video will also help find out some tips on how to avoid the mistakes:

Introduction 

The introduction is the trickiest part of the supplemental essay. This is the part where you have to grab the reader’s attention. Not just that, but you have to say something that makes them want to continue reading. It needs to be written well so that the reader would want to continue with it. This is the part where you give an opening statement about your essay, telling the readers all they need to know about you to become interested in what will come next. 

Outlining 

Next, you need to brainstorm about all that you will be writing. Here, you need to know that you don’t have extra words to keep going on and on. So you must plan accordingly and write information that is very relevant. Bear in mind the essay prompt and write in accordance with that. Make sure you write in a very clear way and tell the reader all about you. You can either work around an anecdote or a personal experience that makes things much simpler for the reader to understand. On the internet, you will find several supplemental essay examples. These examples will help you understand how you need to frame your argument and why that is helpful for you. 

Here is a supplemental essay example that is very intriguing and helps capture the attention of the reader:

The essay prompt read: “Given your interests, values, and goals, explain why Oberlin College will help you grow (as a student and a person) during your undergraduate years.”

“I visited 18 colleges over the past year, yet Oberlin is the one place that most spoke to my interests. Early in my college search, I learned that I prefer a liberal arts college to a larger university. The collaboration between the faculty and undergraduate students, the sense of community, and the flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum are all important to me.”

We can see how this example illustrates ideally how we need to capture the attention of the readers. 

As part of the main body of the essay, you must also highlight your extracurriculars. Also, you may read how to write a Successful Common App Activities List.  That is something very important. It tells the examiner all that interests you besides your education. 

Tips for Writing Supplemental Essays for the Common Application

Conclude 

When you write your conclusion, you need to summarize what you write in the supplemental essay without repeating it. The idea is to leave the reader impressed with what you have to say. By the end, the examiner should be convinced that you are a great fit and are going to be doing really well with them. 

When you write your essay, there should be an emerging theme that comes out of that. There should be something in the supplemental essay that speaks about who you really are. If you plan on highlighting one specific part of your personality, for example, you need to ensure that you work around that theme only. 

Having said that, not all universities require supplemental essays. Here is a list of some of the world’s popular universities that require supplemental essays. 

  • American University
  • Amherst College
  • Babson College
  • Barnard College
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brandeis University
  • Brown University
  • Bucknell University
  • Caltech
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Chicago
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colgate University
  • University of Colorado – Boulder
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Fordham University
  • The George Washington University
  • University of Georgia
  • Georgetown University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Harvard University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Howard University
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Lehigh University
  • University of Michigan
  • MIT
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • NYU
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Penn State University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Purdue University
  • Reed College
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Rochester
  • Santa Clara University
  • University of Southern California (USC)
  • Spelman College
  • Stanford University
  • SUNY Stony Brook University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Texas – Austin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Villanova University
  • University of Virginia (UVA)
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wellesley College
  • William and Mary
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Yale University

Final Thoughts 

Now that your question of how to write supplemental essays is solved, you can be at ease about it, knowing that you will surely give your best to it. Make sure to read several supplemental essay examples. These examples can help you understand how to frame your argument and how to get your point across in the best way possible. Understand that the examiner will go through thousands of these essays and you might use common app writing help to get your reference. For you to stand out, your essay must be written exceptionally well. Only then will you be able to shine through the several hundreds of people who are applying. 

Vitalii Anufriiev

Vitalii Anufriiev is a CEO and Co-founder at Writing Metier. Sharing EdTech facts and tips will inspire you to learn and do more.

Similar posts

Extended Essay Requirements Updates for the Years 2022/2023

We have selected the main features of International Baccalaureate extended essays in one article. Below you will find a list of main requirements for the extended essay format. Let's start with key features.

History of Harvard citation style

History of Harvard Citation Style

Accurately and clearly referencing your research is one of the various ways to avoid plagiarizing work. In addition to academic dishonesty, referencing has its own practical reasons as well. In research, everyone is allowed to factually prove a particular claim wrong by producing a counterproductive research.

History of APA Citation Style

APA, or what is known as the American Psychological Association, is one of the paper formats researchers worldwide use. For starters, APA formatting is the way you reference your sources. And before we get into more details regarding APA format, let’s talk a bit about its origin and the features that comprise the referencing style.

History and Facts About MLA Citation Style

For anyone who is into academic writing is probably aware of MLA format and may know some basics about it as well. However, most of the times, many are not aware of the history when it comes to these formats and referencing methods. MLA, just like other formats, has its own significance which emerged with the format itself. Back in 1951, MLA was developed by Riley Parker, Indiana University professor and a Milton biographer.

How Many References are Enough for a 1500 Words Essay?

You know one of those things that take a drastic turn when you are done with schooling and enter the domains of university academics? Referencing your essays is one of these changes. Till the school level, we are to write essays without worrying about referencing. At the university level, things get serious because you are required to cite the information you are claiming in the article.

How to Make Your Essay Longer? Tricky Techniques!

Most of the times, essays come with specific requirements. There are different types of essays that are taught at schools and colleges, serving different purposes in the academic lives of students. Each and every essay comes with certain guidelines that need to be followed. One of the most important guidelines includes the word limit requirement.

How to write IB Extended Essay? Tips and Tricks

Students across the world always find themselves trying to understand how IB extended essays work because, let’s face it, understanding it can get a little tricky. And that isn’t the case with just the IB EE (International Baccalaureate extended essay); it goes for all academic assignments. But with EE, your International Baccalaureate Diploma depends on it. And what is this extended essay for IB Diploma, you ask?

IB ToK Essay Prompts for November 2022

Every year, students who started IBDP are waiting for IB to share the list of specific prescribed titles for Theory of Knowledge essays. Like in all the previous years, IB opened a list of six topics for TOK essays for the next semester.

Most Common Mistakes in College Applications Leading to Failure

Most college application mistakes cause college applicants around the world to be rejected year after year and how to prevent this. You need to know that even if a refusal came from the university, this is not the "end of the world". It is often possible to remedy the situation.

SEO Tools for Your Online Business

SEO analytical tools are necessary for any online business that wants to succeed and gain more traction. One can start with Google functionality, simple and free apps, or get a professional all-in-one suit. 

Tackle with Common App Essay Prompts 🎓

Dealing with Common App essays can be difficult with so much already on your plate. You shouldn't wait for the last minute and start off writing away with your work so that you don't have to go through the stress of doing this last minute. In this guide, you will understand how to deal with common app essay prompts in the best way.

Top Mistakes To Avoid On Common App Essay & How To Fix them

you will learn how to write a motivation letter that won't get lost among others, how to avoid the most common app essay mistakes, what are those "biggest" mistakes people make on their college application essays and how to prevent them. I will also share with you my personal experience and research on this topic.

Reader Comments