This is the 23rd post of 30 Days to Freedom: How to Write College Admissions Essays That Work. To access earlier posts, click here.
Most students totally miss the opportunity to connect with colleges in their supplement essays. Supplement essays are your best chance to demonstrate what admissions officers call your “fit” for a specific college, so give them your best energy.
How can you authentically answer questions like “Why do you want to attend this college?” for each college on your list?
First of all, for the time that you are answering each college’s supplements, think of that college as the only one you are applying to. Go even further: imagine you are really attending that college, research classes and extracurriculars. Go ahead and phone a friend who already attends that college, or chat with one of the students on the college’s web site. Dive in and ask yourself:
- What classes will you take?
- Which courses and interdisciplinary programs excite you?
- Where will you hang out when you’re not in class?
- In which clubs will you take on a leadership role?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to do that you can only do at that college?
What are the most powerful connections between your past experiences and what you see yourself taking on at that particular college? Depending on the question, tell a story that helps you to answer the particular question the college is asking.
Try this example: The University of Rochester asks you to describe a moment that embodies their motto, Meliora, “ever better.” Take some time to brainstorm what “ever better” means to you. Is it the time you were about to give up but kept going? A time when you surpassed your previous limit? Is it something about the community becoming better through something you made happen? Writing down all your ideas as you brainstorm will help to open up your memories and creativity not just to the definition, but also to moments that reveal what you have done that embodies the motto “ever better.” Those are the connections you are looking for: stories that show your idea of “ever better” in action and in life.
If the question is “What major” or “What program of study” the steps are the same: do a deep dive into that particular major at that particular school, paying close attention to interdisciplinary programs that connect the major with exciting research and other unique opportunities at that school. Then find the genuine connections between what you want to study in college and work you have already done.
Remember: you can’t make up genuine connections! You need to take the time to get to know each college you are applying to–in as much depth as you possibly can–and write your essays about yourself, but with a strong sense of which college you are talking to when you complete that college’s supplements.
Tomorrow: how to respond to supplements that ask about you—your influences, community, your passions and activities.
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Carol Barash, PhD, founder and CEO of Story To College and author of Write Out Loud, has taught over 10,000 students–from first-generation college students to the children of bankers and CEOs–and teachers from around the world how to tell their stories and write essays that win admission and scholarships at their top choice colleges.
Hey all, I've recently submitted my supplemental essay to the Common App website, but before I finalize the application, I decided to seek out some professional advice and critiques. The Rochester supplement asks: - The University of Rochester offers many rare advantages, building from our "Meliora" ("ever-better") motto that has inspired generations of scholars, professionals, and artists. Describe what's leading you to apply, and what kind of "Meliora" experiences you want to have here at Rochester and beyond.
Below is the submitted form of my Rochester supplement. Are there any grammatical corrections that any of you could suggest? I think I definitely explained what the college could give to me, but what about what I could bring to the college?
Sometimes I wonder why we no longer have any Aristotles or Leonardos in the world among us today. Why're there no masters of nearly every field of academia, polymaths who can, one day, change the way we perceive the world that is beneath our feet, and then the heavens on the next? As I studied throughout my academic career, I developed a fascination with the biological sciences, a passion for European culture and history, and an inclination towards music appreciation. It was then that I noticed every student has a unique set of interests, a unique set of passions, so why should they be directed to choose a conventional, uniform education identical to every other student's in that field? I am applying to the University of Rochester because I want to study exactly what I want, when I want to. The University of Rochester allows students the utmost freedom to sculpt their own unique education around their unique interests and passions through the cluster program.
Many university campuses are eager to accept well-rounded students, but what better school than the University of Rochester to produce well-rounded graduates? The home of the Yellow-Jackets would provide me with the opportunity to shadow medical professionals at the Strong Memorial Hospital, bringing my own research experience to one of the most distinguished institutions in the world, and then walk across campus to the University's world-renowned Eastman School of Music to watch one of my favorite musical performances, a cappela, performed by the Midnight Ramblers.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thank You!!
Some minor grammatical errors. Overall, the essay seems to be fine:
Why're there no masters of nearly every field of academia, polymaths who can, one day, change the way we perceive the world that is beneath our feet, and then the heavens on the next? -- Why are there no masters of nearly every field of academia - polymaths - who can not only change the way we perceive the world beneath our feet, but also the heaven above us?
because I want to study exactly what I want, when I want to -- lose the 'to' (never end a sentence with a preposition)
The home of the Yellow-Jackets would provide me with the opportunity to shadow medical professionals at the Strong Memorial Hospital, bringing my own research experience to one of the most distinguished institutions in the world, and then walk across campus to the University's world-renowned Eastman School of Music to watch one of my favorite musical performances, a cappela, performed by the Midnight Ramblers. --- The home of the Yellow-Jackets would provide me with the opportunity to shadow medical professionals at the Strong Memorial Hospital - bringing my own research experience to one of the most distinguished institutions in the world - and walk across campus to the University's world-renowned Eastman School of Music to watch one of my favorite musical performances, a cappela, performed by the Midnight Ramblers.
Let me know if you have any questions.
And please critique my Lafayette essay:)
Really? Only Grammatical? I'm actually pretty happy to hear that you think the actual substance of the essay is good...
Could You rate the quality of my essay, substance-wise, on a scale of 1-10?
I have a question about the hyphens...Are those actually grammatically correct substitutions for commas in those circumstances..?
I'll take a look at your Lafayette supplement too! :)
Glad I could help. But if I were you, I'd wait for more opinions on the content matter. I have seen drastically different views in the same thread many a time.
Yeah, I feel they are. I am about 95% sure, but again, do wait for more opinions. Let me give you a 'like', so you can make this thread Featured. That'll attract attention faster:)