Expert Advice on Writing Those Supplemental Essays

Hopefully, you've gotten a head start on writing your Common App main essay over the summer, and you're focusing more on your supplemental essays now. But whatever your situation, the first step should be organization. If College Essay Organizer is supplied by your school, then you're all set there! It will display all of your essay questions in one place instantly showing how the topics overlap, a step recommended by former Dean of Admissions at Columbia and Harvard turned admissions consultant in this post.

Other important tips shared focus around how you, one of the thousands of applicants, can stand out, especially in the supplemental essays which normally center around why you want to go to a particular school. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Think outside the box: Find a creative way to present your case that breaks the monotony of an admissions counselor's job.
  2. Pinpoint your most unique qualities: Highlight something about you and your goals that are different than everyone else's.
  3. Create a narrative: A good story will grab a counselor's attention and be more memorable.
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University of Chicago Early Deadlines are Fast Approaching

uchicagoIf you're applying early, you no doubt have your Common App main essay completed, but have you finished all of your supplemental essays? Let's take University of Chicago for example. There are 4 supplemental essays to complete. Two are required, and two are optional. Any chance you're wondering if you can skip the optional questions? Well, we're guessing not too many students applying to competitive schools skip optional questions that apply to them. Think of optional as opportunity! It's definitely worth the extra time it takes to make sure you've let the colleges get to know you as much as possible. Here are the two optional questions that you may not want to miss!

1) Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own.

2) You may submit supporting materials for music, theater and dance, or visual arts and film digitally through the "Portfolio" section of your UChicago Account. You may also submit a short creative writing sample or scientific research abstract through your UChicago account using the "upload" feature.

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Tips for Rising Seniors

What do you think is the most important part of the college admissions process?

The summer is almost over. If you are a rising high school senior and you have not started your college application, start it today! The Common App went live on August 1, and many schools have already begun posting supplemental essays questions. Getting a head start on supplemental essays during the summer (when you have free time) will allow you to focus on your schoolwork during Senior Year; starting early will alleviate juggling homework and college preparation work.

Do not treat senior year of high school lightly. Admissions officers are not pleased when students do not continue rigorous courses or drop certain academic classes if they are not required. Four years of every academic subject bolsters a résumé – and keep up with your extracurricular clubs and sports.

When it is time to write the “Why are you applying to our college?” question, learn as much about the college or specific program as possible. Remember: the more specific your essay, the stronger it will be.

And, of course, enjoy the summer! Go out for the night with friends, buy an ice cream cone, and, above all, relax. You worked hard this past year; always remember to balance hard work with a little play.

To see more tips, click here.


 

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