Expert Tips for Writing a Supplemental Essay

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While a Coalition or Common Application essay is often a mandatory requirement in every college application, certain schools require candidates to submit supplemental essays that are specific to their school. Prestigious schools ask for such essays to assess candidates based on their outlook and values instead of solely selecting them based on their grades and extracurricular activities. In a way, your supplemental essay represents your personality, aspirations, and expectations from the college you are applying to. 

At times, a candidate with good grades and an overall impressive profile may not get accepted into the college of their choice because of a poor supplemental essay. A lot of candidates do not pay attention to the essay they submit because they are confident about their grades. However, a well-written supplemental essay is the crux of a college application. Follow these useful tips to learn how you can write a powerful supplemental essay and strengthen your college application. 

  1. Check Supplemental Essay Prompts

As mentioned, only a few colleges ask you to submit a supplemental essay. Before you begin writing one, check the list of colleges that require such essays. Furthermore, most of these colleges design their own essay prompt, which must be checked before formulating your essay. You can access the supplemental sections of respective websites of schools and answer the questions that follow. In a way, the prompt will help you formulate a strong essay - something which the admission officers prefer during the assessment. The questions mentioned in the prompts are tailored to the identity and values of the college, and following the prompt will strengthen your application. 

  1. Do Not be Too Repetitive 

Make sure that your supplemental essay is different from your Coalition Application essay. Repeating information about yourself and your outlook in your supplemental essay is not only lousy but also comes across as off-putting. It also shows that you are not ready to put extra effort to be accepted into the college of your choice. To avoid repetition, reveal something new in each essay; it can be about your personality and character or aspirations and hope. More importantly, do not reuse and repeat the essay that was written for another college. 

  1. Do Thorough Research 

Do not begin writing your essay until you have done your research. For instance, if the essay prompt asks you the reason to choose the college, you can pick relevant subjects and courses that are exclusively floated by the school and mention them in your essay. By doing your research and following the prompt, you are not only following the rules but polishing the essay to increase your chances of getting admitted. Your essay should comply with the policies of the college you are applying to. Get information related to such guidelines on official college websites. Additionally, get in touch with current students of the college you are interested in and take tips on writing a strong supplemental essay. 

  1. Write Freely 

The secret to a great supplemental essay is an unrestricted and simple flow. When writing a supplemental essay for NYU, Harvard, or any other prestigious school, do not fret or agonize too much over the words you write, as it can sabotage the true essence of your essay. There should be a natural flow to your essay. To achieve this, take a pen and notepad and start writing without thinking twice. Read the questions carefully and let the words flow. Do not worry about the grammatical errors yet; you can always go back and edit it. Don’t hold back and jot down everything that comes to your mind. Before you know it, your unrestricted writing flow will form a decipherable pattern that is bound to impress the admission officer assessing your application. 

  1. Brainstorm Ideas and Write with a Premise 

Dig deeper and find your real feelings as it will impart essence to your essay. Find what you care about and the things that trigger your emotions. What is it that makes you happy, sad, or angry? What truly inspires you? How do you feel in certain situations? Even though it seems subjective, it is one of the most effective exercises to add value to your supplemental essay and set it apart from others. Be honest and let it reflect on your essay. Your interests, values, hobbies, and memories should be clearly portrayed. Lastly, make sure that your story is threaded around a premise that matches the school’s values. 

Since colleges receive hundreds of applications every year, you must pay extra attention to your supplemental essay to stand out and secure a spot in the school of your choice. Before you submit your essay, make sure that it is reviewed and checked for grammatical errors by one of your mentors. Read your essay multiple times, both in your mind and out loud, to spot any typos or unfinished thoughts.