2021-2022 Supplemental Essay Prompts: Duke, University of Chicago, UM and More!

Essay writing
Essay writing
Seniors: The time has come. Do not leave this for the last minute; start now on your supplemental essays! Now and over the coming weeks, the prompts for many of the colleges’ school-specific essays, also known as writing supplements, will become available to applicants. Most colleges will have released their essay prompts by the time the Common Application opens for the class of 2022 on August 1, 2021, but many release them early. We strongly recommend that you start brainstorming, drafting, and writing these essays now, ahead of the upcoming school year.

At the bottom of this email, you’ll find a link to a list of supplemental essay questions that have already been released at this time (and updated continually), like the University of Michigan, University of Florida, Emory University, Duke University, University of Miami, and University of Chicago.

But first, here’s a quick overview on what these essays are all about.

Supplemental essays help a college learn more about you not only as a student, but also as a person. For instance, you may be asked: What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? How will you contribute to the school’s community? Supplemental essay questions often ask why you want to attend a particular school or program. They may also ask you to showcase your talents, tell your unique story, and/or emphasize your ability to contribute on campus. Colleges may also ask a unique question just to see how you think.

While the Common Application essay allows you to write one essay that will be submitted to multiple colleges, the supplemental essays need to address each school’s specific question/s. A great supplemental essay can give admissions officers more reasons to admit you.

Students applying to multiple selective colleges can expect to write 15 or more supplemental essays during the college application process. The supplemental essays have an average word count of about 300-500 words. It will be much harder to write all these essays once school starts. (Trust us!)

Some supplemental essay questions for the Class of 2022 include:

“If you could witness a historic event (past, present or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?” — Emory University

“Tell us the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?” — Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“What’s so easy about pie?” — University of Chicago

“Socrates stated the ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’ Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.” — Boston College

“Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.” — Stanford University

“We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.” — University of Virginia

These supplemental essays are an integral part of the application. You will need to think of a smart, out-of-the-box answer and write it well. Therefore, let us emphasize again: Do not leave these essays for the last minute! They will take time to write. And remember, optional essays are not really optional. In fact, anytime you see the word “optional,” think: “strongly suggested.”

We’ll keep updating the list here as we learn of more colleges’ application supplements, but students who are applying to schools not on this list should check each college’s website for their essay prompts. Some schools require them and others do not. To make completely sure, call or email the admissions office of each college or university. (However, be sure you have combed the college’s admission website before taking this approach. Admission reps don’t enjoy answering questions related to information easily found on the website.)

For more information on the Common App essay and/or supplemental essays, or for information on college admissions, visit https://internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954-414-9986.

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