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2022-2023 Supplemental Essay Prompts: Emory, UChicago, Michigan, and More! Plus Writing Tips for Supplemental Essays.

Tips on Supplemental Essays

Seniors: Start here for tips for supplemental essays! The writing prompts for many of these school-specific essays, also known as the essay supplements, became available with the August 1 release of the Common Application. We strongly recommend that you start brainstorming, drafting, and writing these essays now, ahead of the upcoming school year.

Need help? Get essay support and review through our sister company Edit The Work. This is the ideal option for students who need writing-focused assistance with the college process. Pricing is available on a per-essay basis. 

College Writing Supplements: An Overview

While the Common Application essay is submitted to multiple colleges, supplemental essays are exclusive to the schools asking them. A great supplemental essay can give admissions officers more reasons to admit you, while also providing the opportunity to tell colleges more about you and your accomplishments.

The most common supplemental essay question ask why you want to attend a particular school or program. Some prompts may also ask you to showcase your talents, tell your unique story, and/or emphasize your ability to contribute on campus. Some colleges get more creative by asking a unique question or two just to see how you think.

Students applying to multiple selective colleges can expect to write 15 or more supplemental essays during the college application process. These essays generally range in word count anywhere from 150 to 500 words.

After reading our tips for supplemental essays, want an easy link to many of the supplemental essay questions for the Class of 2023? You can find them here. Some of them include:

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

“What advice would a wisdom tooth have?” — University of Chicago

“Socrates stated that ‘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

“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

“Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong and describe that community and your place within it.” — University of Michigan

“Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy.” — Brown University

Supplemental essays are an integral part of the application. You will need thoughtful, well-written responses. Therefore, let us emphasize again: do not leave these essays for the last minute! They will take time to write, and you owe it to yourself to put your best foot forward and not rush through them. One last tip – optional essays are not really optional. In fact, anytime you see the word “optional,” pretend it’s not there!

We’ll keep updating our list of essay prompts as we learn of them. If you don’t see a school you’re applying to listed, you should check each college’s website or the application itself for the essay requirements.