College Supplemental Essay Prompts Are Here

Seniors, get started on your supplemental essay! Many of the colleges’ school-specific essays, also known as writing supplements, are out. Start brainstorming, drafting, and writing these essays now.

At the bottom of this email, you’ll find a link to supplemental essay questions released by different colleges like the University of Michigan, UNC Chapel Hill, and University of Chicago. But first, here’s a quick overview on what the supplemental essays are all about.

Supplemental essays help a college learn more about you. While the Common Application essay allows you to write one essay for multiple colleges, the supplemental college essays need to be different for every application. A great supplemental essay can give admissions officers more reason to admit you.

Students applying to a healthy mix of target, reach, and safety colleges can expect to write 20 or more supplemental essays during the college application process. These essays have an average word count of 300-500 words. It will be much harder to write all these essays once school starts.

Supplemental essay questions typically ask why you want to attend a school or a 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.

Supplemental essay questions from prior years have included:

  • “What matters to you, and why?” – Stanford University
  • “What do you hope to find over the rainbow?” – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • “To tweet or not to tweet?” — University of Virginia
  • “Tell us your favorite joke and try to explain the joke without ruining it.” – University of Chicago
  • “What does #YOLO mean to you?” — Tufts University

These supplemental essays are important. You will need to think of a smart answer to any essay a college requests. And these need to be well written. Do not leave these essays for the last minute. They will take time to write. And, remember, optional essays are not really optional.

Not a client of International College Counselors? We offer help with editing or proofreading of the essays via EdittheWork.com

A number of 2016-17 essay prompts for a various colleges can be viewed on this International College Counselors webpage. We’ll keep updating the list as we learn of more colleges’ application supplements, but students who are applying to schools not on this list should check each college’s websites for their essay prompts. Some schools have them and some do not. To make completely sure, call and check with the admissions office of each college or university.

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.