How to Write Supplemental School Essays

What to keep in mind to ensure your application is cohesive and informative

Supplemental Essay Length

Generally, the length of supplemental essays is no longer than the personal statement, which is 650 words. Most run anywhere from short answer responses of 100 words to about 400 words. In summary, they are less than a page. The good thing about this, is they might come together quicker than the personal statement. The other thing to consider, however, is because they are shorter, you’ll need to make more decisions about which information is absolutely vital to include, and what isn’t. You might also need to experiment with how to condense phrases and information so that you can include more information. As a note, just because they are shorter, you should still spend time editing them and ensuring they reflect the best you have to offer.

Types of Supplemental Essays You Can Expect

One of the most common supplemental essays is the “why school” essay. This is essentially asking you to reflect on why you want to attend the particular university. A blanket essay here will not do. There may be elements you can pull upon from a universal “why school” template you’ve made for yourself, perhaps some sentences reflecting on your major, but the rest should be tailored to the university itself. What is unique about their programs or professors? What extra curriculars would give you additional experience? What was your experience when you visited campus that made you feel you had to go there? Spend the time doing the research and making it personal. Admissions officers can tell the difference between individuals who have done the work, and those who haven’t. They want to see the university inserted into your self narrative. Why do you need these opportunities to get from where you are now to where you want to be? Make it convincing.

Working Smarter Not Harder

Depending on where you are applying and their requirements, you might have quite a few supplemental essays to get through. When working with students, one of the first things we do is organize all their upcoming supplemental essays and their deadlines. Then, we look for overlap within the prompts. If multiple schools ask for a why major essay, you don’t necessarily need to rewrite it every time in its entirety. Your details and story will be about the same. However, you might have one that asks for 300 words versus 400 words. Write the longer version first to see all that you are working with and then condense it down to the shorter word count. Instead of writing multiple essays with new ideas, you can reconstruct what you are already working with, which can save time. Be sure when doing this you are paying attention to each school’s prompt so be sure you’ve answered it as they requested, but it is okay for you to reuse writing you’re working on if it fits into different responses.

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With years of admissions experience and professional writing, Christina of Essay with Ease is your go-to guide for all essays related to college admissions.

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Essay with Ease

With years of admissions experience and professional writing, Christina of Essay with Ease is your go-to guide for all essays related to college admissions.