2020-21 Common App Supplements

By IvyWise on Monday, June 29, 2020

Young attractive African American business woman working project, planning strategy, taking notes in modern office. University student studying, learning language, using laptop computer and internetGet a Head Start on Applications By Reviewing These Supplements 

Although the Common App doesn’t officially open until August 1st, it’s often in students’ best interest to get a jump start on personal essays and supplements. Many colleges understand that applicants are eager to begin the admissions process and as a result, some schools have already announced their school-specific essay prompts for the 2020-21 application season.

With these questions available for review, students have all the information they need to begin crafting their responses. We encourage applicants to make the most of the summer months and set themselves up for success by reviewing these prompts well in advance of application deadlines. Students who are proactive and work through the admissions process systematically are likely to avoid a lot of the stress that can come with working down to the wire once senior year begins. 

Keep reading for a round-up of some of the Common Application supplements and school-specific essay prompts and short answer questions that are currently published for the class of 2025. We will update this list as more become available.

Brown University

  1. Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)
  2. At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (250 words)
  3. Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (250 words)

Three essays are required for applicants to the PLME:

  1. Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you? (250 word limit)
  2. Most people describe a career as a physician/doctor as a “profession”, beyond a job. Describe for us what “professionalism” and “the profession of a physician/doctor” mean to you. (250 word limit)
  3. How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic personal and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future? (500 word limit)

Columbia University

In 150 words or fewer, please list a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community.

Please list the following (150 words or fewer for each question):

  • the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year;
  • the titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year;
  • the titles of print or electronic publications you read regularly;
  • and the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.

Please answer the following short answer questions (300 words or fewer for each question):

  • Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why.
  • If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time.
  • If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section.

Emory University

“Reflections” Category: Respond to one of the following.

  1. Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.
  2. If you could go back in time, what advice would you offer yourself at the beginning of secondary/high school?
  3. Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.

“Tell us about you” Category: Respond to one of the following.

  1. Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?
  2. If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why?
  3. Introduce yourself to your first-year Emory University roommate.

Georgia Tech

  1. Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?
  2. All applicants must choose one of the two questions below
    • Georgia Tech is committed to creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Tell us how you have improved or hope to improve the human condition in your community.
    • If you feel that your personal or community background can provide additional insight to your application that we have not already seen elsewhere, please take this opportunity to share that information with us.

University of Chicago

Question 1 (Required)
How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Essay Option 1
Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics… it’s all up to you (or your woodchuck).
—Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024

Wake Forest University

Short Answer:

  • List five books you’ve read that intrigued you.
  • Explain how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complex
  • Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity.
  • Describe a community that is important to you. How has that community prepared you to engage with, change, or even build the Wake Forest community?
  • Give us your Top Ten list (and its theme)

Essay:
On a separate page, using 250-650 words, please submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Yale University

  • Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
  • Why do these areas appeal to you? (125 words or fewer)
  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
  • Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it?
  • Respond to one of the following prompts:
    • 2A. Reflect on your membership in a community. Why is your involvement important to you? How has it shaped you?  You may define community however you like.
    • 2B. Yale students, faculty, and alumni engage issues of local, national, and international significance. Discuss an issue that is important to you and how your college experience could help you address it.
    • 2C. Tell us about your relationship with a role model or mentor who has been influential in your life. How has their guidance been instrumental to your growth?

Short Answer (35 words)

  • What inspires you?
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask?
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called?
  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six students. What do you hope to add to your suitemates’ experience? What do you hope they will add to yours?

Compiling supplemental essays that you are truly proud of takes time, but it is absolutely worth the effort as this is an important component of the college application process. Students should take advantage of supplement essays to convey their knowledge of the college they are applying to, what sets them apart, and the impact they will make on campus. If you’re unsure about how to make the most of supplemental essays, our team of college admissions experts can point you in the right direction. 

Related Topics
College Application Tips, College Essays