Seniors: Get a head start on your college apps this summer!

Just Admit It: Why do Supplemental Essays Matter?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Focused young african american male student sitting at table with computer, wearing bluetooth earphones, busy with study, listening to educational online lecture or enjoying favorite music tracks.How Important are Supplemental Essays?

We all know the personal statement is a huge part of the college application, but how important are those extra supplemental essays? For many students writing fatigue can set in and they don’t spend as much time working on those – especially as application deadlines loom. So how important is it to spend time on those supplements?

On a recent episode of our podcast, Just Admit It!, IvyWise counselors Eric and Zach discuss the importance of those extra essays and the importance of taking your time with them.

“You can’t treat supplemental essays like they’re the last mile in a marathon. You want to have enough stamina to space out these essays because they’re going to carry your application,” said Zach. So why exactly do supplemental essays matter?

Admissions Officers Can Learn More About You

While other application components like course rigor and grades are undeniably important, they don’t give admissions officers much sense of your personality. Consequently, supplemental essays can serve as a window into who you are and your character. Admissions officers are looking to get a full picture of each applicant, so think of supplements as a chance to show the personality traits you will bring to the table. Many colleges have added creative college essay topics for this exact reason. From naming songs on your perfect playlist to writing about your favorite snack, take advantage of these types of quirky questions to get a little informal and show a side of yourself that may not be seen in the rest of your application.

Supplements Demonstrate Your Expertise

In addition to highlighting your personality, supplemental essays are an opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve really done your research. It’s not enough to simply plug-in a few school-specific details into an otherwise generic essay. Instead, students should go the extra mile to show that they’ve become an expert on the school they are applying to. When answering questions about your interest in attending a certain college, use the insights you’ve accumulated from online research, virtual tours, and information sessions to craft a compelling case as to why you undoubtedly belong on that campus.

They Also Show What You’ll Bring to Campus

Remember, admissions officers are trying to build a well-rounded class of students who will make an impact on campus and fulfill various institutional needs. While some of this information can be gleaned from other components of your application, supplemental essays are an ideal opportunity to succinctly spell out the legacy you wish to leave after graduation. To fully demonstrate the impact that you plan to make on campus, make sure to be as specific and thorough as possible when answering supplements about your interests and goals. Instead of just mentioning clubs you wish to join, go into detail about which professors you hope to learn from and why their work inspires you.

Complement the Rest of Your Application

Think about supplemental essays as a complement to the rest of your application, as opposed to a redundant element. Avoid using these essays to discuss something that is already covered elsewhere in your application. Instead, get creative and highlight interests and passions that admissions officers may not otherwise be able to glean from your file. 

Set Yourself Apart as a Serious Applicant

At the end of the day, colleges are eager to admit serious applicants who they feel confident will enroll upon acceptance. Supplemental essays can help set you apart as a student who is truly committed to attending that college, especially if you do your research and highlight your expertise. Demonstrated interest is a serious factor in admissions decisions and much like school tours and applying early, thoughtful supplemental essays can help you excel on this front. 

Given the importance of supplemental essays, students should give every writing opportunity their all and begin working on this component well in advance of application deadlines. If you are looking to learn more supplemental essays, our team of college admissions counselors can share their expertise.


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