In addition to the Common App essay (also known as a “personal statement”), many schools require their own school-specific essays, also known as complementary essays. Colleges request these so that they can get to know the student even better. If you work on your supplementary essays now, you are almost there!
1. Know which of your colleges need supplements. You can find essays in the Common Application, Coalition Application or Institutional Application. When you add a school to your list and complete your major, it will display the required writing requirements for you to answer. This year, some universities have expanded their application status portal to include additional articles according to The student has submitted the application. Make sure you check your portals and your emails.
2. Read the prompt carefully. Some schools ask why you want to go to college. others ask about a program or you’re planned major. Make sure you answer the specific question with the correct, nuanced answer.
3. Sell yourself. Use each essay to give the college a reason to want to admit you. Let them know what makes you special and how you are likely to succeed. Even in a “why ‘this college'” essay, students can tell the admissions positive things about themselves. Even in short statements of 10 words or less!
4. Avoid repeating information. In every essay, you have to reveal something new. You can revisit an activity that you mentioned in another essay, but each essay has to add something that cannot be found elsewhere in your app. Another thing that comes in repeating information is plagiarism use a paraphrasing tool to properly rewrite or paraphrase your essay online.
5. Do your homework. When a school asks why you want to attend, use certain details such as courses and programs. Make sure everything you mention, including organizations, aligns with your goals and interests. Also, find out about the college’s priorities – from a specific curriculum to get involved with nonprofits.
6. Get efficient and effective help. International College Counselors’ sister company Edit the Work can make essay writing easier by showing students what to write and how to write it effectively. They use a unique, personalized, and gentle approach that doesn’t require worksheets or other busywork. Writing consultants at Edit the Work also know what information colleges are looking for in the essays.
7. Stay within the word count. Many schools don’t allow you to submit essays that cross the word limit.
8. Write any optional essays. Even if a college says the essays are optional, treat them like they really aren’t. An exception is the gender identity issue at Duke University.