As someone currently in the throes of college applications, I am always on the lookout for tips for writing a supplemental essay. At times it seems like every college wants something different; after all, isn’t that why they add these extra essays? But when it comes down to it, all colleges are looking for students who produce amazing writing by following these tips for writing a supplemental essay.
1. Make Your Voice Stand out
Colleges request supplemental essays for one reason only: to hear your voice. Your college application can come out so dry and lifeless that you just seem like a bunch of numbers on paper. The supplemental essays offer you a chance to show off your passions, writing capabilities, and unique voice.
2. Be Honest
Honesty is crucial to creating an unforgettable supplemental essay. Anyone can lie to make themselves seem perfect, but not many people are confident enough to let their less attractive actions shine. Of course, you shouldn’t boast about how you’re materialistic and shallow, or bossy and greedy. However, you can allude to your fatal flaws and ultimately depict ways in which you plan to overcome them after receiving an education from X college. No one is perfect, yet colleges are full of students who think that they are. Being humble and honest about who you are will help your supplemental essay stand out.
3. Be Bold
A teacher once told me that when a college admissions officer reads my essay, they should be so amazed they tell the person sitting next to them, “You’ve gotta read this essay!” Her words made so much sense to me; I knew I needed to write something sensational! That’s exactly what you need to do with your supplemental essays, too. Write something that will knock the socks off your college admissions officer, something that will show you’re not afraid to take risks by breaking away from elementary essay-writing or to experiment with your own unique style.
4. Do Your Research
All of that generic advice being said, colleges really do crave something specific. You should research the college to which you’re submitting your essay and see what sort of students they produce, what types of classes they offer, and what social aspects they emphasize. After that, you can tweak your writing a bit to make yourself appear more attractive to prospective colleges.
5. Edit It
Nothing is more unattractive than an unedited essay! Unfortunately, an unedited essay says a few things—that you don’t care, you didn’t try, and you didn’t take your time. Make sure you go over your essay with a fine-toothed comb before you submit it so that colleges see your impeccable grammar and dedication to perfection!
6. Read Samples
Reading samples will help a ton when it comes to supplementary essays! Writing an essay without reading an example first is like diving into a pool without a diving board; you’ll make a splash, but not necessarily a great one. Search the web for essays by students who have been accepted into your dream college, and allow those to be your launchpad toward success!
7. Choose a Topic You're Passionate about
Many supplementary essays leave the prompt wide open. “You may write about any topic of your choosing...” or “Select any topic...” Phrases like those always terrify me, because I think there is some secret topic the college wants applicants to write about! Well, there is. It’s whatever you are passionate about. Passion turns into creativity when it hits paper, and with creativity you can accomplish virtually anything!
Nothing is more nerve-wracking than trying to forge a bright future for yourself. When it feels like your whole future is riding on one essay, take a deep breath, remember these key tips, then write from the heart. I guarantee you’ll create something you can be proud of! How do you plan to write an amazing supplemental essay? If you’ve already written one, what did you rely on to make it the best it could be?