Many colleges require supplemental essays as a way to involve the applicant in providing specific responses as to why that applicant is the ideal fit for the particular college. The purpose behind this is to understand what missions, interests, and courses appeal to the applicant, and whether those align with what the college has to offer. When completing the supplemental essay questions, it's important to focus on the dual relationship - why the applicant is the ideal fit for the college AND why the college is the ideal fit for the applicant. Here are tips on creating a top supplemental essay for your common application:

  1. Consider the area of study that you want to pursue. Does the college have a focus in that subject area? If so, consider aspects of your own studies that align with the college's program. This can be found in both academics and other areas such as extracurricular activities and volunteer work. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. If you aren't sure what academic arena you want to pursue, focus on subject areas that intrigue and interest you. Many students enroll in colleges and universities with a major in mind, but change that major multiple times before graduation rolls around.
  2. Consider the geographic location of the college. Perhaps it symbolizes a part of your culture or ideal living community. Perhaps it will bring forth more job opportunities in the long run, or perhaps it even represents a place where you will be living outside of your comfort zone (city vs. country). Geographic location can represent an even bigger part of the decision for many college applicants. Some may wish to live in a major metropolitan city such as Chicago, New York, or Boston. On the contrary, some applicants may wish to live in a more rural or small town area. Additionally, consider other factors such as climate, cultural surroundings, and social environments.
  3. Learn about former graduates of the college and where they are now. Consider if those former graduates have similar career paths to the ones you want to take. Expanding on your research will enable you to do additional introspective thinking with respect to your own decisions.
  4. Browse different college guides to learn more about the schools. Many times, applicants will focus their decision solely on the college's ranking. Giving yourself ample opportunity to full research the college will provide you with a more well-rounded view of the college beyond ranking and academics. Consider other factors such as clubs, organizations, internship programs, social atmosphere, leadership, and student involvement at the college. This may bring additional ideas and reasons for wanting to matriculate there.
  5. Sincerity goes a long way. Being as sincere as possible will allow you to shine before the admissions committee. The supplemental essay is an opportunity to go beyond test scores and GPAs to share your personality, your interests, and your character. Remain genuine and engaging.