mount holyoke supplemental essays

Mount Holyoke Supplemental Essays 

If you want your application to stand out to Mount Holyoke Admissions, you’ll need to write compelling Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. The Mount Holyoke prompts can change from year to year. That’s why we’re here to break down how to approach this year’s Mount Holyoke essays. 

In this guide, we’ll do a deep dive into the Mount Holyoke essays. You’ll learn about the Mount Holyoke essay prompts and how to choose the right one for you. Then we’ll go over how to actually write the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. We’ll discuss how your essays fit into the overall admissions process and provide some helpful tips to make them stand out.

Sound good? Let’s get started! But, before we get into the Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays, here are some quick facts about Mount Holyoke.

Mount Holyoke College: Quick Facts

Mount Holyoke College Admissions Facts

  • Mount Holyoke Acceptance Rate: 40% – according to U.S. News.
  • Mount Holyoke Essay Requirements:
    • 1 optional (250-400 word) essay
  • Mount Holyoke Application: Students can submit their application to Mount Holyoke through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Have your Mount Holyoke supplemental essays and all other required application materials prepared ahead of your chosen application deadline. 
  • Mount Holyoke Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 15
    • Early Decision II: January 3
    • Regular Decision: January 17
  • Mount Holyoke Essay Tip: When considering the Mount Holyoke essay prompts, choose the prompt you’re most excited to write about! No single prompt is better than any other. Rather, the key to great Mount Holyoke supplemental essays is showcasing your strengths using your unique voice.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.

Does Mount Holyoke have supplemental essays?

mount holyoke supplemental essays

Now that you know some quick facts about Mount Holyoke, let’s take a closer look at the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. But wait – are there even any official Mount Holyoke supplemental essays?

The answer is yes! Outside of your personal statement, there is a portion of the Common App dedicated to the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. In this section called “Writing Questions,” students have the opportunity to submit a 250-400 word essay responding to one of three Mount Holyoke essay prompts. In this case, multiple prompts don’t mean you need to write multiple Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. Applicants will choose one prompt and write one supplemental essay.

The Mount Holyoke essays can change from year to year, so it’s important to have the latest information about them. Let’s keep learning about this year’s Mount Holyoke supplemental essays.

How many essays does Mount Holyoke require?

mount holyoke supplemental essays

There are no required Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. However, that doesn’t mean you can simply ignore the Mount Holyoke essays. You are still required to submit your Common App personal statement. Additionally, there are the optional Mount Holyoke supplemental essays.

Though the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays aren’t a requirement, you should still take the time to answer one of the essay prompts. Even though you won’t be penalized for not writing the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays, it’s always better to show the admissions committee more about who you are—and what better way to do that than with the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays! 

Next, we’ll go over the prompts for the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays.

Mount Holyoke supplemental essay prompts

So you’ve taken our advice and decided to write the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. Where do you start? First, let’s take a look at the Mount Holyoke essay prompts.

Students are asked to respond to one of three Mount Holyoke essay prompts. These three options for the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays cover a wide range of topics. Using the Mount Holyoke essay prompts, you can write a more straightforward “Why Mount Holyoke?” essay, a cultural diversity essay, or a more creative essay.

Mount Holyoke College Supplemental Essays: Prompt #1

What unique characteristic about Mount Holyoke makes you interested in attending?

The first of the Mount Holyoke essay prompts asks, essentially, why do you want to go to Mount Holyoke? This should be a pretty easy question to answer—after all, you’re applying for a reason! But, with Mount Holyoke essays like this one, it’s important to avoid generalities. Your essay should be unique to you as an applicant and to Mount Holyoke as a school. Whether you’re listing specific classes or professors, volunteer opportunities or extracurriculars, specificity is key! 

Mount Holyoke College Supplemental Essays: Prompt #2

Every day, our students cultivate the competence, confidence and courage to make an impact – whether on a personal, community or global level. Tell us about the context in which you have grown up, what forms your aspirations and how your community has shaped your outlook.

The second prompt for the Mount Holyoke essays asks you to reflect on how your upbringing and your community have shaped you. This is what’s often called a cultural diversity essay. In order to create a diverse campus community where there are students from all backgrounds, Mount Holyoke wants to hear about what has made you the person you are today. In this essay, you can show admissions how your values align with Mount Holyoke’s. 

Mount Holyoke College Supplemental Essays: Prompt #3

Early bird or night owl? Sweet or savory? Go out or stay in? Or choose your own “this or that” scenario and make your case.

The third choice for your Mount Holyoke essays is more creative: you’re asked to create your own “this or that” scenario and argue which one is better. Of all the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays, this one gives you the most flexibility to choose your topic. If you don’t feel strongly about the other prompts, this is a great opportunity to showcase your personality, interests, and creativity.

The Mount Holyoke essay prompts give you the opportunity to write about many different parts of yourself and your life. The next step is determining which of the Mount Holyoke essay prompts will best serve your application.

Choosing an essay prompt

mount holyoke supplemental essays

Having to choose which prompt to answer for your Mount Holyoke essays can feel stressful. How do you know which of the Mount Holyoke essay prompts will lead to the best essay? Many students also worry about picking the right essay to impress admissions officers. If that sounds like you, you may be wondering: Does Mount Holyoke care which of the Mount Holyoke essays I write?

Don’t worry. In the case of the Mount Holyoke essays, there is no wrong answer or wrong prompt. Each of the Mount Holyoke essay prompts has its pros and cons—so, it all depends on which of the Mount Holyoke essays speaks to you.

Tips for Approaching the Mount Holyoke Essay Prompts

When choosing which prompt to answer for your Mount Holyoke essays, there are a few factors to consider. First, do any of the Mount Holyoke essay prompts jump out at you? Is there any one prompt that would make you excited to start writing? Don’t be afraid to go with your gut feeling. The point of your Mount Holyoke essays is to tell the admissions committee something unique about you. So, if you’re called to answer a certain prompt, go for it!

If you don’t feel drawn to any one prompt, that’s okay– again, remember that there’s no wrong way to approach these Mount Holyoke essays! One way to make the choice easier is to brainstorm answers for each of the Mount Holyoke essays. Give yourself ten minutes to brainstorm as much as you can for each prompt. Once you’re done, look back at your answers: did anything stand out? Was there anything that felt especially fun to write, or where the story flowed easily? 

Another way to choose which of the Mount Holyoke essays to write is to think about what in your application you haven’t gotten a chance to talk about. For example, if you wrote your Common App personal statement essay about your upbringing and why that has inspired you to pursue a specific career, you probably don’t want to restate that in your Mount Holyoke essays. Therefore, the second prompt probably isn’t the best fit for you.

Prompt #1

When in doubt, go with the first choice: the “Why Mount Holyoke” essay. This is a well-known style of essay and one that clearly demonstrates your interest in attending Mount Holyoke.

Just remember, when writing your “why school” essay, always be specific! Mount Holyoke is a women’s college, so many of the people who apply there want to go there for that reason. But it’s not enough just to mention that Mount Holyoke is a women’s college—there are many other women’s colleges in the U.S. There are also many small liberal arts schools, and many schools in Massachusetts. What makes Mount Holyoke different? Why do you want to study there, specifically? 

Prompt #2

Of all the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays, this prompt can be considered the most complex. You’ll need to answer multiple questions, touching on both your aspirations for the future and your outlook on life.

In your essay, you’ll want to choose anecdotes and details that also demonstrate certain qualities: competence, confidence, and courage. This prompt encompasses a lot, so if you have a great vision for it your essay can pack quite a punch. However, just remember to keep your thoughts focused and make sure you have a clear throughline and beginning, middle, and end.

Prompt #3

If you want to write the third option for the Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays, go for it! The third prompt requires that you come up with a dichotomy: something vs. something else, two things that are opposed. Then, you must argue for which thing you believe in. 

For example, if your example in your Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays is “coffee vs. tea,” you could compare how the beverages taste, or how they make you feel. Make sure to convince your reader why they should be on your side—everyone’s tastes are different, so why should I switch to tea if I’m a coffee drinker? This essay will take a bit more creativity and thought, but if you’re someone who enjoys this type of thought experiment, it’s a great opportunity to showcase your persuasive skills. 

Next, let’s get into the writing process. 

How to write a Mount Holyoke supplemental essay

mount holyoke supplemental essays

Now that we’ve gone over the prompts for the Mount Holyoke college supplemental essays, you might still be wondering: how do I actually write one? Here are five tips for how to write your Mount Holyoke essays.

Tips for Writing Mount Holyoke College Supplemental Essays

Tip #1: Do Your Research

You might know that Mount Holyoke is a women’s college in Massachusetts, but did you know the college was founded in 1837, nearly a hundred years before women could vote in the U.S.? Have you read any articles from the Mount Holyoke news site to help you get a feel for what’s going on on campus? Have you browsed Mount Holyoke’s list of majors and other academic offerings? Can you articulate why you want to attend a small, suburban college? Even if you’re not writing the “why school” essay, learning about what Mount Holyoke values can help guide your essay topics if you’re stuck.

Tip #2: Tell a Story

Even though you have less than 400 words to do so, you can still include some structure in your Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays. Consider including an anecdote: a small story from your life that represents whatever value you’re talking about in your Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays. For example, if you choose to write the cultural diversity essay, you could tell a story about your hometown or culture. 

Tip #3: Show Don’t Tell

When you’re telling a story, focus on using imagery and descriptive language to paint a picture for the reader. For example: instead of saying “My time working at my parents’ restaurant taught me perseverance and hard work,” describe a time when you learned these values. “Each time I balanced three plates on my arm, carefully weaving between tables, just to deposit the plates at a table and head back to the kitchen for more, I was exhausted. I didn’t know how I could do this every day. But by the end of the summer, I had somehow bussed hundreds of plates. Sure, I was exhausted, but I was also proud.” This anecdote puts the reader right there with you at your parents’ restaurant. The reader can empathize and understand you better.

Tip #4: Consider your Application Narrative

Remember that these Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays are just one part of a broader picture of you that you submit with your application. Think about it like your personal brand: who are you, what makes you tick and inspires you, and how do you communicate that brand to the Mount Holyoke admissions committee in only a few application materials? Because of this, the different parts of your Mount Holyoke application should tie together. If your intended major is Political Science, you could find a way to mention politics in your Mount Holyoke College supplemental essays.

Tip #5: Proofread and Polish 

Don’t forget to use incredible spelling and grammar! We know that you hear this all the time, but it’s super important. Although a typo isn’t the end of the world, it shows that you haven’t put a lot of thought into your Mount Holyoke application—you rushed through it, or you submitted it without reading it over. Always read your essays out loud before you submit them. This can help you catch any typos or weird grammatical spots. And don’t be afraid to share your essays with your parents or friends for their feedback as well! 

We’ve talked a lot about how to get into Mount Holyoke by writing the best possible Mount Holyoke supplemental essays. But does Mount Holyoke even care about essays?

Does Mount Holyoke care about essays?

Yes, Mount Holyoke does care about essays! Even though the supplemental essay is optional, that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about it. Mount Holyoke looks at applications holistically. This means that they consider all parts of your application, whether it’s your test scores, your letters of recommendation, or your supplemental essays. Completing the essay will ultimately strengthen your application, giving admissions another compelling reason to admit you.

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: You’re an admissions officer at Mount Holyoke. There are two students with identical GPAs who both want to be history majors, and you can only admit one of those students. One student wrote a supplemental essay about learning the value of hard work at their parents’ restaurant, but the other student didn’t write a supplemental essay, so you don’t know as much about her values or her upbringing.

Which student would you as an admissions officer prioritize? You know so much more about the student who wrote the supplemental essay, and you can argue that their work ethic will be a positive contribution to the community. This doesn’t mean that the other student wouldn’t also be a great addition—you just don’t know as much information about her. 

Remember: the more the admissions committee can learn about who you are, the better. 

Other Mount Holyoke College application requirements

mount holyoke supplemental essays

Outside of the optional essay, there are some Mount Holyoke requirements that you absolutely cannot skip. To fulfill the Mount Holyoke requirements for admission, you need your official high school transcript. You need a counselor recommendation, two teacher evaluation forms, and the Common App or Coalition App essay.

Then, there are the optional (but recommended!) parts of your application: your supplemental essay, the interview, and your standardized test scores. You can also submit an art supplement if you want to pursue art at Mount Holyoke, or if you just want to show off your artistic skills to boost your application. You also need to pass an English proficiency test if you’re a non-native English speaker. 

Mount Holyoke is an inclusive women’s college that is gender-diverse. This means that Mount Holyoke “welcomes applications from female, transgender, and non-binary students.” If this sounds like you, Mount Holyoke might be a great fit! 

Before we close out this guide, let’s go over 5 essential tips to write the best possible essays.

Mount Holyoke Supplemental Essays: 5 Essay Tips

Now that you’ve read this guide, you should have a better understanding of how to get into Mount Holyoke by writing impressive and thoughtful supplemental essays. Here are five tips to get you through the application process: 

  1. Mount Holyoke is a small liberal arts school in MA with a 40% acceptance rate. This means that 2 out of every 5 students who apply will get in—you can use the Mount Holyoke supplemental essays to stand out! 
  2. The Mount Holyoke admissions deadlines are November 15 for Early Decision I, January 3 for Early Decision II, and January 17 for Regular Decision. Give yourself plenty of time ahead of the deadline to brainstorm, draft, edit, and proofread your essays! 
  3. The Mount Holyoke requirements don’t include a supplemental essay. However, we strongly recommend that you write the optional Mount Holyoke essay anyway.
  4. You can choose from three prompts for your Mount Holyoke supplemental essays: one that asks “why Mount Holyoke,” one cultural diversity essay, and one more creative essay that asks you to argue for one side of a dichotomy.
  5. When you’re writing your essays, remember: do your research, tell a story, show don’t tell, make sure all the parts of your application are connected, and use perfect spelling and grammar!

We hope that this guide helps you have more confidence when thinking about how to get into Mount Holyoke. Happy writing!

mount holyoke supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Rachel Kahn. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.