pitzer supplemental essays

Pitzer Supplemental Essays 2023-24

If you’re considering applying to Pitzer, you’ll want to do everything you can to stand out from the other applicants. And that means writing stellar Pitzer supplemental essays. To learn about this year’s Pitzer essays and get some tips and tricks on how to write them, keep reading! 

Pitzer College, founded in 1963, is one of the Claremont Colleges. This consortium of five liberal arts schools on the edge of Los Angeles offers students the opportunity to take classes across schools. However, each of the colleges has their own campus and their own personality. Pitzer emphasizes social justice and is a great destination for students looking to pursue a career in environmentalism and sustainability. 

If you want to learn how to get into Pitzer using your Pitzer supplemental essays, this guide is for you. Before we dive in, let’s go over some quick facts about Pitzer admissions.

Pitzer Admissions: Quick Facts

Pitzer College Admissions Quick Facts

  • Pitzer College Acceptance Rate: 18%, according to U.S. News.
  • Pitzer College Essay Requirements:
    • 1 required (~650 word) essay
    • 1 optional (~250 word) essay
  • Pitzer College Application: The Pitzer College application is only available through the Common Application platform. Make sure to have your Pitzer supplemental essays along with your other application materials ready before submitting your application.
  • Pitzer College Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 15
    • Early Decision II: January 5
    • Regular Decision: January 5 
  • Pitzer College Essay Tip: While only one Pitzer College supplemental essay is required, you should plan on writing and submitting both essays. We recommend that students complete all Pitzer supplemental essays, whether they’re required or not! This demonstrates to Admissions your sincere interest in attending Pitzer and gives them more insight into who you are.

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.

Is Pitzer prestigious?

pitzer supplemental essays

The Claremont Colleges are considered some of the best colleges in California and the nation. Pitzer is ranked #39 in National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News, and #115 out of all colleges by Forbes. As part of the Claremont network of colleges, Pitzer provides access to more resources and options compared to a typical liberal arts institution. Students get to be part of a larger, university-sized body of students while maintaining small class sizes and a liberal arts feel. 

So, the simple answer – yes. Considering the fairly low Pitzer acceptance rate of 18% and its national rankings, many would consider Pitzer a prestigious school. However, prestige only goes so far; you’ll need to decide if Pitzer’s unique offerings align with your own values and interests. If you’re looking for a liberal arts school with ample resources in sunny Claremont, Pitzer might be a great option for you.

Keep in mind, your Pitzer supplemental essays will require you to really get to know the school. In your essays, it should be clear what you like about Pitzer and why you want to go there. The more you can learn about Pitzer, the better your Pitzer essays will be.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Pitzer supplemental essays.

Does Pitzer have supplemental essays?

Yes–there are two Pitzer supplemental essays: one required essay and one optional essay. The first of the Pitzer essays offers a few Pitzer essay prompts to choose from. The second asks you to answer one specific prompt. 

Your Pitzer supplemental essays should cover information that isn’t found anywhere else in your application. The Pitzer supplemental essays are your opportunity to tell the admissions committee more about what makes you, you. You’re more than your GPA or your list of extracurriculars, and your Pitzer supplemental essays are the perfect place to show that! 

Required vs Optional Essays

When it comes to required essays and optional essays, many students are unsure how to approach them. Do you still have to write the second essay, even though it’s not part of the Pitzer requirements?

While not technically required, we absolutely recommend that you write both Pitzer essays. Hypothetically, If you decide to apply to Pitzer late and feel you only have the capability to turn in one stellar essay by the deadline, then only write one. However, that won’t be you—you’re reading about the Pitzer supplemental essays right now so you can be well prepared! 

Next, let’s dive into what the Pitzer supplemental essays actually entail. We’ll discuss what the Pitzer essay prompts are, and how to tackle them.

Pitzer Supplemental Essays

pitzer supplemental essays
Pitzer College” by CampusGrotto | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

As previously stated, there are two Pitzer supplemental essays. The first one is longer, 650 words, and asks you to choose between two Pitzer essay prompts to answer. The second is only 250 words.

Here is the first of the Pitzer supplemental essays:

Pitzer Supplemental Essays – Essay #1 (Required)

At Pitzer College, five core values distinguish our approach to education: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. As agents of change, our students utilize these values to create solutions to our world’s challenges. Please choose from the following prompts. (650 words or less)

1. Describe what you are looking for from your college experience and why Pitzer would be a good fit for you.

2. Reflecting on your involvement throughout high school or within the community, how have you engaged with one of Pitzer’s core values? 

To write this Pitzer essay, you’ll first need to choose between two Pitzer essay prompts.

The first of the Pitzer essay prompts falls into the classic essay category of a why this college essay. There are two sides to this question you’ll want to reflect on in your essay. Why do you want to go to Pitzer, and why would Pitzer be a good fit for you?

The second of the Pitzer essay prompts asks you to reflect on one of Pitzer’s core values:

  • Social responsibility
  • Intercultural understanding
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Student engagement
  • Environmental sustainability.

You’ll want to read more about each of these core values and decide which ones resonate with you. Then, pick the value you feel you embody most and explain your connection to it. This will require selecting specific anecdotes to demonstrate just how you’ve practiced this value in your life.

Now let’s take a look at the second of the Pitzer supplemental essays: 

Pitzer Supplemental Essays – Essay #2 (Optional)

As a mission-driven institution, we value and celebrate the synergy created by our differences and similarities. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, identity, or personal interests that you would bring to Pitzer, and how you plan to engage in our community. (250 words or less)

While you don’t have multiple Pitzer essay prompts to choose from, you do have free range when it comes to picking the topic if your essay. This prompt asks students to reflect on an aspect of their background or identity that they would bring to Pitzer. If you choose to respond to both Pitzer essay prompts, this essay will focus on the value of diversity. We often categorize prompts like this as a cultural diversity essay. 

Remember, the Pitzer supplemental essays can change every year. The option to write a 250-word essay on your background is new to the Pitzer supplemental essays as of this year. So, always defer to Pitzer’s website when you’re preparing your Pitzer application to double-check their application requirements. 

How to write the Pitzer supplemental essays

pitzer supplemental essays

Now that we’ve gone over the Pitzer essay prompts, let’s break down how to write the Pitzer supplemental essays. Here are three tips for writing your Pitzer essays:

Tips for Writing Pitzer College Supplemental Essays

  1. You’ll need to start with some self-reflection before you begin your Pitzer essays. What are your values? What are you looking for from your education, and why? What motivates you? What are some challenges you have overcome, and importantly, what have you learned?
  2. Another important part of your Pitzer essays is structure. The first of your Pitzer essays has a 650-word limit—that’s just as long as the Common App personal statement! Though you could write as few as 200 words, you want to aim for closer to 500-600. With a long essay, structure is extremely important. Your Pitzer essays should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Like any good story, they should take the reader on a journey! 
  3. A smart way to open your Pitzer essays is with a hook. A hook comes at the very start of the essay to grab your reader’s attention. Your hook could be a piece of dialogue, a vivid anecdote, or even a quote or song lyric. Avoid repeating language from the prompt, and instead give the reader a clear sense of your unique voice.

Required Pitzer Essay – Prompt #1

If you choose to answer the first prompt, your Pitzer College supplemental essay will be a why this college essay. Remember, this isn’t just asking why you want to go to Pitzer. You’ll also want to capture why you personally would thrive at Pitzer above any other school. 

In this Pitzer College supplemental essay, it’s important to be specific. For instance, let’s say you want to go to Pitzer because of an interest in environmentalism. You’ll want to identify exactly which majors and professors are a part of that field. Look into the professor’s research: have they written any interesting books that you could read the introduction of to familiarize yourself? Are they currently working on any research that you could picture yourself assisting with? Or better yet, do you have something you want to research that they could advise you on? 

With this Pitzer College supplemental essay, it’s important to remember to include aspects about yourself and your life that would make Pitzer the best college for you. Continuing the above example, imagine you’ve decided you want to major in Environmental Analysis. One way to say this is “I want to major in Environmental Analysis because I believe in sustainability.” That’s great, but lots of people probably write their Pitzer supplemental essays about how much they care about sustainability. 

Instead, you should emphasize how this major relates to your specific interests. Do you want to create more sustainable food practices or integrate sustainability into an industry like fashion? How did you demonstrate an interest in this major in high school? Is there any other college where you could pursue this—if so, what sets Pitzer apart? 

Required Pitzer Essay – Prompt #2

Now, let’s break down the second Pitzer College supplemental essay. If you choose to answer the second of the Pitzer essay prompts, you’ll write an essay focused on one of Pitzer’s core values.

The first step in writing this Pitzer College supplemental essay is to reflect on Pitzer’s core values. What do these values mean to you? Some of them may be a bit confusing—what does social responsibility mean in the first place? Before you start writing, it’s important to understand what you’re writing about. 

Next, think about which of the values has had an effect on your life. It’s important to not only pick a value that matters to you. However, it’s more important to choose one that you have engaged with, as per the Pitzer College supplemental essay prompt. Even if you really care about sustainability, if you can’t express how that interest has changed something in your life, it’s probably not the best value to write about. 

However, if you care about sustainability so much that you’ve pushed your family to compost and you led a successful fundraiser to build more bike racks at your school, that would be a great topic for your essay. 

If you’re looking for more information about the other Pitzer College supplemental essay, don’t worry! We’ll cover how to approach the optional Pitzer College supplemental essay later in the essay guide.

Now that we’ve covered how to start writing your Pitzer essays, let’s think more deeply about what Pitzer is looking for. 

What is Pitzer looking for in essays?

pitzer supplemental essays

When Pitzer Admissions reads your Pitzer essays, what are they looking for?

Essays that effectively answer the prompt

First, it’s important that you answer the prompt. Even though a 650-word essay gives you a lot of room for creativity, be sure to stay on topic. Often with college essays, you can repurpose parts of essays you’ve written for other schools. However, if you’re borrowing inspiration from another essay, be sure you’re effectively answering this specific prompt!

Also, when brainstorming topics for your 650-word Pitzer College supplemental essay, notice Pitzer lists their core values before both questions. Though only the second prompt explicitly mentions the values, this is important for both prompts. Even though the why this college essay doesn’t necessarily require you to take those values into account, Pitzer is encouraging you to include their core values in why you want to attend the school. 

Polished, original essays

Pitzer is also looking for something pretty straightforward: impeccable spelling and grammar. I know, you hear this all the time. But with so many virtual options for spellcheck and grammar checking, you really have no excuse. Have a family member, friend, or college advisor read your essay before submitting it. Read it out loud to yourself in order to catch any typos or awkward grammatical moments. 

While AI resources can be helpful when it comes to proofreading if you’re considering using ChatGPT to write your Pitzer essays, think again. In the writing section of the Common App, you’ll see Pitzer has provided the following note regarding the use of AI: 

Using AI language models like ChatGPT to generate essays or personal statements for college applications is considered unethical and violates our expectations of academic integrity. It is important for applicants to submit original work that authentically reflects their thoughts, experiences, and abilities.

So, be sure your Pitzer College supplemental essays are original, authentic, and entirely your own.

Pitzer Optional Supplemental Essay

pitzer supplemental essays

Before we wrap up, let’s take another look at the optional Pitzer supplemental essay.

This is an example of a cultural diversity essay. Pitzer, like most liberal arts schools, is looking to create a diverse student body. This doesn’t only mean diverse in terms of racial or ethnic diversity, but diverse in terms of all aspects of identity. Gender, sexuality, race, background, socioeconomic status—even diverse in terms of things like your interests or hobbies! 

What do you bring to Pitzer?

In a cultural diversity essay, you want to emphasize something unique about you or your background. Maybe you moved around a lot as a child. Maybe you were raised by your grandparents instead of your parents. Or maybe you didn’t have a car growing up so had to master public transportation at a young age. 

You can also talk about your racial or ethnic identity. Was it hard to explain your family’s traditions to other kids when you were in elementary school? Do you have a career goal that’s related to your identity? Do you want to study a specific field because of your upbringing?

Notice that the examples of cultural diversity listed above are all very specific. That’s because talking about your identity in terms of a story or an experience is more interesting than just saying that part of your identity, and also gives you an easier path to tie that identity aspect into Pitzer. 

How do you plan to engage in the Pitzer community?

Just like the other Pitzer essays, you need to mention how you would bring these aspects of your identity into the community. Maybe it relates to your major or a club you want to join, or maybe it’s a unique perspective you’ll share.

Even though this essay is only 250 words, don’t be deceived. Writing short essays can be even more challenging than writing long essays. Since you have to get a lot of information into a few short sentences, every word counts! Feel free to write a longer version, then edit it ruthlessly: cut it down to only the most important parts. 

Remember, though this essay isn’t part of the Pitzer requirements, that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Especially since Pitzer is test-free, meaning that they don’t consider test scores for any applicants, it’s important to provide as much information about yourself through your supplemental materials as possible. 

When is my Pitzer application due?

pitzer supplemental essays

To know how to get into Pitzer, it’s important to understand all the different deadlines. At Pitzer, there are three different application windows:

Pitzer College Application Deadlines

  • Early Decision I: November 15. Early Decision is binding, meaning that if you get in you must attend Pitzer. You might want to apply Early Decision if Pitzer is your first choice school, you do not need to compare financial aid packages, and your GPA is already as high as it could be.
  • Early Decision II: January 5. This deadline gives students more time to complete their Pitzer applications and include their first-semester senior grades. Despite the later deadline, this admissions plan is still binding.
  • Regular Decision: January 5. The Regular Decision deadline is the same as the ED II deadline. If Pitzer is one of many schools you would be excited to attend, and you want the flexibility to make a final decision later, you should apply Regular Decision.

The financial aid deadline for Pitzer is January 1 – if you’re applying RD or ED II, remember that this deadline is before your application deadline. 

Pitzer Supplemental Essays – 5 Takeaways

This guide explained how to get into Pitzer by tackling the Pitzer supplemental essays. Here are 5 takeaways to remember as you start writing: 

Pitzer College Supplemental Essays Key Takeaways

  1. Pitzer is part of the five Claremont Colleges in California, which allow you to get a liberal arts experience with the resources of a larger research university. 
  2. Pitzer has two supplemental essays: one required essay, and one optional essay. 
  3. The required essay is 650 words and allows you to choose between two prompts—both of which ask you to reflect on Pitzer’s core values. 
  4. Even though one essay is optional, if at all possible, you should always submit the optional essay as well. It’s only 250 words—you can do it!
  5. If Pitzer is your first choice school and your grades and finances allow, you can take advantage of Pitzer’s two Early Decision deadlines. Just remember to have all of your application materials prepared—including your Pitzer essays—before you start filling out the application.

Now that you better understand the Pitzer requirements, you’re ready to apply – good luck!

pitzer supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by 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 CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.