smith college supplemental essays
“Stoddard Hall – Smith College” by Daderot | CC0 1.0.

Smith Supplemental Essays 

If you’re considering applying to Smith, you’ll need to tackle the Smith essays. Smith College stands out as one of the premier private liberal arts colleges in the nation and a top women’s college. Consequently, Smith Admissions reviews numerous applications and Smith College supplemental essays annually to identify the best candidates for admission.

Located in the vibrant town of Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith is a model for academic excellence, innovation, and inclusivity. Established in 1871, Smith has consistently upheld its commitment to providing an exceptional liberal arts education to women, fostering a community where diverse perspectives thrive.

With Smith’s low acceptance rate, many students are eager to understand the key to gaining admission to this esteemed institution. Beyond seeing a strong academic record, Smith Admissions is looking to your Smith supplemental essays to learn how you think and what you care about. Your Smith College supplemental essays help demonstrate your values, perspectives, and potential for success at Smith, which can significantly impact the success of your application.

This guide to the Smith supplemental essays will explore the Smith essays and walk you through Smith essay prompts. We will also provide you with Smith requirements beyond the Smith essays. That way, you’ll have the tools you need to write stellar Smith essays and submit the strongest Smith application possible.

Are you ready to learn how to get into Smith by crafting strong Smith College supplemental essays? If so, let’s get started!

Smith College: Quick Facts

Smith College Admissions Quick Facts

  • Smith College Acceptance Rate: 23% – while Smith College’s acceptance rate is higher than other top universities, U.S. News still considers Smith College a selective school. 
  • Smith College Essay Requirements:
    • 1 (~650 word) personal statement essay
    • 1 (~250 word) cultural diversity essay
  • Smith College Application: Smith accepts both the Common Application and Coalition Application. Students will complete the Common Application Essay or Coalition Application Essay depending on which type of application they submit. All students will complete the same cultural diversity essay.
  • Smith College Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 15 
    • Early Decision II: January 1
    • Regular Decision: January 15
  • Smith College Essay Tip: The Smith supplemental essays are a required part of the Smith application. As you brainstorm topics for your Smith supplemental essays, consider how they play into your overall application narrative. Think about how your personal statement essay and cultural diversity essay can complement each other. And be sure to avoid repeating details or topics! 

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 Smith have supplemental essays?

Yes, Smith College requires applicants to submit one additional supplemental essay as part of the application process. This is in addition to your Common Application essay or Coalition Application essay, meaning you’ll be writing a total of two Smith supplemental essays.

Smith essays are crucial in providing the Smith College admissions committee with a comprehensive understanding of each applicant. This is especially true when it comes to unique qualities beyond your academic achievements and standardized test scores. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the Smith essay prompts and what Smith is looking for in your application essays. We’ll also offer tips for writing your Smith supplemental essays to ensure they strengthen your Smith application.

How many essays does Smith require?

smith college supplemental essays

As previously stated, there are two Smith essays that students will need to complete. To write effective Smith College supplemental essays, students must approach them with thoughtfulness and precision, recognizing the opportunity to offer a unique perspective into their lives.

The first of the two Smith essays depends on which application platform students choose to use to apply. If applying through the Common Application, candidates can respond to various Smith essay prompts that focus on personal narratives, from reflections on resilience to triumphs over challenges. These Smith essay prompts allow students to share stories and ideas defining their journey.

Smith College Essays – Common Application Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Similarly, if students apply using the Coalition Application, they will have a similar selection of Smith essay prompts to choose from. Whether you want to reflect on your moments of personal growth or unravel the layers of your academic passion, the Smith essay prompts in the Coalition Application allow you to share your unique story. 

Smith College Essays – Coalition Application Essay Prompts:

1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

2. What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?

3. Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?

4. Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?

5. What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

6. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

The Smith essay prompts offered through the Common/Coalition Application are broad and focus mainly on you as an individual. However, the second of the two Smith essays is specific to Smith College and dives deeper into the unique residential houses curriculum.

Smith supplemental essay prompt

smith college supplemental essays

As previously shared, Smith College requires students to write two Smith supplemental essays, and the second of the two Smith supplemental essays is specific to Smith College. Compared to the Smith essay prompts offered between the Coalition/Common Application, this essay prompt provides an opportunity to showcase your fit for Smith College and your potential contribution to the vibrant and inclusive residential community.

For this essay, you don’t have the option of choosing between various Smith essay prompts. Therefore, all students will respond to the same prompt for the second of their Smith supplemental essays.

Smith College Essays – Cultural Diversity Essay Prompt

Smith has a unique housing system, where students of all class years live together in 41 different houses. With our Residential Curriculum, students will become critically aware global neighbors, exploring their self-identity by living in community, engaging in reflection and challenging their own beliefs.

What personal experiences, background or abilities would you bring to this residential environment to share with your neighbors and what would you hope your neighbors would share with you?*

Out of your two Smith essays, this one probably demands the most research on Smith College offerings. Specifically, the importance of understanding the institution’s values and the distinctive features of its residential system. Therefore, before completing the second of the two Smith essays, students should explore how their personal experiences align with Smith’s values.

This essay can be considered an essay about cultural diversity because it forces applicants to consider qualities that make them different and how those differences will contribute to the Smith College community. If this Smith-specific essay seems daunting, don’t worry! In the next sections, we will dive deeper into the Smith residential curriculum and how to effectively respond to this Smith supplemental essay. 

Smith residential curriculum

To respond to this Smith supplemental essay, students must have an understanding of one of Smith’s pride and joys: their residential curriculum. Smith College offers a diverse student community within 41 unique residential houses. These residential houses create environments that reflect communal living and cultural exchange. Traditional undergraduates are generally expected to reside on campus for four years unless engaged in off-campus studies. The philosophy of these residential communities revolves around finding a delicate balance between individual independence and a mindful consideration for the rights and well-being of fellow residents.

Beyond serving as living spaces, the residential houses at Smith play a crucial role in promoting both formal and informal interactions, allowing residents to form connections and build friendships. In addition to providing a way for social connection, the residence hall network has developed a residential curriculum to promote academic success and global learning.

The Smith College residence education model, known as Compass, serves as a guiding framework for the learning experience within Smith College houses. Influenced by Smith’s institutional and divisional core values and student development theory, the model was carefully crafted to address the identified needs of residential students while offering meaningful learning opportunities. This is embodied in the residential curriculum’s three goals: critical awareness, social responsibility, and engagement.

How to write a Smith supplemental essay

smith college supplemental essays

Out of the various Smith essay prompts, the Smith supplemental essay regarding the residential curriculum may be the most difficult. To write the Smith supplemental essay regarding Smith College’s unique housing system and the residential curriculum, students must craft an essay reflecting their understanding of the college’s values and commitment to contributing positively to the residential community.

To help you get started, here are some key topics to tackle when writing your Smith College supplemental essay. (While we have provided a general framework for your essay, the order in which you include these topics is entirely up to you!) 

Understanding the Residential Curriculum

Demonstrate your understanding of and genuine interest in the residential curriculum, such as becoming critically aware of global neighbors, exploring self-identity in a communal setting, engaging in reflection, and challenging personal beliefs. Rather than regurgitating information you’ve found on their website, consider how you’ll embody or engage with these elements of their residential life. You should briefly acknowledge why you are drawn to this type of living community and/or why it is important to you.

Personal Experiences and Background

Share specific personal experiences or qualities that you believe would enhance the residential environment at Smith College. Discuss relevant cultural, educational, or community experiences that have shaped your perspective and values. For example, if you have engaged in community service, international travel, or leadership roles, elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your understanding of global citizenship and community living.

Contribution to the Community

Express how you envision bringing your unique qualities to the Smith College community. This could include your commitment to fostering open dialogue, promoting diversity and inclusion, or participating in community-building activities. Emphasize how your background has prepared you to contribute positively to the residential curriculum’s critical awareness and self-reflection goals.

Hopes for Exchange

Articulate what you hope to learn from your neighbors and the broader residential community. This could involve an openness to diverse perspectives, a desire to engage in meaningful conversations, or a willingness to be challenged in your beliefs. Highlight the importance of mutual learning and growth within shared living experiences.


Summarize your commitment to actively participate in and contribute to Smith College’s unique residential community. Reiterate your enthusiasm for being a part of a community that values critical awareness, self-reflection, and the exchange of diverse perspectives.

By addressing the prompt in this way, you’ll effectively demonstrate your understanding of Smith College’s values and your readiness to engage in and enrich the residential experience.

Does Smith care about essays?

smith college supplemental essays

If you’re wondering if Smith College cares about the Smith College supplemental essays, the answer is yes! Smith College takes pride in its comprehensive admissions process, recognizing that academic excellence extends beyond grades alone. This holistic approach emphasizes elements such as your background, major interests, and the opportunities that have shaped you. Smith supplemental essays are pivotal in conveying these aspects beyond test scores and GPAs.

The significance placed on Smith College supplemental essays underscores the college’s deliberate effort to identify individuals who align with its core values of academic excellence, innovation, and a dedication to societal impact. Smith essays allow applicants to share their narratives, experiences, and aspirations. They give the Smith College admissions committee a deeper understanding of each candidate’s unique qualities and perspectives.

Therefore, the creation of impactful Smith College supplemental essays is crucial. Your Smith essays go beyond showcasing writing skills. They serve as a window into your character, illustrating your commitment to contributing to Smith College’s academic and innovative community. In the words of Smith College’s educational mission, “At Smith, your individual exploration and education come first.” Your Smith College supplemental essays are vital in showcasing how you embody this commitment to exploration and education to Smith Admissions.

Other Smith College application requirements

smith college supplemental essays

Embarking on the journey to join the vibrant community at Smith College involves a thorough understanding of the Smith requirements that extend beyond the Smith supplemental essays. At Smith, the admission criteria and Smith requirements reflect the institution’s values, emphasizing a student’s curiosity and dedication to contributing positively to the world. The college assesses applicants’ capacity to excel in the classroom and enhance the broader community when making admission decisions.

Beyond Smith College supplemental essays, Smith College evaluates applicants holistically, considering various facets of their academic and extracurricular pursuits. The key components considered include:


The academic transcript provides a comprehensive overview of an applicant’s high school performance. Smith values students who challenge themselves academically and recommends taking the highest-level courses their high school offers. To better prepare for admission to Smith College, prospective students are strongly encouraged to take a challenging course load in high school. By taking these rigorous courses, applicants demonstrate academic readiness and align themselves with Smith’s commitment to fostering intellectually curious and globally engaged individuals.


Letters of recommendation offer insights into an applicant’s character, work ethic, and potential contributions to the Smith community. Smith requires a counselor recommendation along with two teacher evaluations.

Test Scores

While Smith College accepts ACT/SAT submissions, it’s important to know that Smith College has embraced a test-optional policy since 2009, recognizing that standardized test scores cannot accurately encapsulate an applicant’s potential. Instead, the emphasis is on factors that delve into an individual’s character, experiences, and potential contributions to the Smith community.

For a more comprehensive look at the application process, check out this guide on How to Get into Smith!

Smith Supplemental Essays: 5 Essay Tips

As one of the top colleges in the northeast and nation, Smith College offers students a top-tier education. In this guide to the Smith supplemental essays, we shared how to get into Smith College by crafting strong Smith supplemental essays. As you embark on the journey of composing your Smith College supplemental essays, consider the following five tips to ensure your reflections and experiences shine through:

Smith College Supplemental Essays Tips

1. Understand Smith’s Values

Familiarize yourself with Smith College’s mission, values, and the unique aspects of its residential system. Tailor your responses in your Smith supplemental essays to align with these principles, demonstrating a genuine connection to the college’s ethos.

2. Personalize Your Narrative

Your experiences are unique, and Smith values individual perspectives. Share personal anecdotes, reflections, or challenges that have shaped you in your Smith supplemental essays. Personalizing your narrative adds depth to your Smith essays and helps the admissions committee understand who you are beyond your academic achievements.

3. Connect to the Residential Curriculum

Clearly articulate how your background, experiences, or skills align with the residential curriculum’s goals within your Smith essays. Showcase your commitment to becoming a critically aware global neighbor, engaging in self-reflection, and challenging your own beliefs within the communal living context at Smith.

4. Show Your Contribution to Community

Emphasize how you plan to contribute to the Smith College community within your Smith supplemental essays. Whether through your cultural insights, leadership experiences, or a commitment to inclusivity, highlight how you will actively participate in and enhance the vibrant residential atmosphere.

5. Be Genuine and Reflective

Authenticity is key when writing your Smith supplemental essays. Be sincere in your Smith essays, and take the time to reflect on your experiences and values. Share genuine insights into who you are, what drives you, and how you envision your role within the Smith College community.

By incorporating these tips into your Smith supplemental essays, you’ll present a compelling case for admission to Smith College. Additionally, you’ll demonstrate your readiness to actively contribute to the dynamic and inclusive community that defines the Smith experience. For more information on how to write college essays, check out these CollegeAdvisor resources that discuss How to Write Better Essays, College Essay Topics, and How to Start a Personal Statement. Best of luck in your writing journey!

smith college supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Ashley Hollins. 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.