Crafting Strong Supplemental Materials

Learn how to exhibit your unique skills and talents in the supplemental section of your college application.

Date 07/22/2021
Duration 58:25

Webinar Transcription

2021-07-22 Crafting Strong Supplemental Materials

[00:00:00] Um, Crafting Strong Supplemental Materials. Just what our supplemental materials are going to go through a few of the panels. And we’re going to talk about, um, supplemental materials for college applications. Um, before we get into that, just to think about. What you want to present to a college and college advisor, as you hopefully we’ll know by the end of this webinar is, um, is created, uh, with strong advisors and admissions officers who, um, really know the.

Of what you should present and how you should present it. Um, and the, the what can be so many things. So we’re going to talk about, um, really being authentic, um, that the, the materials really come from you. Um, and, um, students, um, present [00:01:00] themselves through these, the supplemental materials, as well as the common app essay or the personal essay, as we all know.

So well, And so we will begin.

Uh, my name is Holly Wolf and I went to Smith college, uh, and Baruch colleges, Mark’s school of higher education. Um, and. I have been doing college admissions for, um, 20 or more years, um, working with students to find the right school, to find the right fit, um, and to, um, gain admission to those schools. So that’s my.

And, um, and I’m glad to be working with CollegeAdvisor as that is their mission to find just the right school for you and to help you to be accepted by that school. We don’t make any guarantees of course, but [00:02:00] we, we work hard and we work well and we work smartly to, um, to get students into the colleges of their choice.

Um, so we’re going to talk a little bit about supplemental materials. And as you can see by the slide, uh, that primarily when you think of supplemental materials, they are the short answer, or, um, maybe they’re not so short answer questions that particular colleges will pose when you apply. You will apply primarily through common app, um, or coalition.

Those are, uh, Yeah, those are, uh, application systems where lots of colleges have gotten together. So you can produce, um, uh, one essay for all. But then the colleges say, well, you know what? We’re very unique. And we [00:03:00] want to have answers to specific question. So they asked specific questions of students who are applying and those unique questions that are posed by colleges are what you come to answer.

Uh, they really are in the realm of trying to ascertain what you know about their colleges. That’s one of the most important parts that you’ve done your research. And of course your college advisor from CollegeAdvisor will help you to do that research. They are secondary essays, uh, that might be on a, on a variety of topics.

So you’ve written your personal essay, but now you’re going to write, um, yet again and now in a different vein, um, they may be particular to your field of interest. They may be particular to a department at a college that you’re applying to and [00:04:00] they might be, um, Uh, short answers. They very funny and very funny questions such as what’s your favorite soft drink.

Um, and what they’re looking for is something very pithy. So with some of the things short, but full of meaning, that really gets to the heart of answering their question. Yes. But revealing something about you. So your college advisor will help you with that. Um, and, and particularly they really want to know that you’ve done your research.

Do you know their college. Do you know what that department is about? Do you know what they’re looking for? Do you know the professors that are, that are teaching in that particular department? Do you know? Um, the, uh, The particular research that has gone going in a, in a college department. And then your short answers are somewhat longer answers, [00:05:00] um, to the secondary supplemental questions.

We’ll address that. And in those, those answers, you’re going to be showing. The wealth of your research. You really know this college, you really know the department. You really know the professors, you know, the kind of research that’s going on, and you are able as, um, as a candidate to show, uh, your, your knowledge in concise and an interesting way.

Remember. Admissions officers have very short amounts of time to look at the thousands of applications. So you need to really sell them quickly and you need to sell them well so that, um, they, they remember you, um, You want to be authentic? You want to be clear. You want to be concise. Uh, you want the writing to stand out.

You want the [00:06:00] writing to, um, have a flow, uh, and you want that. You want to invite you. So in every instance, secondary supplemental materials, primary materials, that’s your goal, your, your mission to sell yourself, uh, and are ours to help you to do that. Um, and they will often are asking lots of these questions.

What makes you interested in our particular college? Well, why do you want to come here? Um, and again, your, your answer, they, they want, they, you know, they want someone to give them a little pat on the back. Uh, they want someone to say how wonderful their colleges, um, things you may have heard, um, particular again to your department, your major, the research they’re doing.

[00:07:00] Um, the book that a professor wrote, perhaps all of that will show them that you really understand this college and that you really want to go there. Okay. We’re going to move to slide number four. Um, yeah, so here it is, not all colleges are going to require the supplemental materials. Um, and, and again, we are trying to get the attention of the admission committee.

We are trying to get attention in a good way. So that means no grammatical errors. Um, Sentences that are fine and developed and rich, uh, sentences that are, um, are like little arrows and they are pointed in the direction of that admissions officer and they are clear, um, and they are exciting. Um, and [00:08:00] here it is, um, you’re going to show them that you can make creative choices, uh, so that your answers are, are unique.

Uh, your answers are specific to you. Um, it would be fine for me to write it, but that wouldn’t be necessary because I’m not going to the college. I have already done that. It’s your job. And I, my job is to help you do show the best. And that’s what we’re all about here at college adviser. Um, so this is another part of the supplemental question.

Um, this is something that now comes wholly out of you. Uh, are you an art, a young artist? Are you a poet? Um, I had a student who wrote a children’s book. I. Do you have groups of essays that perhaps are you are, are interesting and developed. That should go [00:09:00] in. We’re talking about a portfolio. It could be a portfolio of writing.

It could be a portfolio of, um, art. Um, it could be a video tape of you singing. It could be a videotape of you performing. Um, of course it was an art school. There would be. Uh, unique and specific things that you would have to do, um, whether or not to do it, uh, I’m tape or in-person, uh, And those would be questions that would come up, of course, depending on where you lived, where the audition was, uh, when the audition was.

Um, so those, you know, those are questions that can certainly be answered. Uh, again here, we’re talking about putting your best foot forward, um, literally and figuratively, um, Are we talking about, um, dance that you have [00:10:00] rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed and then rehearsed so that when you show it on tape or in person, you are absolutely in positively ready.

If you’re going in person, you will also be asked to probably participate in, in class. Um, and that will show your, um, ability to take direction. Um, and, and the like, and then you’ll do your solo. Piece that you have perfected, um, if it’s an acting opportunity, um, if it’s on tape, you might do one or two monologues, usually two, one, a modern piece, one, uh, or contemporary, um, and something classical media Shakespeare.

Um, but again, you want to have rehearsed it and rehearsed it and rehearsed it. Um, you don’t want it to be of the moment, um, that will imply [00:11:00] you have to be really thoughtful and you have to rehearse it with the camera or, um, in front of other people so that you are, you are auditioned ready. Um, if it’s a poetry book or children’s.

Or a group of your essays or perhaps, um, a fiction piece, um, a short story. Uh, again, it’s fine to have your own style. Uh, which certainly that’s what we want, but we want it to be grammatically correct. Or we want it to be within a stylistic framework so that, uh, you can make your own choices in a poetry book.

You can make your own choices in a children’s book and they may not necessarily be what everyone would say was grammatically 100%. Correct. But that you are. Thoughtful about how it should, uh, be, [00:12:00] um, that you are thoughtful about your audience is what we want you to be. And we will work with you to make sure that that happens.

So, um, again, I said this, but it is the truth. Um, you, they don’t have very much time the admission committee members. Um, they’re going to see the material. They’re going to see whether or not there’s grammatical error, they’re going to see right away. Um, if the essay that you’ve produced flows, they’re going to see right away.

If your essay, uh, has done the kind that you have done, the kind of research necessary to convince them that you know something about their school, um, So we’re there, they’re assessing your competence. Um, they want to know if you’re a good fit for their school. So you really want to research what the new ones is, what the [00:13:00] sense of that college is.

Um, you wanted to be, as we have spoken already, but I don’t think I said this well-defined so that you understand what you want to say. You understand? Um, how you’re saying it, and you understand who you are saying it to. Um, and do you want to present a presentation ready so that each of the pieces doesn’t make someone confused as they have.

They want to, they want to admit you to the school. It’s not that they don’t want to, but they want to hear someone who makes a case for themselves. Um, and a strong case can be made when everything is in alignment. When, um, it’s grammatically correct when there’s a clarity to this stylistic form, if it’s a poem or, or a short story, um, when it’s, uh, When it’s really [00:14:00] ready for prime time is what I would maybe say.

Okay. Um, I, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, um, a bit repetitive, but I can say it enough, um, that the portfolios that you submit of your work are well edited. They are strong. They are interesting. They may tell a story, um, or they may be somewhat abstract. Uh, but there’s, there’s a sense of purpose and something that when I read it, I know who you are a bit, and that’s what the admissions officer is looking for.

They want to understand your talents, your abilities. They want to understand your, your competencies, your abilities, your. Your thought processes. Um, and they want to give you the benefit of the doubt. You have to make sure that, [00:15:00] uh, that your work is really on.

So we wanted to stop here for a second. Um, you’ve heard me drone on for a bit. Um, we wanted to know if you could take our poll to find out where you are in the application process. Uh, have you started your application? Are you putting together your school list?

Are you almost done? Are you complete so you can submit it or you can do it later.

Uh, so we’re getting in some re responses so far you like most of the people are putting together school lists. Great. And then it also started right. So as you assemble that school [00:16:00] list, um, in terms of secondary and supplemental materials, that school list is something you want to look at. You want to know if they require supplemental materials.

Um, and this is a bit of a timeline for us. So when would be the best time to get your materials together, the best would be if it was junior year, then you have lots of. When you say starting to assemble it, if you’re going to craft an audition, you’re working on the dance piece, you understand the choreography you’ve really worked out your technique.

If it’s an, a theater piece, you know, um, the, the piece you’ve read the whole play, um, so that you don’t just do the monologue. You have a context. For what you’re presenting. Um, you, if it’s, um, if [00:17:00] it’s graded papers, we haven’t talked about this. Um, if it’s graded papers and that can certainly come in into a portfolio or into a supplemental materials, that they’re strong papers, um, that you got a good grade that your teacher wrote, um, nice comments on it that you’re proud of it.

Uh, Your artwork, your poetry or prose? Um, yes, it would be grand if it was all done by the end of junior year, we all know what junior year is like. It’s, um, you’re on, it’s on the line. You’re everything counts now. Um, so, you know, okay. Second best would be the summer before senior year. And of course. Senior year we’ll work with you wherever you are in the process.

We’ll work with you wherever you are in, um, assembling this [00:18:00] portfolio. We’ll give you advice. Um, there’s never say never. Um, and there’s never say, oh, you’re too wait. W what would be grand is if you got it in my junior year and got it all done. Grander. Great if you got it by summer, but we will work with you all to make sure that it is presentation ready.

And, um, even if it’s it’s senior year and especially if it’s senior year that’s when we’re putting it all together, um, we’re trimming it. We’re editing, we’re organizing, um, we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s so that everything goes into. A hundred percent presentation. Ready?

What grade will you be entering in this fall?[00:19:00]


It’s looking like we’re getting letters and seniors, mostly not too many sophomores or freshmen. Okay. So seniors, we’ve got some work to do, um, and we are really ready to do it and excited to do it.

All right, seniors. We are on it. Here we go. Um, Again, time element, uh, summer between junior, senior year, again for assembling this portfolio. All right. Were there a lot of you coming in to senior year now? Um, so we’ve got work to do, uh, to really get it ready for presentation. It really will make a difference.

Um, this way you have send something [00:20:00] very unique to the college. Uh, Yes. You’ve answered their set supplemental questions. Yes. You’ve done your research. Yes. You’ve gone near your common app essay together, which of course opens on August one. Um, but now this portfolio, um, draws from many parts of your life, um, draws from your passions and now is ready to go.

And college colleges really, they, they won’t spend enormous or elaborate amounts of time on it, but they will notice it. And, um, uh, and that’s important.

Um, so again, um, what is a good portfolio? A good portfolio, a good secondary. So supplemental material package is well-made. Um, pieces that offer a unique [00:21:00] perspective. Again, we are talking about putting on paper, putting in art, putting, um, in poetry and prose in, um, monologue. And in video, we haven’t even spoken about video, um, which is or animations, um, All of that speaks to your individuality.

And it really, uh, points to the target audience, the admission officer of the admission committee and says, I’m, I want to come to this college. I know what this college is about. I know what you’re working on. That’s why I want to come here. And here’s what I’ve think. Um, one area we haven’t also spoken about is research.

Perhaps you have been in a robotics club, perhaps you have done your own, um, uh, biology research, your own [00:22:00] chemistry research. That’s something that can go into a portfolio. That’s something that, um, maybe it’s a math, um, piece and math portfolio. Uh, There’s any number of subject areas, major areas, minor areas, language.

Um, this is a place for you to show your talent, your abilities, your understanding, and it will come through, uh, through your essays, through the, the supplemental essays as well, uh, through, um, and through this portfolio of. That’s what I want you to think of it as I want you to think of it as an opportunity.

Okay. So how are you going to assemble it? You’re going to look back at your best papers. You’re going to look at your essays, your journal entries, your artwork [00:23:00] that speaks to who you are. You’re going to look into the research that the college is doing. The department you’re doing apartment that you want to be a part of.

Um, you are going to really understand when you listen to the question that is being asked by that college. You know, it’s very interesting. I’ve been working now with a few students on, on their supplemental materials and. The questions are posed in unique fashion. They’re not just yes or no questions. Uh, they’re really trying to suss out who are you?

Um, and they’re different for every college. They may have similar, um, ideas and questions, but the way that those questions are asked are, are unique. Our particular. Um, you’re going to look at supplemental tem templates and examples, um, which we can certainly offer [00:24:00] you. Um, and you’re going to make definitive choices.

Um, you know, it’s interesting of late. I have gotten into crossword puzzles. I know it’s going to sound like it has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Because when I have learned very, very clearly is that you need to make a choice. You need to make clear and definitive choices. And, um, and so in the portfolio, I know it’s going to sound on it, that I’m coming from crossword puzzles to portfolios, but actually it’s similar.

You need to make a choice. You need to say, this is who I am. This is what I want to show. Um, and if you do that, uh, the initial officer will hear that. Um, listen, we’ll, um, get a clear understanding of who you are.

So now it’s time for some questions and some answers. So, um, [00:25:00] Kenzie is gonna help me, um, because I have, uh, And the old computer. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat so you can see them and then read them before our panelists gives you an answer.

Heads up if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. So I’m going to ask a question from the pre panel. Um, so one thing that sort of came up was like sorta like the purpose and the impact of the supplemental materials, but a lot of the students were concerned whether or not, um, what’s regarding whether or not the supplement can hurt their application.

Well, I mean, look, if it’s not well put [00:26:00] together, um, uh, if it’s, um, kind of run of the mill, uh, then yeah, sure. Um, but if you followed what I was saying and you really, um, do due diligence, understand the college, understand the audience that you’re speaking to. Um, Speak to our admissions officers who are certainly well ready to help.

Um, then you can gear your portfolio or your supplemental materials accordingly, and then it can be only a boon. I’ve heard that the ones that sort of get looked at funny, or the ones that are like, sort of hackneyed or cliche and then ones that are just so like, like they they’re. So, um, gratuitous that it’s not even.

That good. Um, one thing that is coming up in the Q and a tab is, um, you were talking about a lot [00:27:00] of like arts and performing arts sort of supplements. Uh, could students not going into the performing arts? Like if they’re. The stem, um, submit like, um, a performative piece, um, th that would help their application.

Absolutely. Um, if there was a robotics, um, club that they were parted, if they did their own research, Um, they could certainly write about it and, um, they could submit some photographs of it. Um, maybe even a video of it. Uh, so she’s certainly not necessary. We’re not just talking art, we’re talking graded papers.

We’re talking, um, we’re talking. So granted papers could be a science paper that you wrote, and the science teacher gave you grade and, uh, offered suggestion and offered, um, responses to it. [00:28:00] Um, papers that are written, um, particular to an idea. I have a student now who is keenly interested in exploring research, um, about, uh, Um, in immunological disease.

Um, and so to write about it, to make, to have questions, um, wonderful, amazing, um, to maybe take photographs of some things that you’ve done, um, stem wise, terrific. Uh, yeah. To use technology, to show what you’re doing. Um, incredible. Yeah. So I guess the other end of that question is what if a S a student going into stem wants to submit like an art portfolio?

Would that help them in getting into like, uh, getting admitted as a stem major? [00:29:00] So it’s really interesting, uh, question, um, I would say, um, That sometimes it can be confusing. Cause then the AAO is like, wait, what, what do you want? What do you, you know, I have a student right now who wants to minor in music and very much wants that as, as a stem major.

So maybe the portfolio is part stem for her and, um, and part, um, music based, um, Uh, and, and of course there’s so many crossovers, you know, we’re talking about, um, video, we’re talking about, um, art playing a role in science. Um, we think of them as so disparate, so separate, but they’re not necessarily, um, you know, I, there are, there are so many wonderful people.

Um, I was just reading about, I don’t know if you all know about Laurie Anderson, she’s a. [00:30:00] Um, uh, a singer, but very technologically based. Um, you know, certainly there’s PR there’s crossover at every, uh, in so many, uh, junctures. Um, yeah, I know. I think again, as long as it isn’t like, oh, by the way, here’s my art portfolio.

Um, but it has some context. Yeah. Oh, sorry. There are multiple components of the application. So I guess you can still have multiple facets of yourself. Yeah, I think so. Uh, so one student asked, can your supplemental essay follow a similar theme to your common app essay? So your personal statement, or should it be fresh and would it be.

What following a similar theme, make the supplemental weaker, right? So this is something that happens all the time because you write this common app essay, [00:31:00] your personal essay, and you, you know, you’ve worked on it. And, um, it really speaks about you. And maybe it has a particular story that is. That is key to understanding who you are, um, uh, or your understanding of who you are at this moment.

I would say, um, So the, the natural field is to then take the supplemental and go with it more. I don’t think so. I think that you need to separate, you need to, um, draw a little bit of a line. You might allude to it. You might refer to it, but that the secondary, the supplemental essay is not. Um, because otherwise they’re going to say, wow.

Oh, so they are only writing about this one episode. I say, um, uh, I had a student who was [00:32:00] keenly interested in anime, so interested, um, that, uh, they went in on, in an interview. For 20 minutes, they had the ear of the AAO and all they talked about was that me and the AOL came out just saying what you know, so that’s sort of what we don’t want.

We don’t want overkill. We want, um, we want, and we want your common app essay to really stand out. If you bleed it into everything. It takes away. I think it’s strength. Um, so you can refer to it. You can allude to it, but then you, you move away from it. You craft, um, a separate.

That’s a great answer. So the next question. So, um, one student, oh Lord. Did I paste it? Okay. One student asked since they’re writing their own [00:33:00] essays and they’re going to have some other people proof rating it. How, um, they’re worried because a lot of other students, um, A lot of other students with certain resources can have a professional write their supplements for them.

So our admissions offices really able to, are they able to tell the difference between something that was faked and something from an actual student? Oh, wow. Um, you know, it’s interesting. I have a friend and we’ve talked about this, that, um, in a particularly wealthy community, people have their, their children’s essays written for them.


It just boggles the mind, like why, you know, like who’s going to go, which, um, so, uh,

I think, you know, we can’t really deal with it. We can’t really understand. And we can’t really know it it’s really unfathomable, but to me, but it happens. Um, when I think [00:34:00] you, as a student need to know that writing from your own perspective, with your own hand, with your own eyes, with your own ideas, um, is worth it.

Even if it doesn’t get you in the door or hopefully that it does the hope is that you combined with our efforts at college advisor, that we make it a strong essay, that we make it cogent and clear and thoughtful and unique, um, and that it opens the door. Um, and you have us, you have we’re professionals.

So that’s what I would say. Um, I also like to say, and I think that this gets overlooked you as the student or the drug. We’re simply, um, we’re taking your D where you’re the director. So we’re, we’re on board with you. Um, I I’ve often said that to parents, um, where they said, well, we should be looking at this [00:35:00] college and we should be looking at that college.

And while they may have a point, um, and sometimes we should be looking and we do, um, we really want, uh, the opportunity for the student to, to. We heard. Um, and similarly in the essay and the secondary pieces, that’s what we’re after. So, um, how for more informal sugar supplemental materials be, so it depends on who you ask.

I’ll tell you that. Um, I’m trying to get used to contractions, um, informal essays. It just, I, I. Students of mine have, you know, I’ll cross out that, that contraction. Um, but I understand now that it is part and parcel of the way that English has kind of moved. Um, when I pick up the times when I pick [00:36:00] up new Yorker, um, and it’s quite amazing to me, um, uh, I still won’t allow sentences to go out with the word, but in the front or, and, um, so, um, here’s what I want to say.

I think that, um, that essays need to be grammatically correct, even with contractions. Um, um, and. And compelling. So, um, we want to make sure that each of those supplemental essays, each of the oh, and in terms of the portfolio, I think that’s what you’re getting at. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for them to be so formal.

I think they can be more informal if that’s the style. So we’re, we’re going to take it in [00:37:00] context. I think that’s yeah.

Okay. Uh, from my personal statement, I had some contractions just because the word count gets sometimes you just need to shorten some words, but for like certain sentences where I needed the voice, like where I needed to make a really strong statement, like a starting sentence or an ending sentence, I made sure it was not a contraction.

Like it was just the regular word. So it sounds stronger.

Uh, where where’s the next question? Um, well, I guess first I’ll do the pop-up and then we’ll get back to the Q and a, but, um, let me see. Once we work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers, sign up for a free consultation with us by going to[00:38:00]

And clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there just right. Consultation and consultation and alive team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation. And I will send the pop up so you can click this and see more of our plans. Um, but now back to the live Q and a.

So I’m going to ask a question from the pre panel questions. So. Okay, sorry. I’m uh, okay. As a rising senior, when should I start planning and finishing my supplemental materials? Um, we’re starting now. We have to start now. There’s a lot to do. Um, we imagine that you might apply to 10 or so maybe 12 schools.

We imagine that those schools will require their own supplemental essays. So [00:39:00] imagine now, um, maybe. We’ll say eight of those schools require supplemental essays. So now you’re reading, right? Writing 16 short answer, or even like 350 word essays. Um, maybe you want to apply to the California system. Then you’re picking four, um, essays out of the bunch.

If you’re applying to the university of Texas said, uh, application, that’s a whole different application as well. Um, so. Lots and lots and lots of writing. That’s that’s for starters, then this passion project, this portfolio that takes in your papers and all of what we have discussed tonight, um, that needs to be organized and shaped.

Um, it might need, um, some, um, information sheets that go with it. Uh, this is my stem project from, um, junior year when I. [00:40:00] Um, uncovered some, you know, some particular, some particular work that I was doing on biology and chemistry on, on, um, engineering. Uh, so now is the answer. Um, we’re getting, we don’t live together.

We’re pulling it all together. I know school start for some students, various. Um, in the south and in the west, um, here where I am in the Northeast, you know, we’re, we’ve got some time. Um, but yeah, let’s get it moving.

So a lot of the students are worried about like their topics and how to like, portray what they’ve done in school. So what would you say is like a good way to present, like volunteer experience or projects or, um, interests within your, um, supplemental. Right. So, okay. So one thing that college [00:41:00] advisor is very, um, key on is, um, is in the common app and in.

And in most of Africa, most applications, there’s going to be an area where you will list your extracurriculars, where you will list your role in those extracurriculars. Were you a leader? Were you a member? Were you with the vice-president? Um, how many hours a week did you go? Uh, whatever it was. Um, and of course the best extracurricular is going to have a link to your major interest, um, robotics club for those wanting to be engineers, um, uh, working with young children, for those who are interested in child development or in, um, child psychology and that, and the like in terms of portfolio, um, Certainly if there were photographs that would be helpful if there was a video [00:42:00] that would be helpful.

Um, um, if there’s a brochure from, um, uh, a community based organization from, uh, A nursing home without having to show perhaps nursing home, uh, clients and residents, um, because that gets into a whole other story of person, of personal privacy. Um, but, um, maybe a picture of you in front of the nursing home that you worked at, uh, maybe, uh, The food bank, uh, whatever, or the animal clinic, um, um, or you babysitting, whatever you, whatever that volunteer experience or, um, you, you have to be thoughtful and creative about how you want to display it.

But I think we can think about how that can have.[00:43:00]

Okay. So I guess on that note, um, talking about like activities you’ve done is kind of a little bit easier, but a lot of people have a hard time talking about themselves. So some people have asked, like, how do you talk about yourself and how do you not come off? So braggy, yeah. Being braggy, um, it’s okay to be a little braggy or we don’t want you to be, you know, Um, you’re right.

There is this line, whoever asked this question, now, several people who did, um, there is that line where you don’t want to cross it, you know, and, you know, make yourself king of the world. But you do want to, uh, put yourself out in front. You do want to talk about what you’ve done. Um, so, uh, I think. Uh, we have a wonderful form.

Um, it’s a candidate’s profile and it will ask you questions [00:44:00] about your extracurriculars, about your volunteer work, about what you’ve done, and that form gets you to a, it gets to solicit. You were, um, the, the language. Um, that, that you then compare down into a ridiculous amount of characters, 150, um, to go into the common app, um, for the portfolio and or the supplemental material you’re going to use, maybe that language to talk about it in an essay.

Um, in a short answer essay form for some of the colleges, because they’re going to be asking about it. Maybe it’s a place that was central to your under new understanding of the world. And you might write about that, um, for the portfolio, that language is going to be essential because it can be part of a.[00:45:00]

Um, right now I have a student who’s journaling her work with, um, uh, friends, young brother. Because we don’t have an internship that we can really plug in. So that’s going to work as her internship. Um, she spends time with him. It’s not like we’re making it up. Um, but this journal will now be her observations of this young person.

So it’s really, um, what anyone would do as an intern, what anyone would do, um, as, as, as a psychology major doing child’s observation. Um, so that’s going to be, um, something that she’s doing now. It’s something similar to what you can do to describe your volunteer experience. Perhaps you start writing it.

Now you start journaling. You can even, I mean, even now you can talk about, um, the weeks that you were at a particular food pantry [00:46:00] and the, the, the people you met, um, the experiences you had. I think a lot of, um, the common apps now are also asking,

like, they have a space for you, like your money, or if you have a website or a blog or something, they have sections for that. So that’s also a good way to show them some of the work you’ve done. Some journaling or some writing you’ve done. Yeah. But no, this is sort of the opposite. And, um, are there any topics we should avoid in our supplemental essays or materials?


Well, okay. So I just edited an essay and, um, I, uh, And I’m seeing a question come up about nature observation. Yes. A hundred percent you go into the woods and you are, you’re a bird watcher. You’re um, you’re yes, of course. That would be beautiful. [00:47:00] Oh my God. Um, and journaling about that and doing a nature observation.

Terrific. Really great. Um, so the essay, okay. So. Uh, this particular person wrote about, um, some difficulty that they had had in their life. Um, and,

uh, and the difficulty. Didn’t show them in the best light. Um, so remember that is what our job is. Our job is to show you in the best light. We don’t want to come off sounding like you don’t like your sister. Um, that’s not good. Um, you may not like your sister, but we don’t care. Um, you, um, you don’t want to.[00:48:00]

Uh, you want to stay away from things. I mean, we all know what they are, or, uh, you know, that, that puts you in a poor light. Um, the time when you freaked out in, in, uh, in, uh, in a school that you don’t know, I didn’t know that. Um, because also admissions officers, remember we’re reading, they’re reading it and they’re saying.

Yeah. Maybe not, you know, um, we want them to say yes, come on in. So we want to show you not, not being inauthentic, but um, certainly being aware of what, um,

what’s appropriate. What’s not appropriate. Um, And your, your college advisor can help you with that. They’re not going to let anything go out. That has that. Um, yeah. [00:49:00] Uh, so going on that, some of the students here on the webinar tonight are actually not.

Um, linked with an advisor as yet, or they’re just logging into the webinar because we do offer free webinars series. So what are some ways for students that don’t have an advisor can get help on their essays? Um, and then also what are some good resources or places to look to find some inspiration for coming up with?

You know, I think, um, the best probably is, um, they can Google the New York times had, um, I think it was about six or eight essays person, personal essays that, um, they highlighted in the times and they were remarkable. Um, and if you read them, you’ll get a sense of what we’re talking about. Um, they were interesting.

They were evocative. They were, [00:50:00] um, maybe inspiring. They were authentic. Um, they called the reader in, um, you know, the, the, the common thing that you were probably a thousand times for me, English teacher don’t tell me, show me, that’s what we want to do here. We want to show, um, Uh, in terms of, so I would say the New York times, hands down, if you read those, these essays, you’ll get it.

You’ll understand exactly what we’re talking about here. Um, um,

but there are great SES. Um,

I mean, I know that a lot of people have mentioned him, but James Baldwin, I mean, read the fire next time and, uh, And understand what great writing is read. Um, um, [00:51:00] here’s New York. I think it is by, um,

uh, oh my who wrote Charlotte? Um, ed white read Eby white. If you want to know what a great essay is really be white. You read James Baldwin read. Um, Um, read the times, read, um, read the new Yorker, read, um, um, read a blogger to and understand and, and, and you can decide right then, you know, I really don’t like an essay and write why you don’t.

Um, or if you do, why you do now, you know him, you don’t want to copy that. Okay. Um, but you,

um, but you wanna, you want to understand the [00:52:00] flavor you want to get, like how they put it together. Um, and all essays. I think the way that you get cogency is remembering that, uh, essays are speaking to a reader. So as you speak, I don’t speak unless I think, Hmm. What do I want to say now? What is it that I’m trying to pull out that inside my head and inside of all of your heads when you’re talking?

Um, there are questions, otherwise I would sound, and maybe I do. I hope not, um, like a drone, um, because I have to think about, Hmm. Why, what, how, when, uh, Uh, I did. There’s a question up on the, on the, um, text that says, um, can I talk about how I started my passion project and also what should I write about if there isn’t [00:53:00] anything had happened to me?

Um, Nothing has to happen to you the day to day are, is incredible. Oh, there is another essay you all should read. It just is coming around on social media. It’s by Rudolph Nuria. It’s his essay when he had aids and he writes about. It’s extraordinary. It is an extraordinary essay. Um, so what if you didn’t, you know, God bless you.

Nothing happened to you. That is wonderful. Thank you God. Um, what we want is you to talk about what you think about the world, what you think about your life, um, who are your brothers and sisters? Who’s your mom. Who’s your dad, who is. And your grandma who’s um, your what’s in your school, your friends, um, social media, um, whatever is that spark for you?[00:54:00]

Um, and yes, yes. A hundred percent. You can talk about how you started your passion project. Yes. A hundred percent you can write about the day to day. Um, oh, thorough. I remember him and Walden’s pond. There’s nothing much happening in that essay, but it’s remarkable and we still read it. And it’s now almost 200, almost 200 years old.

It’s quite amazing. Um, and we read it because it’s about the natural world. It’s what he saw and what he felt. Um, it’s the interior of that. All of you can do this. I know you can. And we want to help. And at CollegeAdvisor, I think we can do. One more question. I’ve read it. I had to read it for IB. That was interesting, honestly, because he was talking so much about it, but then he only ended up [00:55:00] staying in the woods for like way less time than he was actually supposed to.

It was interesting, but, um, and I also did write my personal statement on my passion project, which was the college readiness clarify site. So that is a great topic. Um, I guess to really help students like, get an idea of what they’re writing about. Um, one student asked in the pre panel, what is the purpose of these essays?

Like what is it trying to do that the rest of the application with all the demographic stuff isn’t

doing. Right. Okay. So to sum it all up, you are introducing yourself to these people who are going to decide. If you can come to their college, that’s what you’re doing. You’re telling who you are. You’re telling why you want to go to that college. You’re telling, um, what you’ve been doing for 12 grades. Why, why, uh, [00:56:00] why do you want to study psychology?

Why do you want to study stem? Why you want to, um, be a ballerina, whatever it is. Um, or why you don’t know what you want to study, which is really okay. But he says that that’s really okay. Um, you can go to college and think you want to be doing ballet. Um, but in, in two years when you have to declare your major, um, you’re like, yeah, I don’t think I want to do that anymore.

And that’s okay. Um, I love that you read, wrote McKenzie about your, your passion project, about starting a college ready. Club. That’s incredible. Um, you took leadership. That’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking to see, um, have you stepped out, have you, and even if you haven’t, you know, we’re not all leaders, we’re not all the president or not in a home where we’re regular folk here.

Um, and [00:57:00] regular folk who want to study. That’s why you’re going to college and yes, you know, it’s fine. Um, You want to study, you want to learn and you want to teach the people on the other end, the admissions officers, the admission personnel, your mission committee. Um, you want to teach them about you, you they’re, your students now teach them.

And that’s what you’re doing. That was a great

ending on a positive note. So that is the end of our webinar. Thank you everyone for coming out and thank you to our panelists, Holly. Um, So we had a really great time telling you about crafting strong supplemental materials and here’s the rest of our July series. You can also find this webinar recorded.

It should be posted by [00:58:00] tomorrow, I believe. And you go to, and you’ll be able to find all of our webinars series and find our future webinars series. So thank you. Everyone’s coming up and again, thank you, huh. Thank you, Mackenzie. Thank you for everyone to come out and, you know, stay in touch with us.

We really want to hear from you. Okay. A CollegeAdvisor to you while everybody have a good night. Bye.