Supplemental Essay Prompts Overview
Learn how to ace each supplemental essay prompt.
2021-11-09 Supplemental Essay Prompts Overview
[00:00:00] Good evening. Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on supplemental essay prompts. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Uh, now let’s meet our panelists Nadiya Atkinson. Hi all. Um, my name is Nadiya. I am a, um, soon to be graduate from Williams college. I took a semester off, so I’m a super senior, as they say here. Um, I’m studying English and theater and I’m very excited to speak with you all today about supplemental.
So the first poll of the night, uh, what grade are you in? Right. So we’ll go ahead and start capturing those, uh, responses. Uh, [00:01:00] and in the meantime, uh, Nadia, would you like to just kind of talk to us about what your, what has been kind of some, some top, um, factors about you being a Williams? Like what are some things that you’ve enjoyed most about being a Williams?
Oh, that’s a great question. Um, I think overall, what I do love about a liberal arts school is that you have a lot of flexibility in terms of pursuing different subjects. You’re not limited to one major at all. Um, I’ve taken, I’m currently taking class in frescoes, how to make them and also study. How, um, their history I’m in a social psychology class right now.
So there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to exploring different interests. Um, and of course the people here are rather incredible. So. Perfect. Well, thank you for that, Nadia. Um, at this time, uh, so our poll responses [00:02:00] have come in, uh, with one with sorry, with 5% thing in ninth grade, 5% in 10th grade, uh, 23% in 11th grade and 68% in 12th grade.
Awesome. And we’re going back to the presentation. Great. Um, this will be useful, I think to everyone, uh, I will add in some tips for those of you that are currently writing your essays, because I know it’s a very stressful time. So just as an overview, a supplemental essay. Is an essay usually independently requested by a school.
It’s an additional essay to go along with your main application, depending on the school you apply to your application can be entirely supplemental essays or it can be none. So for instance, um, any school that uses the cob common application, which is this website portal where you upload your common application essay, Sometimes schools will just accept that main [00:03:00] essay.
That’s 650 words about your life, or they will also ask additional prompts. Um, the UC application for instance, is pretty much what I call all supplementals because it’s an entirely different application than the common app essay. And the common app essay is usually what you’ll spend the most time writing.
Um, the essays vary from program to program, and they’re usually shorter and word count. Then your main common F or coalition essay. So usually there a way for a program to get to know you a little bit better and also see if you’re a good fit for the specific program. They’ve read your information, they’ve read your activities, they’ve read your life story.
Anything else they need to know? And now they want to know what your major interests are. Why are you a good fit for the program? What do you think you can bring to the school and why do you actually want to be there? So. Overall, I really strongly recommend doing this check. And double-check the [00:04:00] requirements for all universities that you’re applying to this, especially goes to those in 12th grade, those in 11th grade as well, because often specific degree programs have additional prompts that you simply don’t know about.
For instance, I’ve applied to a number of specialized programs in, um, arts, for instance, and they have separate portfolios. Um, supplemental essays that actually aren’t listed on the common application website. So just really make sure you’ve done your research and you have all of that laid out. So you know how much writing you’re doing.
Um, so you don’t get to the point where it’s 12:00 AM you have, you’re trying to frantically get in your thing and you suddenly see there’s another prompt, um, that you didn’t know. And sometimes schools will say a supplemental essay is recommended. Treat those as mandatory. If you want to be truly competitive candidate, you should try to do your best on filling out all of the information.
A school asks from you the only time in which. It might actually just be recommended is if you specifically [00:05:00] spoken to an admissions officers from the school and have done a specific program with the school already, and they have given you the okay, that it actually won’t impact your application at all, but usually it will impact your application to not submit that extra material.
So overall, what I always tell my students is turn off your inner editor when you’re writing your first draft. Especially if you have writer’s block, just write everything you can out on the page, and then cut the most difficult thing for people is having that first rough draft. And if you’re constantly self-editing, as you’re writing, it becomes very.
The cold for you to have that first draft, which can lead to a lot of stress, even more writer’s block, et cetera. So try to get just everything out on the page. It is way easier to edit down than actually add word count. Um, and also don’t. Words at the beginning. Um, instead set a timer and write as much as you can.
I usually recommend 15 minute increments, and then you can go [00:06:00] through and select the phrases that work best for your narrative. But if you immediately try to go for this essay is 150 words. I’m going to write 150 50 words rather than I’m going to answer the question. You’ll often actually end up with less rich material and you’ll have a harder time actually trying to answer the question.
So there are six types. Now there’s a seventh because of the pandemic, but the common essay types fall into the Y school essay, which is usually why do you want to be a part of this major? What appeals to you about X university, the extracurricular essay, which asks you to elaborate on one of your previous activities, the community essay, which.
What would you contribute to the ax university community or describe a community you’ve had experience with, what is your relationship to them? The idiosyncratic essay, which is. [00:07:00] Um, something that you Chicago is very infamous for is usually the kind of quirky prompt that doesn’t fall under any category.
And they want to see your creative process, the challenge essay. Please describe the challenge and how you worked through it. And the short answers you see, USC has a lot of these, which is just one to two word or phrase answers to rapid fire questions. Like what is your favorite color or what music do you listen to, et cetera?
All right. And so we’re on to our second poll of the night. Uh, so we’ll go ahead and start collecting those, which essay types are you most interested in? Right. Um, and then, uh, Nordea, uh, can you kind of maybe talk to us about, um, maybe a favorite, uh, Williams. Oh, good question. Uh, I am particularly fond of mountain day, which is one Friday in October.
[00:08:00] Classes are canceled by the president of the college and the entire school hike, or drives up to the top of a mountain Mount Greylock in the area. And we have apple cider donuts and apple cider acapella group sing songs. And it’s generally a very fast. Dave, uh, very outdoorsy, very William Z, but I always have a really great, perfect.
So thank you for that. Awesome. All right. And um, I think most of our responses have come in. Uh, so we have 34% for the Y school essay, uh, 14% for extracurricular essays. 7% for community, uh, 7% for idiosyncratic at 21, 20 1% for challenge and 17% for short answers. So it seems like the white school essay wins out.
All right. And we’re going back to the presentation. Yeah. So the white school essay is. The simultaneous the, [00:09:00] the most straightforward prompt, I think out of all of them, but also the most difficult for students, because what you’re trying to do is not tell a school why their program is good, but how you see yourself fitting in and why this program is important to you.
Um, some examples are why do you want to apply to blink program? Why do you envision yourself? At X university, the brown 2021 was Brown’s open curriculum, allows students to explore broadly while also diving into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest that excites you and how you might use the open curriculum to pursue it.
So it’s very school specific. So what the school wants to see is, are you a good fit for the program? Are you applying just to apply to the school or do you really genuinely want to go there? Um, how much time have you spent researching the program? How much detailed do you know about it? You need to demonstrate that you’ve researched the school very [00:10:00] extensively and thought about how you’d fit on, on.
You do not have to have had done a campus tour to write these. I did not do any campus tours before applying to universities. Uh, but I did spend quite a bit of time talking to alumni people who are currently there learning about campus traditions, and actually trying to understand what the program was and what the culture was of the place I was applying to.
So the key thing here, and I cannot reiterate this enough times. Everyone falls into this trap. Me included now with writing, um, Job applications, but specificity is key. If you can read your essay and replace the school’s name with any other school and it reads exactly the same way and could work just as well, you have not added enough detail.
For instance, writing, um, brown has a rigorous academic nature. [00:11:00] And it’s world renowned faculty are the top of their field that can be said about 200 schools or more, more, probably all of them in the United States. So what I want to hear is. Um, how the open career curriculum, would it impact your major choices?
You know, what are the clubs on the campus that you would, the actual names? Are there any faculty who are doing research that you’re particularly interested in and that you try to take a class with, um, what appeals to you about the major requirements for a major? So really take time to go on the website, um, of each school and do that.
So in terms of areas, think about academics. What class names would you be interested in professors you work with? Don’t just name drop, of course, because oftentimes undergraduate students won’t be able to work with all of the faculty members, but it’s about, have you actually looked into the department, [00:12:00] um, you know, programs or centers you’d want to work at extracurriculars?
What kind of clubs you join? What are school traditions? Sports cultures or academic seen campus, Lord that appeals to you. Um, or even even civil simple, geography’s important. For instance, Williamstown is in a very rural community. Um, you have to drive about 15 minutes to get to a town, uh, and that’s something very specific to the school versus for instance, Boston college, which is located in the city.
So you can definitely also talk about how even. The physical proximity of a school to certain things shape how much you want to go there and relate the question back to you. So you need to talk about why you’re excited about all of these things. A school really doesn’t need to hear. Um, Harvard is number one, Ellen rankings.
They know that they don’t want it to listen to that. What they want to know is why [00:13:00] do you as a student, as an individual, a person with your worldview, See yourself as fitting in and gaining the most out of the next four ish years at this university. Um, so what experiences have you had that make this college right for you?
What, in your research, your specific research about the school stuck out to you? Um, for instance, with Williams, um, I talked about the tutorial system, which is one-on-one classes with, uh, Yeah, it’s you and one other student and the professor and that’s it for in terms of class size, but also something that was exciting to me was the theater scene.
So you basically end up crafting a very specific to your interests, to your personality reasoning for going there. And also just really keeps thinking about how you can keep bringing the statement back to you rather than making it a description for the admissions team. So please avoid telling the school [00:14:00] that their professors are amazing, that their classes are rigorous.
Have you pull their campus are et cetera. Any statistics? All of that is very surface level feels like you might’ve just gone on us news rankings and then saw a photo of the school. You have to get much more specific and detailed. Um, again, being not, not being specific enough is a huge error that pretty much everyone falls into at one point or another, and also telling a school that their prestige or reputation or selectivities a reason you want to go.
It’s not a great look to want to go to a school because it has a 4% acceptance rate as opposed to actually being interested by their offerings because that school might not actually be right for your interests.
Fabulous. Okay. So that’s the why school essay? I know this is a lot of information, a very condensed amount of time. Um, so I hope you’re taking notes, but, uh, the [00:15:00] community essay is usually formulated around either how you would fit into a university’s community or for you to talk about a community or home that you’ve been a part of schools, especially smaller schools like liberal arts colleges, private institutions, really care about what kind of campus community member you would be.
And they want to know how. You would interact with those around you and what values you already have in those interactions. Um, it’s centered around the relationships you have or want to have with people. So if you’re asked to speak about. Your own community. Um, it can be anything. Sometimes people don’t feel like they have a specific group.
They’re a part of, but communities can be a club that you’re interested in. Like, like your local candle, um, your family, um, online gaming group, [00:16:00] high school lunch. Squad really anything where it’s you sharing time with a group of people? Um, because again, as I often tell students, it’s not what you write about.
It’s how you write about it. The material that you’re generating is the most important thing about that. The way you’re telling your story rather than the story being particularly amazing or unique in some way, because people share a lot of similarities, but it’s, what are the specifics about this group that reflect your world, use a human being and your relationship to them.
Try to introduce through an anecdote as always show don’t tell I hope everyone adheres to that rule in all of their essays, but if you haven’t heard it show don’t tell is basically rather than. Giving us a very surface level. Sh tell of the story. For instance, I felt sad where you’re just describing it rather than putting us in the moment versus, [00:17:00] um, showing would be I’ve my throats swelled, and I held back tears.
So you’re much more active. So as long as that active voice is in there, that’s going to make the essay shine. Uh, And this goes for the community yesterday as well. And it doesn’t matter how large or small the group is. It matters again how much it genuinely means to you and how you’ve grown alongside it and how you relate to those people within it.
And what kind of a community member you are. So if you’re asked to speak about a future college community relationship, I find this a little bit tougher. Okay. But I’d ask your friends about how they would describe you, because oftentimes we find it hard to write about our own qualities, but actually asking the people around us, how, like what they think of you, what your qualities are, will allow you to understand how an admissions reader could see you or a college could see you.
So. And [00:18:00] it’ll give you material to work off of. So think about your personal background. How do you draw upon it when communicating with others? What are values you have? How do you spend time with people? How is it important to you to spend time with people and re always relate this essay back to concrete moments in your own life and experiences?
Because if you vaguely say I would be constantly involved in rigorous discussions with fellow peers. And then just leave it at that. And we don’t see any instances of that in your actual life. Currently, it might feel a little bit like a false promise. You really want to make sure that you’re supporting all of these.
I like to think of it as a persuasive essay. You’re supporting these claims with evidence.
Um, so one of the community questions is how will you add to the diversity of the school? Um, diversity is. Pretty much socio-economic ideological experience, real cultural and racial. There are a lot of different ways that [00:19:00] you can redefine diversity for your specific situation. Um, oftentimes also students of color feel like they need to expose personal trauma to qualify as diverse too.
Please. Don’t. Right about anything that feels uncomfortable or traumatic to write about. Um, right. Honestly, and only divulge information that you feel comfortable with this essay, especially the diversity essay is supposed to be about how you engage with people and what, what values and what background do you have that is important to you and how you relate to others rather than giving the admissions officers.
Perfect candidate that they can market. If that makes sense, it’s having X kind of life. So don’t feel pressured into a specific narrative. So yeah, the essay is not necessarily meant to be about. It’s meant to be about what idiosyncratic quirky, amazing, beautiful self you want to share with people. And [00:20:00] that there can be a number of things that lead to that version of yourself.
So do self analysis of your positionality in your community to what do you contribute? Um, what past experiences have shaped your worldview? What are values or ideas you hold that differ from your peers? Um, what is your privilege? That’s an important thing to acknowledge as well for a number of applicants, because you can write about that, honestly, in your essays.
What are passions that you have that you want to share with others and what our current ways in your life that you try to hold people around you and that your experiences have. Cultivated that kind of relationship to others. Great. So that’s the community essay I’m going through all of this very quickly.
So please feel free to use the Q and a chat. Um, the next is the extracurricular essay, which is usually the, please elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. So students really, uh, schools really want to see. Um, [00:21:00] basically a more in-depth look at how, what your work ethic looks like, what your passion looks like, and that you’re not simply doing an activity for the sake of a resume.
It’s very clear to schools in the extracurricular, um, essay. Well, You are just kind of rehashing your resume instead of actually talking about why something is important to you. And also this is a chance if you’ve written your common application essay about something very specific to round out that portfolio in your admissions and talk about a new interest, um, or different side of you that you haven’t necessarily shared.
So the activities list covers a lot in ground already. So make sure that you’re not talking about the exact same thing that you already put in your activities list in terms of description. You shouldn’t just be rehashing it instead. This is a chance for you to show the school, you and action in this activity.
Um, again, think about if there are gaps in knowledge that you think is important to know about [00:22:00] yourself that the school might have, and really integrate that in there. Um, and think about it. The one thing you’d like people to draw coming from this essay. So for instance, I wrote about unicycling and my kind of whole focus with that essay was I’m a risk taker.
So I spent a lot of time using unicycling to basically talk about this quality that I have. So it’s, it’s sometimes less about the specific activity, again, not about the material it’s more about. Okay. What side of you do you want to show the reader? So avoid again, echoing common application or coalition essay topics.
Don’t write about being in Quizbowl and both. Um, and also don’t write to impress. You don’t need to recite awards in this essay. You have the award section to already do that. This essay should be a very different take on this activity.
All right. So [00:23:00] we’re onto our next poll of the mindful next and last. Uh, where are you in the college application process? All right. So as those responses are rolling in Nadia, another question for you, uh, can you talk to us briefly about what your own, uh, Application essay process was like, I mean, did you kind of, for you to call an expert like this when you were writing your essays or were you looking up kind of self-help guides where the writing or like kind of walk us through.
Uh, that’s a great question. Um, so my mom immigrated to the U S so had absolutely no idea about anything, about the, um, college applications, um, process. And I just happened to be incredibly lucky and get a basically fully funded. Mentorship help with my college apps process, um, because I couldn’t afford it otherwise.
So that was a big part of it. And then I just kind of stayed on working at that company [00:24:00] actually, which is why I’m now a college apps advisor. Um, but I’ve always loved writing. And I think overall what I hope students come away with, because this was something that I thought was really useful for. It is it’s.
Capture in time of who you are at this point in your life and writing about yourself and analyzing your ex your experience is actually kind of cathartic in a lot of ways. I took a lot of look backs on, you know, my four years of high school and who I was as a person during those four years. And I actually found out a lot about myself that I think I carried into coming into university in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to, if I didn’t actually dig a little bit deeper into thinking about that critically.
All right. Thanks again, Nadia. Um, so those results have come in at 11% for having started 32% with I’m researching schools, 26% of you say that you’re working on your essays 21% say that they’re getting their application materials together. And [00:25:00] 11% of you are almost done. So good stuff, everyone, back to the presentation.
Um, great. So moving on to the idiosyncratic prompt, which is always my favorite also everyone’s least favorite, probably because it’s the least clear in what the school wants to see from you. Um, for instance, a classic U Chicago one is, uh, miss attribute, a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so, which is vague on so many levels, but really in these questions.
It’s a chance for a school to see your own creative thinking and whether you’re a risk taker and willing to go out on the limb, your first idea will usually never be the best one. So for this one really tried to avoid cliches as much as possible. Um, for instance, I wrote mine on two passe, Virginia yellow wood, which you should probably avoid because I guarantee you at least 10 other students have written about that if not more.
Uh, so it’s really about [00:26:00] how you problem solve with originality. So again, don’t be afraid to go out on limb. It’s the complete opposite of a resume question. Um, unless there’s a very compelling reason to do so don’t relate it to any awards. So what a school doesn’t want to see is, um, success makes you work harder.
Uh, bill gates when I won the number one award and X, Y, and Z, like, that’s not actually that interesting to the school, what they want to see is how the wheels of your brain turn. Um, so unless there’s a very good reason to bring out a specific like resume type thing, then you can do it, but just be careful about not making it another.
Essay about that. Um, just have fun with it. And if you write your essay genuinely and draw on your personal experiences, it will be specific to you and really give yourself time to brainstorm. This [00:27:00] is not the kind of essay that you can write in a night and have it be good. So these ones you should start quite early with and start thinking about them, bouncing your idea off of people, because usually your best responses will come after.
You’ve had some time to ID and hear what other people have. So avoid cliches, rethink your subject. Think about the most like interesting pathways. You can go with a subject that isn’t. Very reductive. For instance, if a question is asked, what do you think of this philosophy? I agree, or I disagree. It’s usually not very interesting to read as an essay.
So think about the more complex, interesting ways you can actually think about these prompts, redefine a term, for instance, um, don’t use ISA Terra terminology, a pitfall people fall into with these products. This being their chance to flex their academic brain. And then they use a bunch of words that absolutely no one will understand because they think it makes them look [00:28:00] smart.
It really just makes you look a little pretentious. So try to avoid that as much as possible, make sure that a reader with any background could read it and understand what they’re saying. So really make sure that you’re still storytelling, even as you’re writing these. Um, so also avoid like describing a prior thought experiment or philosophy it’s supposed to be about you.
It’s not supposed to be about a different person. Who’s already done a, quite a bit of writing on the subject. So really strive towards getting out of that very kind of analytical high school or college brain. And instead of saying, well, this person has thought about it this way, and this is what I think about this person thinking about it.
It’s what do I directly think about the second? So that’s the idiosyncratic and challenge essay. I know that there was quite a bit. Um, interest in this one. So challenge assays are very hard. I know for people, usually it’s something [00:29:00] along the lines of what is a challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
So what schools really want to know is how have you grown as an individual? What are key moments of your background that have shaped who you are, or the. Oh, my God, I can’t speak the opportunities that you have or haven’t had access to as well. What do you perceive as a challenge? And you’re basically in the end, your emotional maturity and ability to self-reflect.
So oftentimes I get the question of, I haven’t had a particularly challenging. I don’t think I actually have a challenge, but I have to answer this question. So that’s probably not necessarily true to grow as a human being. You have to go through periods of your life where you’re uncertain or difficult.
Um, and they might not feel very dramatic, you know, but that’s okay because oftentimes schools don’t need to see, for instance, a loved one passing away. [00:30:00] It can to have a strong essay. You know what I mean? So you can have something very basic, like struggling through a particular class, or having a dispute with a friend that you somehow had to resolve.
It’s really anything that you can think about where you’ve had to alter the situation to. Um, or grow to alter the situation. So they don’t need to be soft stories at all. Um, they don’t need to be, you can absolutely write about that. If you think it’s very important to understanding you, but they don’t need to be very dramatic for them to be very honestly difficult for you as an individual.
And if you write compellingly about it, that’ll come up. It needs to be specific to you as always with these essays, but every family, every academic experience and every childhood is very different. Um, so for instance, maybe it’s having to assume a greater caretaker role in misunderstanding your parents, your own positionality, facing a subject activity, struggling to reach your goal, et cetera.[00:31:00]
Um, but regardless, just approach it with honesty and care and it will be captivating to the reader. And again, focus on growth. Most of all. So again, avoid writing about challenges that are surface level, for instance, like getting a poor grade in the class, don’t use this as the spot to say, oh, well, I did get that C on one test.
Maybe I can explain that to the admissions officers in this essay. That’s not really what it’s about because you should, it should be genuinely have been a difficult moment for you in a way that you’ve had to change in some way to resolve. Um, don’t overdramatize your story. It’s very clear when people do this as well.
Um, yeah, for instance, you always want to be an only sibling. I had a sister and how woefully your life is. It’s not really supposed to be about how woeful your life is. It’s supposed to be how you’ve grown and how you overcome it. And, um, don’t write about anything. Uh, we connect or challenge, but that is [00:32:00] actually a positive thing.
So for instance, I struggle so deeply because I can’t stop being a perfectionist. You know, that kind of thing is very transparent to people as well. So, um, there’s also the extenuating circumstances, essay, and. This should only be filled out by people who truly have an extenuating circumstance, they think is absolutely necessary to understand that their application, um, is there for instance, something that happened in your family that caused a grade drop that you need to talk about because that’s not reflected anywhere else.
Do you, is there, did you have to transfer schools and you need to explain why you repeated a class, anything like that? That’s what you put in there. You do not put anything. That’s just, again, I got a C on one test. This is my excuse. It’s not for that at all. This is for truly things that are important to know holistically about you [00:33:00] as a human being.
Um, again, place to explain significant dip in grades, change in school, send time off, or if you’ve had consistent in accessibility opportunities that fellow peers have had. That’s a really good spot for that. For instance, if you’ve had to assume. Basically a part or full-time job alongside of work in your high school, it’s likely that you probably haven’t had time to develop your extracurriculars as much as peers.
And this is a great place to talk about that and explain that. Yes, do not write this essay unless there’s something very important to understanding you as an applicant. Um, colleges really want to be aware and take into account of situations that aren’t covered in the rest of your application. And that.
In a different, if they just read your application that might put you at a disadvantage, this essay is basically a chance to explain that away.
So the short answers, so oftentimes these are, what is your favorite [00:34:00] books? School books, song artists, et cetera. You’re teaching a yellow course. What is it called? Excuse me. Uh, basically the school wants to see a very quick overview of your interests. You know, daily life. It’s a great way for schools to gain a little bit more insight into your personality with very minimal word count for on their end.
And what kind of a thinker are you? What kind of materials are you engaged in? So, Choose very carefully. And very honestly, if you haven’t read a certain book, please do not put it down because inevitably you will be at an interview with an alum. Who’s read your application maybe and says, oh, I love great expectations.
Tell me your favorite part. And it won’t go well. So don’t do that. Um, but make sure it is something that you’ve thought critically about in that. Your interests. Um, usually I’d recommend writing a longer list of things and then choosing from that [00:35:00] list in a way that matches your other answers and is in communication with your other answers.
Um, so just write that list and then shorten it down. So what media artistic or academic have you recently been consuming? Just think about that pretty critically. So avoid cliches. Everyone knows Warren peace is not a high schooler shaker book. If it is your favorite book, I’m very sorry, but they won’t believe you.
So try to find something else. That’s a little bit more, um, It’s specific to age group or contemporary moment. That actually is something you could talk about. Quite compellingly. Try not to look hyper intelligent. For instance, if you write that your favorite thing is Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics. Uh, probably not.
And it does end up sounding a little bit more. Like, you’re trying to show how intelligent you are then actually enjoying the material. Um, they want to know what you consume on a day-to-day basis and in your passion and your personality, rather than having this be like an academic [00:36:00] resume, basically. Um, for instance, someone saying that the fountain head or the little prince is their favorite book that tells you a lot about those two people in very different ways.
So just think about that. What are qualities that. Embodies about you that you would like to share. So, um, try do, you can take some risks and go on, on a limb. Don’t go. As far as I went to where the branches snaps, um, for my favorite music, I literally linked a video of a song about yodeling to chickens. Uh, needless to say, did not get into the school so you can be quirky, but just don’t go too far into the unprofessional category.
Um, yes. So a lot of people have questions about reusing their essays. Can I use a supplement that I wrote for U Chicago, for Berkeley, et cetera. S colleges do not read your application to other schools. [00:37:00] However, if you were applying to a specific department within the school, they can read it. So for instance, if you’re applying.
To the psychology department at Yale that has a specific supplemental question. And you use the same answer you already gave to a different Gail supplement. There’ll be able to see that. Um, so you can definitely copy paste a little bit. Don’t do that with the Y school essay, because as we have discussed, that means it’s not specific enough.
Um, but you should still like, think about tweaking your essays to each schools and don’t copy the entire essay and just change a few words because that usually won’t be enough for the prompt and also do save all of your writing, all of your free writing journaling, et cetera, because you never know when you can pull a few phrases from a different source to kind of piece together, the essay.
So for recap, six types, why school extracurricular community, idiosyncratic challenge, short answers, and then the [00:38:00] optional, but only optional for people who need it. Extenuating circumstances, essay. So research and writing and specific says key to any of the prompts. Um, please, please, please be genuine and honest again.
You don’t want to get into. Where you’re in an interview and they asked you a question that you can’t answer, take notes as you researched your visit schools, too, because this will help you write high school essays and talk about why you want to be on their camp. Great. All right. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar.
Uh, hope all of you found this information helpful, and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. Uh, so moving on to this live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submit in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat so that you can see and then read them out loud, uh, so that our panelists can give you any.
As a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, uh, just [00:39:00] double-check that you joined the webinars through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. All right. So let’s go ahead and get started at this time. Um, I’m seeing one question in the Q and a, and that is, is my, so is my sibling also goes, they’re viewed as a good, why this school response.
I would say no, because you’ve lived for most of your life with this sibling and you can keep spending time with them anywhere. So having just your sibling, being at a school, isn’t really a sufficient reason. If you want to talk about.
Even then I would avoid it. I would say though, use your sibling and talk to your sibling about specific insights to the campus. So you can share those and say, for instance, in speaking with, you know, [00:40:00] my brother, a happy alum of , um, I learned X, Y, and Z. That’s okay. But I would still recommend using a little bit more of actually talking to the person to have concrete specifics for why you want to go, because there’ll be able to see that you’re a sibling.
And whether that hurt, hurt or helps you is dependent on the school. I have, I know a pair of twins that look exactly the same on their academic transcript. All of their grades are exactly the same essays were just as strong. One of them ended up getting wait-listed. One of them ended up getting in, cause sometimes schools are a little bit weird about letting in siblings.
So I would just avoid that if possible, but use your sibling to ask them specifics that will help you write that essay. All right. And, uh, just going and checking the Q and a, um, wow. Well, you must have really covered everything Nadia, because [00:41:00] it’s really, it’s really the only, uh, this question that we have at this time.
Um, so that if you, if you do have questions, make sure that you’re adding them to the Q and a, um, so we definitely want those to be submitted. If you do have any questions, uh, I’m just trying to think of, um, other a few more, um, any tips to make sure I’m writing concrete things, um, sort of making sure I’m doing the show, not tell.
Absolutely. So, um, if you find yourself starting a lot of sentences with an eye and then a feeling for like, I was sad. I was angry. I was blank. Usually you’re telling, so I was X, Y, and Z. Along with that goes passive voice. You’re usually in the telling rather than showing [00:42:00] category, um, make sure that you’re incorporating anecdotes throughout your essay so that it feels like we’re reading a little bit more of a short story than an essay, if that makes sense.
So. A big thing too. I’d recommend as details. It’s much, much, much more interesting to read something with descriptive detail than not. For instance. Um, I brush my teeth at five in the morning is a fine sentence. As opposed to, as when my alarm strikes five, I pull out my sparkly Colgate. White optic and put a heavy dose onto my Mueller’s.
You know, that’s like much, much more interesting and gives much more personality. That was not a great example, but if you can infuse each sentence with your personality, even if you do have to kind of tell at some point it will be much more interesting to read. So overall, I would also say, try to look at books that have a [00:43:00] very strong first person narrator, because oftentimes you’ll be able to see how the kind of storytelling and personal or integrated.
Yeah. Um, great is wanting to be in a certain city, a strong enough thing to write about. Yes. If you can relate it to the school, for instance, if you want to be in New York, there are billions of schools I’m exaggerating, but there are billions of schools in New York. So telling him why you, the only reason you want to go there is to be in New York.
Isn’t great. But if you can talk about how NYU gives you opportunities like X, Y, and Z to be in the city and they connect to the surrounding area in these ways. The community participant of both the school and the city. Absolutely. Just make sure you’re referring it to both you and the school. How can I make my essay personal as an international student?
Um, I don’t see why being an international student will make your essay [00:44:00] impersonal because it’s still you who’s answering the prompts. If you want to clarify that. That would be good because I think it’s just you as a human being, who’s answering these, I don’t necessarily know what the difference would be between international and domestic applying then, um, when writing an essay, can you talk about your characteristics?
For some reason, I’m a hard worker. My writing has developed over the years. Yeah. So that’s a great example of telling, not showing. So definitely write about your characteristics, but rather than saying, for instance, I’m a hard worker, show us how you’re a hard worker. For instance, I. For 20 hours a week, I went to my local health center, filling out forms for those who needed extra help, et cetera, that shows that you’re a hard worker without you having to tell the person that, but you should absolutely always be thinking about your characteristics and how you’re conveying those to the [00:45:00] reader.
Should we follow the five paragraph rule when writing essays? No. Um, I don’t think, I feel like common apps are usually three paragraphs actually, when I’ve written. Um, yeah. I’ve had students who’ve written 12 paragraph ones really kind of throw that out the window in terms of, but if it is helpful to you, you can still think about, okay, what’s my thesis.
What do I want the reader to learn about me? What’s my supporting evidence. And then how am I wrapping it up for the conclusion that’s still useful to think about, but you don’t. Five S five paragraph kind of structure. And you actually probably won’t be able to fit that in anywhere. Um, it’s talking about struggling through college admissions process or finding colleges the first gen international student.
Okay. For the challenge. Okay. Interesting. It’s very, um, uh, [00:46:00] I think that, that as a challenge itself, Isn’t maybe the strongest, just because how have you grown from that is my question. Like you as an individual, have you had time to change into a different person because of that challenge? Probably not because it’s very recent and isn’t a challenge where you have to somehow grow.
Or realize the world works in a different way, if that makes sense. However, that would be a really interesting thing to include in your wide school essays. So for instance, talking about how, um, it’s so difficult for you to find schools, but this school had X, Y, and Z. And so that kind of pulled you in that would be a strong place to use that.
So just make sure that the challenge. Is more about something that you’ve processed in some way and was difficult to process, but now you’re on the [00:47:00] other side of it, rather than something that’s a difficulty. If that makes sense. Um, as an international student, how can I ensure that my experiences flow well and my essays are understood by the admissions officers.
So if you’re an international student, oftentimes admissions officers will. No that, and actually be able to kind of understand that, okay. Some of the phrasing might not be quite right and that’s okay. Um, it’s usually surprising to them or they feel like someone else might’ve written your essays if it’s absolutely perfect.
So don’t worry too much about that, but, um, I would say one of my favorite rules is when I’m stuck. And I don’t know how my essay sounding is to read it out loud to myself. Um, because you’ll be able to tell when words don’t sound quite right in your mouth. And if something isn’t flowing or you jumped from something too quickly when you’re seeing it in your own words.
So I’d recommend just pausing [00:48:00] periodically and reading it and thinking and hearing. As thinking. Okay. Does this make sense? Is this flow correct? My accurately describing it also, um, if, for instance, English, isn’t your first language, I’d recommend writing it in your first language and then seeing, okay.
What are the best ways I can translate that? Cause that’s also. Um, cool. I think that’s all of them in the Q and a perfect, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help you with that. It wasn’t showing in the general Q and a. Um, so, um, at this time, uh, actually I had one question for you. Um, and this is just based on a few students.
I’ve helped them maybe can help a few students in here, um, for those why college essays that are of shorter words. Let’s say like a hundred words for Dartmouth or 150 words for American or be you. Um, then there tends to be a tendency most times to start sounding more descriptive because it’s a shorter word limit.
So you’re trying to fit as [00:49:00] much or kind of cram as much as you kind of like about the school. Uh, how, what are some, uh, what are some advice that you would have there and, and making it still sound, you know, authentic or in your own voice without being overly. Yeah. I mean, when I write, like when I had to write the keys, um, and when I write now, when thinking about what an institution, for instance, I’m applying for, I start with talking about myself and then I add in the institution, if that makes sense.
So for instance, when I was writing about Dartmouth, Um, I was talking about how my future goal is to be a theater director. And at Dartmouth, there is this opportunity that I could use for that. So it’s still, as you begin with yourself and then it’s you pull in the information rather than starting with Dartmouth has a theater thing and then running out of space to talk about why that’s applicable to you.
So I usually try to start from. [00:50:00] Myself and then pull in the detail as a kind of, and this is my evidence for why this school. Yeah. Perfect. Perfect. Thank you for that. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Uh, well at this time, um, let’s see here. Um, sorry. So at this time, uh, you know, if you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 225 advisors and admissions officers, uh, then you can just sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom right of the screen.
Uh, from there, just write in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with. Um, and then if we don’t have any further questions at this time, uh, the lead that then, uh, yeah, I think that kind of concludes our presentation for tonight. [00:51:00] Um, thank you so much, Nadia, for, uh, giving us all of that additional information.
Um, and at this time we’ll go ahead and close out the session. Oh, I was just going to add one quick thing. If anyone is particularly struggling with the supplements from a specific school, CollegeAdvisor has a really great online blog that talks about how to respond to supplements for a specific school.
So I’d really recommend checking that out because it’ll help you start brainstorming for action, like Dartmouth Williams, et cetera. Um, and they’re specifically answers tailored to the supplements for that. Sorry. And one more thing, um, wanting to make sure, uh, I wanted to make sure, uh, that everyone had a chance to check out the rest of our November series.
All right. Uh, so we do have these upcoming webinars, so make sure to attend, um, and at this time, have a good evening.