Writing the Supplemental Essay: A Cornell Student’s Advice

October 26, 2014

Having trouble writing your supplemental essays?  Worried about differentiating yours from the rest of the applicants, and showing why you truly want to go to that school? Jacqueline, a senior Applied Economics and Management major at Cornell University, shared her experience and recommendations when it comes to the ever-tricky supplemental essay.

A few of the colleges I applied to required one or several supplemental essays. Some of them were creative short answers. For example,Yale asked about what you like to do on a free afternoon or what you like to read. But the majority of the supplemental essays I wrote were about what I wanted to study at that particular college. This makes sense, because as the Common Application essay is broadly about your motivation and what has shaped you as a person, supplemental essays are chance for schools to get an idea of your concrete plans about what you will do if accepted.

As a result, you should take these essays as both opportunities to impress the admission officers with your clear intent of what you wish to study and what activities you will participate in as well as to seriously consider what it is that you want to get out of your college experience. Make sure to differentiate yourself by being specific and passionate when describing your goals and intentions.

Because of the nature of many of these essays I took a different approach than I did with my CommonAapp essay. The Common App essay is typically going to be more creative, really emphasizing the “show, don’t tell” philosophy. But for these more cut-and-dry supplemental essays, don’t be afraid to “tell.” The university is trying to shape a dynamic and hardworking class of students, so illustrate how you will put the college’s resources to good use and that you have thought about your future.


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USC ‘20

Accepted to USC, Dartmouth, Emory, UMich, Rochester, Lehigh, Miami, Alabama, Ole Miss

Hi! I'm a college freshman who was accepted to some of the best universities in the country (most likely due to my essays). Feel free to ask any questions!
Columbia ‘19

Accepted to Columbia

I'm a student at Columbia. I love writing, activism, terrible jokes, and binge-watching Netflix. Aspiring English teacher.
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA

Born in small town, interested in math, science, and literature. Attending Stanford University starting fall of 2016, planning on studying engineering or computer science, with a minor in a foreign language.
Yale ‘20

Accepted to Yale, UMich, Cornell, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB

Here to mentor and guide you!

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