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.

 



Browse Successful Application Files

uhoh29
JHU ‘19


Accepted to JHU, Cornell, Northeastern, Fordham, UMD, Wisconsin, Temple

Senior Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins majoring in English and Writing Seminars
FeartheLee
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Williams, Brown, Pomona, Duke, Bard, Kenyon

Stanford 2019, creative writing and education. Full essays! "Lopsided," less-than-stellar numbers.
ltan98
Fordham ‘20


Accepted to American, Fordham, Skidmore, Syracuse, UC Irvine, UCSB

Hi there! I went to an American school in Hong Kong from K-12 and will be starting my freshman year at Fordham University at Lincoln Center in the fall. If you're interested in theater and come from overseas, I would be of particular help to you!
lizolat
Yale ‘20


Accepted to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, JHU, Duke, Brown, Dartmouth, WashU, USF, Florida, UCF

My name is Elizabeth, and I am from a small town in Florida. I graduated from Land O' Lakes High School, and am now a student at Yale University. My intended major is Biomedical Engineering with a Molecular Engineering focus, and I am a pre-med student.

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