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

aebrennen
UNC ‘18


Accepted to Yale, UPenn, Davidson, UNC, UMich, Emory, Northwestern, Wake Forest, UVA, UKentucky, William & Mary, Miami OH, Vanderbilt

Passionate about education from the great state of Kentucky.
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!
dorszy
MIT ‘20


Accepted to MIT, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, UGA, GA Tech, UNC

I'm a current sophomore at MIT who loves all sorts of things: from engineering and biology to music and dance.
kltaylor96
Duke ‘19


Accepted to Duke, Northwestern, Elon , William & Mary, Centre, Campbell

I am someone who always shoots for the moon so that if I miss, I will land among the stars.

New Posts

Undecided Major? 3 Reasons Why You Should Own It
Undecided Major? 3 Reasons Why You Should Own It
June 20, 2018

“What do you plan on majoring in?” How much do you dread that question coming up at the dinner table? Thanks to Aunt Sally, this conversation is back on the table. You don’t want...

Student Insight: Transition to College
Student Insight: Transition to College
June 18, 2018

All college-bound students have some jitters about going to college for the first time. Let’s try to help you settle in more easily with these tips from current college students. There are a lot...

Emory University: Essay Topics & Personal Statement Examples
Emory University: Essay Topics & Personal Statement Examples
June 13, 2018

Applying to Emory University this fall? If you are just getting started on your application essays, get some inspiration from these successful essay excerpts:1. Overcoming Personal StruggleEssay Excerpt from DooleypeanutsEmory University ‘22 Neuroscience and Neurobiology “The...

5 Tips to Help You Look for Scholarships this Summer
5 Tips to Help You Look for Scholarships this Summer
June 11, 2018

Summer after junior year in high school is a great time for you to start looking and applying for scholarships. Why? You’ll get more for your efforts. It’s not something most applicants are...

Load More Posts