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Supplemental Essay

Lrich01Lrich01 Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
edited December 2006 in Amherst College
My mother and I have a difference of opinion regarding the instructions on the supplemental essay on the Amherst application. The instructions say, "Your essay provides you with an oppurtunity to speak to us... We are looking for original personal responses to these short excerpts." One of us thinks that the essay has to relate to something in the life of the applicant. The other one of us thinks that the applicant don't necessarily have to talk about their life. Instead they might simply agree or disagree and give support for their arguement, such as by relating their ideas to movies or books. Will someone please tell me which one is the better idea?
Post edited by Lrich01 on

Replies to: Supplemental Essay

  • zspot9zspot9 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    Here's what I did...

    1) Read the quote
    2) Thought for a little while, about the quote and what it meant
    3) Wrote down my thoughts and how I felt about what the quote meant

    Not saying my essay was necessarily great, but I got in...you can't really go wrong just writing down your thoughts.
  • sdmazarinsdmazarin Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    They are looking for "original responses." This in no way implies that the material for the answer must necessarily be drawn directly from your personal experiences. I'm throwing out a guess that it's your mother who believes it should have something to do with your personal life. If I'm right, well, then, I've had similar experiences.

    Think about this simple idea... if you write something bizarrely unrelated to your life, but it sheds light on the quote in a genuinely original way, that might end up saying a lot more about the way you <b>think</b> than a brief, though perhaps well-written, recollection of the time you broke your leg at the age of five and didn't cry once. ; )
  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions Registered User Posts: 13,330 Senior Member
    My son attended Amherst 2001-05, and I recall him answering a prompt about "community" with many personal stories. Together they amounted to a philosophy about community, based on his lived experiences, but he didn't go into a research-y, debate-y thing about different theories of community by anthropologists and the like... At Freshman Orientation, the Dean of Admission--an immensely personal, kind, accessible personality-- spoke to parents about how, "this year" they especially liked essays that mentioned family and home life details. Since they don't interview anyone, and use their adcom time to review essays with great care, they might rely on them all the more to imagine the person applying. Read your essay and ask yourself, if this were a stranger, would I know the person better after reading the essay? At the very least, whether in this question or others, please open yourself up so they can see what motivates you, how you address challenges and so on. Imagine yourself adopting a child into your family, and you only have a written ap to go on. Would you care more about how they could mash words around or welcome descriptions of personal situations that shed light on how that person responds to change, challenge and so on. Amherst is able to figure out who is smart, but only you can tell them if you're a human being.
  • ejr1ejr1 Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    Absolutely agree with paying3tuitions (gulp! - my condolences). D is a soph and she wrote about her love of roller coasters. She received early write and Dr. Marx called and mentioned her essay and that there was a theme park close by. So I know it means a lot. Her stats and transcript showed her to be a serious, bright, student, but her essay showed the other fun-loving, side of her. They really were able to get a good feel for who she is. I think I'd rather accept someone that I felt I knew, than someone who wrote what they thought I wanted to hear, and it came across that way. Amherst really is small, and has a family feel. You don't want a question mark in your family.
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