Harvard supplement essay?

<p>^^^Wait, are you serious? I was told that the supplement essay is basically mandatory and if I didn't write it I would get rejected....</p>

<p>Not submitting an optional essay will not be sole the reason you're not admitted--although a good one might have made a difference. A good essay will help you; a bad essay will hurt you. Not having an essay probably won't hurt you, but it definitely won't help you. And furthermore, what's right for one person (or application) is not necessarily right for another.</p>

<p>Common sense, people.</p>

<p>They actually don't "expect or require" an additional essay which basically means that they don't want to read other stuff because they have enough of commonapp essays to read...</p>

<p>I would like to know something about the supp essay - what is the word limit? In the Supplement page, there's nothing mentioning it. Does it mean I can write a 3-page essay? What is recommended, 500 words like the Common App one?</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>As I said, my son didn't write one and got in, despite having no hooks. The only reason to write a supplemental essay is if you feel your common app essay could have been better.</p>

<p>"I would like to know something about the supp essay - what is the word limit? In the Supplement page, there's nothing mentioning it. Does it mean I can write a 3-page essay? What is recommended, 500 words like the Common App one?</p>

<p>Thank you!"</p>

<p>I totally like the question XD what's the answer to it?</p>

<p>My son used every opportunity to make his case. Maybe some students think their case is made sufficiently without the supplemental, but those students must be few and far between. So few and far between that anyone who suggests otherwise sets off my troll alarm. Claude, you're saying that the only reason to write a supplemental is if you blew the common app essay? Why not improve your common app essay? My son had several different dimensions of interests and experiences that he wanted to highlight and it wasn't all possible in one word-constrained essay.</p>

<p>^ I agree
with the one above me</p>

<p>"The only reason to write a supplemental essay is if you feel your common app essay could have been better." -- claudeturpin</p>

<p>That's simply not true! A good supplemental essay tells an Admissions Committee something else about yourself that they could not have learned elsewhere in your application. For example, my daughter's Common App essay was about her curiosity about religion, and the fact that her family raised her basically as an agnostic. Her supplemental essay was about overcoming stage fright and her passion for theater and feeling at home being in the spotlight. Her 150 word extracurricular activity essay was about being the flyer on her cheerleading squad and the strange looks she got in the hallway because cheerleading was looked down upon at her school. Submitting three distinct essays allowed her present a fuller picture of herself to Harvard's Admissions Committee -- and it worked.</p>

<p>Gibby: The fact that your daughter wrote a supplemental essay and the fact that she got in aren't necessarily connected. If the adcom felt that a supplemental essay would significantly improve your chances of admission, don't you think they'd be honest enough to say so? In reality, they come quite close to discouraging it.</p>

<p>Imntwo: It seems a little over the top to suggest that people who disagree with you are trolls. Plenty of colleges require a supplemental essay; Harvard doesn't and there's a reason for that. Here's what the Harvard supplement actually says: "Occasionally, students feel that college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about themselves or their accomplishments." The use of the word "occasionally" is significant. Unless you think the admissions committee is being completely disingenuous, the reality appears to be that in most cases a supplemental essay doesn't make a big difference. </p>

<p>Beyond that, I think we need to take a step back as parents and ask whether obsessing about such a small part of the application package is healthy for our kids. My son applied to nine colleges, only two of which didn't require a supplemental essay (thank you Middlebury and Harvard!). The supplemental essays significantly increased the pressure of the application process and by the time my son completed them he was pretty much burned out, as were most of his friends. In light of the fact that that even the best and the brightest have a less than ten percent chance of being admitted to Harvard, does it really make sense to spend a lot of time and energy on something that probably won't make a difference? </p>

<p>As I said, write a great common app essay and be done with it.</p>

<p>claudeturpin: Many kids, like yours, get admitted to Harvard without submitting a supplemental essay. While a number of kids, like mine, also get admitted with one. I was responding to your post where you were suggesting that the only reason to write a supplemental essay was if your common app essay sucked -- and I was essentially calling that response BS.</p>

<p>Call me cynical, but I think one of the reasons that Harvard does not require a supplemental essay, while every single one of it's peers (YPSM) requires one, is to boost it's applicant numbers. I'm sure thousands of applicants just throw in an application because it doesn't require any extra thought to do so.</p>

<p>Write a supplemental essay if you want to show another aspect of yourself to admissions. Make it no longer than 1 page.</p>

<p>That does seem pretty cynical, Gibby, especially in the absence of any evidence whatsoever that there's a correlation between increased applications and eliminating the requirement of a supplemental essay. In fact, the evidence on that issue is pretty equivocal. Columbia, which requires a number of short supplemental essays, saw a 32% increase in applications, while Middlebury, which recently did away with the supplemental essay, saw an increase of only 6%. </p>

<p>Isn't a far more likely reason for the increase in Harvard's applications last year the phenomenal financial aid that it provides? And isn't it just possible that Harvard's position on the supplemental essay is based, not on a cynical desire to increase its number of applicants, but rather on the fact that requiring a supplemental essay increases the burden on both the student and the adcom and, in the words of the Middlebury Admissions Director, actually provides the admissions committee with very little useful additional information? You have to remember that, even without a supplemental essay, these schools receive a mountain of information about the applicant. To think that a supplemental essay makes a difference in all but a few marginal cases just doesn't make sense.</p>

<p>The real pity is that threads like this contribute to the perception that the supplemental essay is a make-or-break proposition. (If you want proof of that, just read Samonuh's post above). And I think we parents bear a large measure of responsibility for that. We have made getting into Harvard (or another Ivy) akin to the pursuit of the Holy Grail. And, to support this ridiculous obsession, we go onto threads like this and make completely unsupported statements like the poster above who said that the number of students who don't write a supplemental essay is "few and far between."</p>

<p>Sorry to challenge the conventional wisdom here, folks, but the reality is that, unless you're right on the edge, you're better off submitting a good common app essay and then relaxing and spending your spare time with your family and friends.</p>

<p>^^^ "Isn't a far more likely reason for the increase in Harvard's applications last year the phenomenal financial aid that it provides?"</p>

<p>No. Harvard's financial aid policy has not changed since 2008, so last year's increase in applicant numbers is unrelated to Harvard's financial aid policy. Although, it may be related to the stagnate US economy.</p>

<p>BTW: In the last several days, Harvard rebalanced it's financial aid policy for the class of 2016 -- boosting aid for the lower end, but decreasing it for the higher end -- so next year will be an interesting year to watch. See: Harvard</a> increases financial aid to low-income students | Harvard Gazette</p>

<p>Columbia is a special case last year. The huge increase in applications is due to the switch to common application for the first time in school history.</p>

<p>^^ Agreed. See: No</a> Way: Columbia receives 34,587 undergrad applications (UPDATED) | Spectrum</p>

<p>We attribute this continued and growing interest in Columbia to a variety of factors, including . . . our first-year membership with The Common Application.
--- Jessica Marinaccio, Dean of Columbia Undergraduate Admissions</p>

<p>I'm thinking of submitting my "change of perspective" essay from the Brown supplement on my Harvard app. I really feel like the essay turned out well and highlighted an interest that I didn't get to expand upon anywhere else in my application. How do you think Harvard would view this? I'm planning on applying early to Harvard if that makes a difference...</p>

<p>I'm not sure you're really listening, Gibby. Even though Columbia began accepting the common app last year, they still require an extensive supplement with multiple brief essays. This means the amount of work an applicant has to do to apply to Columbia is significantly greater than for Middlebury or Harvard, neither of which require a supplemental essay. Nevertheless, Columbia's applications increased 17% more than Harvard's and 26% more than Midd's. That pretty much discredits your hypothesis that Harvard eliminated the supplemental essay in order to increase applications. But please don't let the facts stand in the way of your desire to impute bad motives to Harvard's admissions committee.</p>


<p>You have made some excellent points which I find very persuasive. Thank you for your contributions to this thread.</p>