Supplemental Essay Advice

Hi! I’m a senior in high school applying to 12 pretty competitive schools. I’m definitely not a shoe in for any of these schools, but I have a very strong academic, extracurricular, and accomplishment record. I’m finding that writing my supplemental essays is really difficult. I know what I want to write about, but I also know what I should write about. I’ve gotten certain opportunities and have achieved certain things that I think would be great to write about. However, these are things that I’m not as passionate about in comparison to other things. There are certain topics and movements that I’m extremely passionate about at home, but I haven’t taken the time to become deeply involved, or share my research or anything impressive. What should I write about? For example, I’ve been deeply involved in band and my instrument, won the state level competition for it, and teach my instrument. However, I’m much more passionate about ballet: I just earned my pointe shoes as a senior and I’m always practicing and taking classes, but I don’t do competition, company, or am I apart of any extra shows or events. I’m also passionate about certain societal issues and solving them, but I’m not extremely knowledgeable but I’m learning everyday. What should I write about? One feels more strong, but it feels like more of a chore to write about. Any advice would be great! I feel like I’m drowning in essays.

One rule of thumb that I found to be really helpful when writing my essays was “don’t repeat yourself.” It seems obvious, I know, but hear me out…

Chances are that you’ve already written about band in another portion of your application; you’ve done well, you’ve received numerous awards, it’s fairly obvious that this is something you’re passionate about. Proceeding then to write an essay about how passionate you are about music could not only come off as redundant, it may be viewed as simply boring. I mean, the admissions officers already know this about you.

Essays are a chance to get to know YOU not what you DO because they already know the latter. That’s why personal essays aren’t resumes in essay format, they’re a glimpse into who the candidate is. Supplemental essays are supposed to do much of the same thing, reveal the person behind the stats. So if you haven’t mentioned ballet or your passion for case studies in your application, I think this is your sign to do it now.

Best of luck! I’m rooting for you!