In addition to the Common App essay (also known as the “personal statement,”) many schools require their own school-specific essays, also known as supplemental essays. Colleges request these so they can get to know the student even better. If you’re working on your supplemental essays now, you’re almost at the finish line!
Some tips:
1. Know which of your colleges require supplements.  Essays can be found on the Common Application, Coalition Application, or institutional application. When you add a school to your list and fill in your major, the required Writing Requirements that you’ll need to answer will appear. This year, a few colleges have added supplemental essays to their application status portal after the student has submitted the application, so make sure to check your portals and your emails.
2. Read the essay prompt carefully. Some schools ask why you want to attend their college; others ask about a program or your planned major. Make sure you answer the specific question with the correct, nuanced answer.
3. Sell yourself. Use each essay to give the college a reason to want to admit you. Let them know what makes you special and how you will likely succeed. Even in a “Why ‘this college’ essay,” students can tell admissions something positive about themselves. Even in short statements of 10 words or fewer!
4. Avoid repeating information. In each essay, you must reveal something new. You can re-visit an activity you mentioned in another essay, but each essay must add something that can’t be found elsewhere in your app.
5. Do your homework. When a school asks why you want to attend, use specific details like courses and programs. Make sure everything you mention, including organizations, ties into your goals and interests. Also, know about the college’s priorities – from a distinct curriculum to community service engagement.
6. Get efficient and effective help. International College Counselors’ sister company Edit the Work can make essay writing easier by guiding students through what to write and how to write it effectively. They use a unique, personalized, and gentle approach that requires no worksheets nor other busy work. Writing counselors at Edit the Work also know what kind of information the colleges are looking for in the essays.
7. Stay within the word count. Many schools won’t let you submit essays which run over the word limit.
8. Write all optional essays. Even if a college says the essays are optional, you should treat them as though they’re really not. One exception is Duke University’s gender identity question.
For more information on how to best answer the supplemental essays or with any or all other parts of the college admissions process, visit or call 1-954-414-9986.


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