Beware of Hidden Supplements

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Essay Writing

It’s hard to believe that the college application process is in full swing. School just started and the weather is still nice outside. But if you are a senior or live with a senior you know. You know. The chaos that can be the college process has likely taken over.

Well, here is one more thing to worry about (kidding…kind of): hidden supplements. You’ve likely heard that some colleges require additional essays as part of their application. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has three short supplemental essays. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has two. An important note: these are in addition to the Personal Statement, ie, the “big” essay that many colleges require. These “small” supplements often add up. If you’re applying to the average eight colleges, and let’s say you have two essays per school, that makes sixteen additional essays to write. Yikes.

One problem is the number of supplements a student may be required to write, but another issue is where and how to find them. Some colleges make it clear that they have a “writing supplement” and it has its own section in the Common Application or Coalition Application. However, other times they are “hidden” among the many questions asked by each college. And, to further complicate things, sometimes the supplemental essays only pop up when another question is answered. The college may ask what a student’s intended major is, and then an essay box appears that wasn’t there before asking the student to write about how and why they chose that major.

Our advice is fairly simple: When you add a college to the Common Application, take some time to answer the college-specific questions. That way you will see any supplemental essays. Take note of the supplements you will need to write and get started. Don’t delay! Even though the supplemental essays are typically shorter than the main essay it doesn’t mean they are less important.

If you want help with supplements, writing the main essay, or any step in the college admissions process, please reach out. We are happy to help.


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