Writing the College Supplement…GET READY!


Throughout junior year, we experience extreme stress over grades and classes. Doing the ACT, SAT, focusing on your volunteer hours while looking at colleges to apply to senior year— it’s hectic.

There’s one part of the college application that one can be prepared for however: The Supplement Essay.

This supplemental submission allows colleges to discover “who you are” or “why you want to go to [their] university.” Even though the common app makes it possible for you to send the same essay to each college, some colleges require another essay—or five. Throughout the summer of junior year, while visiting colleges, it’s also a good idea to start your college essays. During senior year, the process can be crazy, and having essays prepared will be a huge relief to your future senior self.

BHS English teacher Mrs. Whalen told me, “When writing your essay, think about what’s missing about you from your transcript and application—and write about that.”


    • Make sure to make your essay about you; colleges want to know who you are and what you’ll contribute
    • Don’t lie; usually readers can tell if one’s lying, and if it’s too far-fetched, they’ll know
    • Don’t make it too long or too short. Essays should be straightforward and to the point. Delete anything unimportant, and if it’s too short and you can’t think of anything else to write, it’s probably not worth writing about
    • Answer the question. I was editing one of my friend’s college essays, and they never answered the question the college wanted.
    • Don’t use words you wouldn’t use in your daily language. If you use “alacrity” or “pejorative” in a sentence and pretend you talk like that, trust me—they’ll know you’re next to a thesaurus
    • Give it to one or two people to edit and proofread. Usually if you give your essay to more than a couple people you get too many criticisms that you don’t need. Don’t make yourself more confused than you need to be
    • Depending on what college you’re applying to, make sure to look at their website to see what they want in their essays, and how many essays they want
    • Don’t write about they’ll already know from your transcript
    • Don’t wait till the last minute!