A Sampling of 2013-2014 Supplemental Essays

Supplemental Essays are a crucial element in an application to a selective college. The personal statement may be well polished, but it does not gauge the student’s enthusiasm for any one college. Students who craft thoughtful responses to Supplemental Essay prompts demonstrate their applications’ sincerity. 

Here is a sampling of 2013-2014 Supplemental Essay prompts:


University of Chicago

Tell us your favorite joke and try to explain the joke without ruining it.


Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College students are engaged learners and “make a difference” both on and off campus through their academic and extracurricular activities. Describe a situation in which you have made a difference in your school or community and what you learned from that experience.


Harvey Mudd College

“Scientific research is a human endeavor. The choices of topics that we research are based on our biases, our beliefs, and what we bring: our cultures and our families. The kinds of problems that people put their talents to solving depends on their values.” – Dr. Clifton Poodry

How has your own background influenced the types of problems you want to solve?


Southern Methodist University

SMU appeals to students for a variety of reasons, including the strength of academic opportunities, small class sizes, sense of community, location and attractive campus. Please comment on how or why you feel these characteristics or others make SMU a good collegiate fit for you.


University of Virginia

If you were given funding for a small engineering project, what would you do? 


Whitman College

At Whitman we encourage a diverse array of opinions that pave the way for interesting and pertinent debate and discussion. In his Discourse on the Method: Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes observes, “there are few people who are willing to say everything they believe... because many do not know what they believe.” Describe an unpopular opinion you have had and why you stood (or stand) by it. 



If you could witness one moment in history, what would it be, and why?