Supplemental Essays Matter: view from someone who matters, an admission officer

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“A” students, who also happen to be college applicants, notoriously follow directions to the T. So, the lack of a rubric, standard, or other detailed set of directions for writing the college essays, beyond the confirmation bias of an acceptance letter is disconcerting to say the least. 

Seeking to reduce confusion, the following is an analysis of Sam Prince’s, Bard College Regional Admissions Officer, advice about writing the Common and Coalition Applications campus-specific essays. 

What students choose to say and how they say it helps admission readers like me envision them living and learning in this campus community.

Applicants should craft an argument defining how their character and aptitude aligns with the culture and opportunities the college or university provides. Thus, applicants would be prudent to research each institution, while also analyzing their reasons, assessing their motivation for requesting admissions. 

To further emphasize demonstrating one’s understanding of the campus to assert one’s worthiness as a candidate to join the college’s community, Mr. Prince warns: 

Don’t call a college a university…details matter.

Details matter, since many applicants are just one amongst many in record pools, so admissions officers can be more “choosey”, thus discriminating in conscientiously selecting those students who best understand their campus’ culture and community. 

No different than a teenager assessing their chances of rejection when asking someone on a date, college admissions officers seek to validate that a student is serious about accepting their acceptance

Finally, prudent applicants will develop the content of supplement essays within the context of their entire application, utilizing Mr. Price’s insights about the information he seeks when evaluating an application,  

When I read applications, I look for a story that is consistently told in all its pieces and parts.

Thus, students are wise to consider their college applications as a comprehensive story of their lives, where each section, including the essays, interconnects with the last, so that their character and experience is revealed by the end of the application, therefore proving that they indeed belong to the college/university for which they are applying.


For more information about how Creative Marbles experts can help students and parents navigate the complex college admissions and essay writing process, contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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