How to Write the University of Virginia Supplemental Essays (2023)

How to Write the University of Virginia Supplemental Essays (1)


(click to skip ahead)
  • What are the UVA Supplemental Essay Prompts?
  • How to Write Each Supplemental Essay Prompt for The University of Virginia
    • How to Write the UVA Supplemental Essay Prompt #1
      • College of Arts and Sciences
      • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
      • School of Architecture
      • School of Nursing
      • Kinesiology Program
    • How to Write the UVA Supplemental Essay Prompt #2
      • Favorite Word
      • Quirks
      • Speak for an Hour
      • Happy Place
      • Expert-Level Skill
      • Gift
      • Website
      • Recharge After Challenging Experience
      • Place to Share/Keep Secret
      • Beta Bridge Message

The University of Virginia (UVA) is a popular choice for students who want it all—and that means you’ll have to make the most of your supplemental essays to set yourself apart. The challenge: distinguishing yourself in only two mid-length essays, and proving that you are the right person to take advantage of what the University of Virginia has to offer despite no obvious “Why us?” prompt.

You’ll find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at UVA’s offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information on its Common Data Set. For deep insights into how this university envisions its role and how it wants to grow and evolve, read its academic strategic plan. Reading through this will give you a strong idea of what UVA values.

If you’re up to the challenge, the tips and examples below will help you make the most of UVA’s two supplemental essay prompts.

What are the UVA supplemental essay prompts?

Prompt #1

The first prompt is still tied to the UVA school or college the student selects. We want students to answer the prompt in around 100 words. As always, the boxes on the Common App allow students to go a bit over, so we don't expect students to write exactly 100 words.

College of Arts and Sciences

If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why?

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better?

School of Architecture

Describe significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.

School of Nursing

Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing.

Kinesiology Program

Describe an experience that has deepened your interest in studying kinesiology.

Prompt #2

Answer two of the following questions in roughly 50 words:

  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. * What is one of your quirks?
  • About what topic could you speak for an hour?
  • Take us to your happy place.
  • You can wake up tomorrow and a skill you already have will become expert-level. What skill is that?
  • What is the last gift you gave someone that wasn’t bought with money?
  • What website is the internet missing?
  • After a challenging experience, how do you recharge?
  • Tell us about a place you’d like to share with everyone, but also keep to yourself.
  • UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
  • Tell us about a time when, faced with an opinion or perspective that differed from your own, you responded as an empathetic speaker or a generous listener.

How to Write Each Supplemental Essay Prompt for University of Virginia

How to Write the UVA Supplemental Essay Prompt #1

We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, The first prompt is still tied to the UVA school or college the student selects. We want students to answer the prompt in around 100 words. As always, the boxes on the Common App allow students to go a bit over, so we don't expect students to write exactly 100 words.

College of Arts and Sciences

If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why? (100 words)

This prompt is inviting you to be creative. Don’t sift through the UVA course catalog and describe a class that already exists—this is your chance to invent something new! You don’t have a ton of space, but this is a chance to show off what you know and what you care about.

Here’s some general advice to get you started:

General Tip #1: If you have trouble coming up with an idea, brainstorm a list of things you love and another list of things you know a lot about. Where’s there overlap? Do any of these things excite you?

General Tip #2: Give your course an interesting name. (Politicizing Beyoncé, anyone? That was a real Rutgers course, btw.) Does your title sound like a class you’d actually sign up for? Remember that the name you choose is your first chance to hook your reader. Make it as memorable as you can.

General Tip #3: Think outside the box! There’s a popular class at UVA called Dracula—you get to dive into the origins of vampires in Slavic folklore and Western misperceptions of vampirism. So really, you can take this wherever you want! Just be sure, if you choose a quirky topic, to strike a balance between intellectual and fun. This should still be a believable academic course.

General Tip #4: Finally, think about your application as a whole—what is UVA seeing between your main statement, activities list, additional info, and the first supplement? And what is it not seeing? Is there a way you can use this prompt to show interests, skills, and values that school officials would otherwise miss?

This is a new prompt for UVA, but this example, written for another school, would work nicely:

Example 1:

My dream HSA class is “The Art of Nomenclature: Who Am I?” I have always loved naming things, from my stuffed toys to my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Fudge.

I want to learn the origin of names. Mine is easy: Grace means mercy, peace, elegance. But what about more complex names, such as Constantine, Genevieve, and Imogen? What are the meanings of those names? And why did Beyonce name her daughter Blue Ivy?

At HMC, I would love to explore the cultural significance behind our names. This class would allow students to delve deeper into their own identity.

— — —

Tips + Analysis:

1) Use the course title to hook your reader. This one makes you want to keep reading. It’s not too long, and it uses the colon to separate an academic topic (“The Art of Nomenclature”) with a more basic/understandable direction for the course (“Who Am I”).

(Video) #Transizion UVA Supplemental Essays: How to Write Them!

2) Show off what you know. Don’t be afraid to use some “geeky” language to show content-area knowledge, or to name specific authors or thought leaders (just don’t overdo it, as that risks alienating your audience). The author name-dropping and then deciphering her own name is a total power move here. And it truly can never hurt to pop in a little “Beyoncé” like this author does later on.

3) Make it meaningful. This student ultimately argues that studying the origin and cultural significance of names would be a way to better understand one’s own identity. The “so what?” moment comes at the very end, though, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t run out of space before you’ve given your course a strong sense of purpose.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better? (100 words)

If you’re applying to UVA, you’ve likely already made an impact on your school, family, and community. Now it’s time to think beyond the four corners of your resume and consider how you’ll use your past to shape your future. This prompt fast-forwards you to after you’ve gotten your engineering degree from UVA. How will the post-UVA you take what you’ve learned in college and use it to make a splash in the real world?

UVA clearly doesn’t want just students on its campus—admission officials want critical thinkers and changemakers. Do you want to lead the charge for environmentally-sustainable infrastructure that caters to human-centered design processes? Then your response might outline how the courses you take, the research you do, and the company you keep throughout your time at UVA will help you make this happen. And remember, because this prompt is engineering degree-specific. Try to focus specifically on the skills you would gain and experiences you would have in that particular program.

Again, this prompt is new, but the example below, which was originally written for another school, works well here. Just note that it’s a bit longer than the 100-word limit so it would have to be cut down to be used in the UVA application.


“We need to rediscover how to be sustainable. To move from being apart from nature to becoming a part of nature once again.” David Attenborough’s words from “A Life on Our Planet” ring true, especially when it comes to urbanism. Humans are headed down an unsustainable path, and how we deal with the challenge of restoring and improving urban infrastructure will shape our world for lifetimes to come.

It takes visionaries to imagine a world where humans don’t take more than they can give. I am inspired by Bjarke Ingels Group’s project CopenHill, an impressive architectural and engineering feat that transformed a waste plant into a recreational hub and urban landmark. Copenhagen has an ambitious goal of becoming the first net-zero carbon emissions city, and thinkers like Ingels are helping blaze an exemplary trail towards achieving sustainability.

When I was 12, I visited the Los Angeles Hyperloop One facility. There, I learned about the potential for a new kind of transportation, the Hyperloop—mind-blowingly fast, energy-efficient, and oh-so-futuristic. I was enthralled by the prospect of cleaner cities with fewer cars and more public transportation, and imagined the possibilities Hyperloop could offer for alleviating LA’s traffic problem. Ideas like Hyperloop expand the definition of urban infrastructure and sustainability, breaking the mold of what seems possible.

Right now, Earth is at a tipping point. I believe that the steps engineers take to address urban infrastructure can tip the balance in the right direction, and help humanity recover from the problems we’ve created.

— — —

Tips + Analysis:

  1. Reference personal experience. This author does a great job of drawing us in by referring back to specific experiences, like her visit to the LA Hyperloop One facility. Drawing on memories and anecdotes like this is a great way to show your interest in some specific part of engineering without saying it explicitly. Very few people can say they’ve had exactly the same experience and reflections as the author when she visited LA, immediately allowing her to set herself apart from other applicants.

  2. Envision a visceral future. This author doesn’t just tell us what she wants to do with her engineering degree, she describes impressive architectural/engineering projects that inspire her. By talking about Bjarke Ingels’ Copenhill, she gives her readers a physical reference point as to what she hopes to achieve after graduating from UVA. Maybe the reader doesn’t know exactly what Copenhill is, but they can easily look it up and get a sense of this author’s aesthetic sensibility and environmental sensitivity.

  3. Explain your impact. Remember, this prompt is asking you to talk about how what you’re doing could change “the world.” At first glance, that’s very intimidating and a massive scale to be thinking about in a 100-word essay. But notice how this author uses her last paragraph to address her impact in more grandiose language. She does a good job of spending most of her essay on her specific experiences, then loops back to answer the question of “so what?” at the very end by talking about climate change and preventing an environmental crisis through engineering. Of course, this is big, lofty stuff that a lot of people could write, so really don’t spend more than 1-2 sentences on this “how am I going to change the world” aspect of the question. The answer to that will become more than clear in your specific examples.

School of Architecture

Describe a significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.
(100 words)

Unfortunately we don’t have an example yet, as this prompt is new!

Tips for this prompt:

  1. Highlight an experience that allows you to show how much you know about architecture. Maybe your internship at a LEED architectural firm awoke in you a fascination with sustainable construction strategies. Or a family trip that took in a tour of Antebellum plantations in the South gave you a new perspective on the nation’s complex history. Or it could be that your creative energies were inspired by Jefferson’s Monticello or Frank Gehry’s desconstructivist movement. Whatever the experience (and yes, it should be just one), try to choose one that allows you to show the expertise you’ve built up, not just in architecture in general, but perhaps in a specific focus area. Being as detailed as possible will allow you to flex your knowledge—and make your essay more memorable to the reader. Along those same lines ...

  2. Use domain-specific vocabulary. Don’t hesitate to use a word that someone outside of the architecture and design worlds won’t know (as long as you’re using it correctly).

  3. Demonstrate the kind of viewer and thinker you are by providing a present-tense window into your thoughts. Consider: In what ways did this experience challenge your preconceived notions? Why did it make you even more interested in architecture as a discipline? What revelations surprised you? Writing out the questions you asked yourself along the way and describing how you arrived at answers will allow you to showcase the thoughtful and critical way you see the world.

  4. Take it one step further. How did this experience change your understanding of architecture or design (if it did)? How might it inform your own creative process? And (bonus points) what is one specific program, class, or professor at UVA that will allow that new understanding to flourish?

School of Nursing

Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying nursing.(100 words)

There are two routes to go with this supplement:

  1. Have you had a meaningful experience in health care (an internship, extended shadowing opportunity, or job)?

    If so, describe the work you did as a part of that experience and the skills you took away. Then describe the questions you left the experience with and how you hope to answer those questions at the University of Virginia. Think of this as an extracurricular essay that segues into a “Why us?” essay.

  2. Have you not had that chance yet?

Totally fair—you’re still in high school! If you haven’t had the kind of health care experience detailed above, this can be a piece about purpose. Share your “why” by means of an anecdote that describes a quality that will one day serve you in nursing. Want a list of qualities that might serve you in nursing? Click here.

As far as how to write the essay, begin by dropping right into the story and include strong details that engage the reader. Keep the anecdote brief, since you want to save as many words as possible to tackle what you took away from the experience, and what drives you to enter the healthcare field as a nurse.

This route also facilitates a small “Why us?” moment—what’s one UVA-specific program or opportunity that connects to your reason for pursuing nursing? How does UVA’s approach to nursing resonate with what nursing means to you?

Kinesiology Program

Describe an experience that has deepened your interest in studying kinesiology. (100 words)

This is basically a “Why major” essay. You’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing this essay at this link. Head over there and use that guide to brainstorm and outline your essay.

How to Write UVA Supplemental Essay #2 + Example

Answer two of the following questions in roughly 50 words:

Option 1: What’s your favorite word and why?

Choosing a Topic

This is one of our favorite supplement prompts because there are so many different approaches, and that open-endedness means you can be strategic with what you choose to write about.

Take a look at your personal statement and first UVA supplement. What’s a value, area of expertise, or extracurricular experience that you haven’t highlighted yet? What word could help you show that side of you?

Here are some great examples:

Example 1: Because

“Because” is a word that requires its user to provide reasons for the claims they make. As a mathematician, “because” opens up the underlying logic of mathematical processes. As a scientist, “because” is how you earn people’s trust. Every scientist can claim something to be true, but unless there is sufficient evidence to provide for the “because” of their claim, no one will fully place their faith in them and their words, and discoveries, will remain in a vacuum. As a historian, “because” highlights the cause and effect of historical events, and can help us learn from our mistakes. In English class, “because” pushes us to support the inferences we make with evidence, which is something that we can only find by digging for a deeper meaning in the rhetorical tools used in literature.

When our actions hurt others and we explain ourselves, finding the “because” of those actions is a chance to discover what motivates us to act and what our needs are. Trying to understand another person’s “because” requires empathy and putting ourselves in the shoes of others. I believe that everyone has to make choices in their lives, but despite the outcomes, what matters most is that everyone has self awareness and empathy to provide for the “because” of their actions.

Whether scientific or historical, academic or empathetic, “because” is a word that allows people to dive deeper into the ocean full of information, rather than just skimming the surface.

— — —

Tips + Analysis:

  1. Highlight the word’s various meanings and connotations. This author’s choice of a familiar word works here because she ties it to a range of different values through academic contexts (science → trust, history → growth, English → reason). She then pivots to a non-academic understanding of her word, allowing her to demonstrate the values of empathy and understanding. Here are some more questions to think about to help you write about a word’s meanings:

    1. Does the word capture a distinct feeling you weren’t able to describe without it?

    2. Does the word mean something different to you than it does to others?

    3. Has your understanding of this word’s meaning changed over time?

    Not only can you showcase different values and interests this way, but it also communicates that you appreciate the complexity and nuance of language—just the kind of student UVA will want on their campus.

  2. If useful, share where you learned the word. Did you learn it on your own? Was it taught to you as part of a program or internship? Is it tied to a distinct memory? Sharing where you first heard a word or where you learned the word can be a chance to highlight an academic or extracurricular experience you’ve had that hasn’t come up in your personal statement or first UVA supplement. It can also provide the chance to discuss a meaningful memory or relationship to add context to your application.

  3. Perhaps discuss the word’s etymology. Where does this word come from? Is it a result of two cultures coming together? Is it a new spelling of an older word? Does this word tie you to your past? Highlighting a word’s etymology can be a chance to share your value of family, history, or culture. In the excerpt below, the student below uses this approach with great success:

Example 2: Ineamul


n. Family who shares not the blood in your veins, but the love that runs through them; people you would lend anything to.

Origin: Romanian. ‘Inimă’ meaning ‘heart’. ‘Neamul’ meaning ‘kinfolk’.

More important than the six boxes of possessions they brought to America, my parents carried where they came from. Together with other Romanian immigrants, they created a tight-knit community, who called themselves the Gașcă. Crammed into a barren apartment, they exchanged encouragement on everything from bizarre American social customs to picking up enough English from Discovery Channel to buy a car.

Though I have no relatives here besides my parents, I have something just as powerful in the family of the Gașcă. It’s why I welcome in the New Year reciting verses from “plugușorul” and why I dance the “hora”, arms linked in cheering circles of my ineamul. It’s why I grew up sharing home-baked “cozonac” and a Romanian-American adolescence with twenty-three siblings. It’s why we gather around late-night campfires to sing about trains that smell like garlic and tell stories of home.

My heritage is also why I grew up hearing about Ceaușescu’s cult of personality and the police brutality my ineamul witnessed in the 1989 revolution. Here in America, I recognize similar veins of corruption and injustice; more insidious forms of those that drove the Romanian uprising. Seeing crises met with inaction has galvanized me to speak out loudly against what these broken systems, from the fossil fuel industry to the prison-industrial complex, try to keep quiet.

(note that this example is for a made-up word)

— — —

Tips + Analysis

This student goes on to share how Romanian heritage has shaped her and other places that “Inaemul” has shown up in her life. By starting with the word’s etymology, she gets to share meaningful cultural heritage that wasn’t captured elsewhere on the application.

Whether you choose a word for its history, its meanings, its uses, or its connection to a meaningful experience of yours, this supplement can add depth to your application by highlighting values and experiences that aren’t discussed elsewhere.

Option 2: We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. What is one of your quirks?

Choosing a Topic:

Do you self-identify as quirky? Weird? Something similar? This prompt gives you a chance to let your freak-flag fly.

If you read this prompt and a whole list of quirks popped into your head, write those down (and include the fact that you constantly make lists in your head).

  1. Ask yourself, what values do these quirks represent? What interests of mine might they be connected with? If you developed a secret code that you take your class notes in, does that express a value of privacy? An interest in war-time codes? A desire to learn world languages? If you’re constantly playing or practicing the drums on any available surface, what value does that suggest? An interest in the underlying rhythms of life—including sleep patterns and news cycles?

  2. Another way to attack this supplement is to reverse-engineer it. What are some values or interests you want to highlight? Once you have a few in mind, ask yourself: “In what strange ways does each value or interest show up for me?” Perhaps you value conservation, and as a result you save all the trash you generate each week to get a better understanding of the waste you create.

Here’s a sample essay:


I love asking questions.

Imagine yourself as a high schooler again, sitting idly as your biology teacher drones on about how your body communicates with itself. This might seem boring for most, but not to me. We all know about the nervous and endocrine system, but I’ll dig deeper for specific answers, staying after class to chat for hours. I’ll ask how external particles interact with the olfactory complex and how our brain interprets these signals, allowing us to sense smell. I could pursue these conversations endlessly; I believe that learning goes beyond mere practical application.

This questioning is not exclusive to biology, however. I’ll ask my history teacher about the development of media over time and its effect on social and political events, or discuss with my Mandarin teacher the cultural differences among the many dialects of the Chinese language. I’ll even postulate non-academic questions on my own or with classmates on everything from politics to philosophy to yesterday’s football game.

And sure, I love finding answers to my questions, but sometimes the best questions are unanswerable. No one knows the meaning of life, if aliens really exist, or why phonetic isn’t spelled the way it sounds. Toying with these questions leads to long discussions with friends, and while a conclusion may not be found, it is far from time wasted.

As satisfying as it feels to answer a question, the mystery of not knowing can be even better.

— — —

Tips + Analysis

  1. State your quirk clearly and, perhaps, early. Maybe in the first sentence. Maybe it’s even offset as its own paragraph? This student makes sure the first part of the prompt is satisfied right off the bat. If you’re having trouble stating your quirk clearly, that might mean it’s not a quirk at all. A strong quirk is unique, succinct, and will make someone think, “I want to hear more about that…”

  2. Give clear examples of your quirk in action. Even though this isn’t the quirkiest of quirks, the author packs his writing full of clear applications. In biology class, in history class, in Mandarin class, with friends, alone, we see how this quirk comes to life in a wide range of contexts. Where does your quirk show up in your life? Where is it an asset? A hindrance? Once you’ve got some strong examples...

  3. Connect your quirk to values. You want this supplement to showcase your perspectives and values. This student uses his final two paragraphs to make an unexpected pivot—his quirk isn’t just an expression of his values of knowledge and learning, but also values of conversation, mystery, and comfort with the unknown.

Option 3: About what topic could you speak for an hour?

Choosing a Topic

Here’s a chance to nerd out about something you know a lot about. The best topics are ones that also excite you. What’s a topic that—when someone brings it up—lights you up? If you’re having trouble thinking of a topic on your own, ask yourself: What would be the topic of my TED talk? Don’t feel pressure to make it a super academic or serious topic, so long as you demonstrate the kind of thinker you are, and the type of perspective you will bring to the University of Virginia campus, you’ll be able to set yourself apart.

Want some ideas? Here’s a spreadsheet listing every single TED talk ever.

Here’s a longer example that you can use as inspiration:


(Video) University of Virginia Admissions Supplemental Essays: Advice from Dean J (UVA Admissions)- Part 3

Within the next fifty years, our generation will face the long-term impact of the mass-produced food industry. Nine billion animals are slaughtered each year in the U.S. for food, a number that will grow exponentially as the global population increases in the upcoming decades. Many factory farms pollute the environment near them with toxins, and expedite climate change through the use crop feeds grown from nitrate fertilizers sourced from oil.

As a vegetarian, but also someone who once loved the taste of meat and understands the vegetarian/vegan path is not the right choice for everyone, I am passionate about learning more about this topic and finding common ground. If we can return to producing meat in a more local, sustainable way, I believe we can slow climate change, curtail outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, and ameliorate the health of Americans. (141 words)

— — —

Tips + Analysis

  1. Raise the stakes. From the very beginning of this example, the author paints a pretty dire picture of what the world will look like if we don’t start changing the way we eat. He also makes it clear that the negative impacts are already happening and will continue to happen if we don’t take action. By starting in this way, we get a clear sense of why this topic matters and why we should care too.

  2. But don’t take too long to get to your topic. Make sure the reader knows what your topic quickly. A little bit of suspense can heighten interest. Too much and that interest may evaporate.

  3. Demonstrate your knowledge. Notice how the author cites specific statistics about the mass-produced food industry to give a sense of how bad the situation is right now. Not only does this compel readers to care, it also clues us in to how well-versed the author is on this topic. Clearly, he knows his stuff.

  4. Embrace nuance, avoid being dogmatic. Part of what makes this essay so endearing and easy to relate to is that it acknowledges the vegan/vegetarian path isn’t for everyone. The author makes it clear that they enjoy meat too and want to find alternative solutions to completely eliminating meat from their diet. This acknowledgement makes the reader relatable and also shows a degree of flexibility and compassion that speaks to his maturity.

To Take Things to the Next Level, You Might Try Describing ...

  1. A Flash Seminar that puts two surprising texts in conversation on a certain topic. Maybe “Hermione Granger and The Salem Witches—How a history of persecution has crafted the modern magic woman.” This approach will demonstrate that you are capable of interdisciplinary thinking.

  2. A Flash Seminar that applies a distinct lens to a text you cherish. Perhaps a reading of The Lord of the Rings through the lens of Consumerism. Or a feminist viewing of Frozen 2. This approach will demonstrate that you are able to place texts in the context of philosophy and academic theory.

  3. A Flash Seminar that might bring awareness to a topic you know well and that would benefit those who attended. Perhaps “How to use the principles of Tae Kwon Do to lead a more centered life.”

Pro Tip: If you’re applying to the School of Arts and Sciences, consider avoiding this prompt as both prompts tackle how you view and make sense of texts and ideas, so it may end up similar to your first supplement. If you can make them different enough from one another, though, go for it!

Option 4: Take us to your happy place.

This is a super short prompt and wide open in terms of the directions you can take it. Ultimately, the key here is to actually choose something that makes you happy. Don’t choose a place based on a sense of obligation. It’s OK if your happy place is something a little weird or out of the box, as long as it speaks to your core values. It can be helpful to first try and break down the word “happy.” That’s such a broad emotion, and it can look differently for different people. Maybe for you, happiness is financial stability and comfort. Perhaps it’s a feeling of spontaneity and adventure. Those answers are both valid but both lead to drastically different responses. Before you start writing, figure out your own personal definition of “happy.”

And remember that the prompt is quite literally asking you to “take us to your happy place.” That means you should try to engage all five senses in your answer. Try to literally place your reader in your shoes, allowing them to soak in all the feelings you might have in the place you choose. It doesn’t have to be a specific location. It could be a state of mind, a relationship with an important person, or even a mundane activity—anything that brings you joy. In fact, choosing a less stereotypically “happy place” might lead to a more unique response.

Option 5: You can wake up tomorrow and a skill you already have will become expert-level. What skill is that?

For this prompt, remember to think expansively about what is a “skill.” Being able to eat 20 hotdogs in one sitting might be a totally valid response here if you can justify it in a way that connects to your values. Maybe having a greater stomach capacity means you can spend more time with your family at the dinner table or would allow you to create community through competitive eating events. OK, so maybe this example feels a little ridiculous, but you get the point.

Here’s another (potentially more realistic, but equally funny) one:


Flexibility. Not symbolically. Literally. Inflexibility runs in the family (Dad’s side–Mom was a ballet dancer, go figure). One time a doctor literally prescribed me stretches. I was there for a cold. It’d help me develop as a dancer and not get the lowest score on the sit and reach. (49 words)

– – –

Tips + Analysis:

  1. Have fun with it. You only have 50 words, so don’t try to get way too deep in your answer here. That doesn’t mean you have to shy away from more serious topics than flexibility (don’t try to be funny if it’s not coming naturally!), but this is a great example of how you can keep things short and sweet while still giving a sense of how you think.

  2. Use sentence fragments. Seriously. You don’t have enough room for more than, like, 1-2 sentences here, so might as well disregard the rules of grammar just a bit to help fit in more info. This author makes every word count, using sentence fragments to create a dry, witty tone that speaks to her sense of humor.

  3. Emphasize your values through both form and content. While the structure and formatting of the answer speaks to the author’s wry sense of humor, she also manages to fit in some details about her being a dancer towards the end. In about 50 words, this is the most you can ask for. Try using the style of your answer to reflect one value and the content to reflect another so you can cover as much ground as possible despite the tiny word count.

Option 6: What is the last gift you gave someone that wasn’t bought with money?

This is a fun one, with a lot of potential to think creatively. Again, as with a lot of these questions, you really want to break down the prompt definitionally. A gift can mean a lot of different things for different people. Perhaps that stranger who smiled at you in the subway when you were having a tough day was the best gift you’ve gotten in a while. For another, it might be something more tangible like a heartfelt poem or card. A great way to think through this is to take the Love Language Quiz and see what your results are. After you’ve narrowed down the ways you give and receive love, you can focus on what’s really been important to you in relation to others.

Option 7: What website is the internet missing?

OK, to be totally fair, the internet already has wayyyy too much going on, and there’s probably a website for most things generally. That being said, the more specific you can get here, the less likely there is a website that exactly matches your description. The best tip we can give you here is to start with a topic you’re interested in and then try to break it down into smaller, specific components. Maybe you’re into The Simpsons. Well maybe you’re specifically interested in Lisa, the sister character. What are you interested in about Lisa? Well, perhaps it’s her persona as a strong, female character within a male-dominated franchise. OK, so maybe your website becomes an alternate universe in which Lisa is the main character in the Simpsons and it becomes a forum for discussing how that would change the basic premise of different episodes.

Okay, deep breath.

Get nerdy, get specific. You get the idea.

Option 8: After a challenging experience, how do you recharge?

This one is pretty straightforward. If it helps, try to think of a recent challenge and then consider what helped you overcome it. In some ways, this is a super-duper condensed version of the Narrative Essay. Try out the Feelings and Needs Exercise and pay special attention to your “Needs” and “What I Did About It” columns. This will help clue you into the ways in which you problem-solve or relax.

Option 9: Tell us about a place you’d like to share with everyone, but also keep to yourself.

(Video) University of Virginia Admissions Supplemental Essays: Advice from Dean J (UVA Admissions)- Part 2

Remember, a “place” can be more than a physical location, even though that often tends to be what the word evokes. Before you start writing, spend some time jotting down a bunch of spaces, mindsets, identities, communities, or locations you enjoy for some reason or another. It might be helpful to take a look at our tips on how to brainstorm the Community Essay just to help you figure out what place you might like to write about. And remember, in your answer, make sure to address both parts of the question. Why would you want to share it, and why would you want to keep it to yourself? For instance, sharing a space/community rooted around a particular part of your identity might be good to share because it would make it more inclusive, but it also might be something you want to keep for yourself because it’s rooted in a particular life experience that you and other members have, which is special.

Option 10: UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

With only 50 words, start off right away with your message. And make the message concise. You want to devote most of your time to actually explaining why you painted the message, not just painting it on the metaphorical wall. Maybe spend some time looking up Beta Bridge and getting a sense of what it means to the community as well as what others have written on it in the past. And remember, with something as visual as painting, it’s not just the words you write but the way you write them. What colors would you use? Where would you write it? Of course, all of these choices need to be backed up with a justification or meaning. Don’t just write things to fill space—really think through something you care about.

Here’s a much longer example for another prompt that gives you a sense of how you could answer this question:


Give Homes Give Love Give Knowledge

“They shouldn’t be here.” This is a statement I hear a lot when visiting my mom’s side of the family. They all immigrated from Iraq–some legally, others not. Yet, when it comes to the immigration issue in the United States, they look down on refugees crossing the border out of desperation or protection. The first time I heard my immigrant relatives talk about other immigrants that way, it is not hard to understand how confused I was.

I have grown up in a very liberal household and an overall liberal environment. This has shaped the way that I view the world and I believe that immigrants should have refuge. The second time I heard a family member mention “the Mexicans taking their jobs,” I decided to start a conversation about it. I learned that my family’s views were based on reports from Fox News. When I tried to explain Fox News’ inherent biases, I was immediately shut down and told to “go play with the kids.”

The experience opened my eyes to see that a whole group of people, regardless of their own shared experience with those in the news, can choose to believe and follow political stances based on limited and flawed information. I am committed to staying educated as a voter in the next election and doing whatever I can to help educate my community before any of us make decisions based on fabricated ideas. (243 words)

– – –

Tips + Analysis:

  1. Be explicit about what you would write. Because this example is answering a different iteration of the prompt, the author doesn’t say what he would actually write on the wall. He spends more time explaining the power of words in relation to specific quotes people have said to him throughout his life. For your answer, get right to what you’d write, then think of this example more as a blueprint for how to answer the “why?” part of the question.

  2. Get specific. With a short message on a bridge, it can be easy to speak in broad terms or generalizations. Try to provide some nuance in your answer, even if your message itself is a bit more vague. This author provides specific quotes and experiences with family members who refuse to engage with him on the topic of fake news, making him a more compelling, unique applicant.

  3. Look to the future. A great way to approach this prompt is to think about what you hope other people will gain from your message should they see it in the future. Think about the effect you’d like to have on someone and how they’d walk away from your message feeling. This author is clearly interested in the harms of fake news and is seeking to make people in their community aware of this issue and their intended effect. Try to incorporate into your message a sense of where you’re going.

Option 11: Tell us about a time when, faced with an opinion or perspective that differed from your own, you responded as an empathetic speaker or a generous listener.

We think it’s important to keep in mind that the goal of this prompt (from your admission reader’s perspective) is to see how you engage with diverse and/or/probably challenging perspectives. When you’re in college, whether in classrooms or in the campus community, you’re virtually guaranteed to encounter ideas, beliefs, and world views that differ (perhaps greatly) from your own—show that you’re ready to engage with those moments of conflict in a healthy, productive way.

To that end, since you only have 50 words here, try to set up the conflict in as few words as reasonably possible, so you can devote a good chunk of your word count to what you did in response and what you learned from the experience. Use that structural approach to shape your brainstorming—what experiences can show how you are an empathetic speaker or a generous listener?

We don’t have an example written for UVA’s version of this prompt, but several other schools have added similar prompts in recent years, so we’ll give you an example that would also work nicely here (though it would have to be cut down some for word count—those cuts would focus far more on the first half than the second in this case).


I probably argue with my grandfather more than I do with most other people combined. It’s not because we’re at odds. We just have different perspectives, influenced by our experiences—his as a life-long resident of India, mine as a first-generation American.

One pretty common argument we have is over Eastern vs. Western medicine. My solution to a headache, for example, is to take Advil. His is to rub Tiger Balm on his forehead and coconut oil on the soles of his feet. I try to convince him of the benefits of taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, describing how it can reduce inflammation by blocking the production of certain chemicals. He tries to convince me that the balm creates a cooling effect, distracting the brain from pain and relaxing the muscles. Rather than becoming sore at or resentful of each other, we’ve grown closer through these debates, and I’ve learned how to disagree without letting the situation get acrimonious.

Through these interactions, I’ve learned that a discussion shouldn’t be confrontational. The purpose isn’t to win, but to share my knowledge with the other party and learn from them as well. So rather than saying, “Rubbing balm on your forehead is stupid; you should just take Advil,” I say, “While rubbing balm on your forehead seems to work, I’ve noticed that taking an Advil has a stronger and more immediate effect.” Respecting the opposing party makes them more willing to hear you out.

I’ve also learned there’s a fine line between logic and emotion. I try not to take personally the things my grandfather says in an argument. Just because he doesn’t think taking Advil is the better solution doesn’t mean he thinks I’m stupid. If I take it that way, we begin to move away from what the argument really was about—the facts.

I’ll continue to apply these learnings in discussions and debates I have with others, realizing that having a “successful argument” isn’t about winning. It’s about sharing my opinion and learning from theirs, expanding our perspectives without alienating each other.

– – –

Tips + Analysis:

  1. Show how you engage. Again, the prompt’s phrasing (empathetic speaker or generous listener) is a great guide here, and this student does a nice job using both showing and telling phrasing and details (like So rather than saying, “Rubbing balm on your forehead is stupid; you should just take Advil,” I say, “While rubbing balm on your forehead seems to work, I’ve noticed that taking an Advil has a stronger and more immediate effect.”) to communicate how they have grown as a listener, and the insights they’ve gained that will help them continue to engage in a healthy, productive way.

  2. Show us what you’ve learned. Speaking of insight, this student does a nice job offering a few different moments (e.g. Respecting the opposing party makes them more willing to hear you out or Just because he doesn’t think taking Advil is the better solution doesn’t mean he thinks I’m stupid. If I take it that way, we begin to move away from what the argument really was about—the facts or having a “successful argument” isn’t about winning. It’s about sharing my opinion and learning from theirs, expanding our perspectives without alienating each other) where they directly tell us what insight they’ve gained. These moments help readers understand how you’ll be an active, valuable member of the campus community.

  3. Use clear structure (And how it could be cut): The version above was written for an older Princeton prompt that asked a very similar question, but obviously had a much larger word count. To make the above fit UVA’s word count, the writer would likely want to cut/condense the first section especially (notice, for example, that while the second paragraph is great, it doesn’t really help to answer the prompt nearly as much as the later paragraphs do. In fact, this writer could probably condense the first paragraph to a single sentence, cut the second paragraph entirely, and revise/condense a couple pieces from the latter third of the essay and be pretty close to set.

Special thanks to Luci Jones for contributing to this post.

How to Write the University of Virginia Supplemental Essays (2)

Luci is an audiophile and storyteller with a love of all things radio and writing. In the wild, you might catch her struggling through a NY Times crossword puzzle, snuggling her abnormally fluffy dog Oreo, or saying her favorite expression “cool beans.” Crosswords, cute dogs, cool beans. What more could you ask for?

Top values: Interpersonal connections | humor | openness to new experience


Create amazing supplemental essays for the most selective schools, polish your activities list, and complete everything else with ease and joy.



Watch the lessons on your own or via the live option.

(Video) UVA Supplemental Essays 31 January 2022

(Video) Revealing my UVA essay! (college essay)


How do I approach a UVA supplemental essay? ›

As you approach the UVA supplemental essays, you should think less about the actual word you choose and more about what this choice of word reveals about you. In other words, think about words that are unique, appropriate, and significant to you. Don't choose a word just because it will stand out.

Does University of Virginia require a supplemental essay? ›

UVA requires two supplemental essays, each with a maximum of 250 words.

How long should UVA supplemental essays be? ›

We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists. Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words.

How do you write a 2022 UVA essay? ›

In terms of writing your essay, you want to make it clear what your word is without directly saying “my favorite word is _____.”; always start your essay with an interesting opener and a thoughtful conclusion. Since the essay is short at 50 words, you want to be very straightforward without being too stale or obvious.

What should you not do in a supplemental essay? ›

Supplemental Essay Mistakes: Common Errors to Avoid
  • Not Conducting Enough School-Specific Research.
  • Don't Forget to Write About You.
  • Repeating Your Personal Statement or Activities List.
  • Not Answering What the Question Has Asked For—And Wasting Words in the Process.
  • Not Leaving Enough Time to Work on Them.
5 Oct 2021

What should not be in a supplemental essay? ›

What not to do in your college application essay: 10 things you should always avoid
  1. Never rehash your academic and extracurricular accomplishments.
  2. Never write about a "topic"
  3. Never start with a preamble.
  4. Never end with a “happily ever after” conclusion.
  5. Never pontificate.
  6. Never retreat into your thoughts.
  7. Never hold back.
22 Jul 2021

Does University of Virginia give full rides? ›

We meet 100% of financial need.

UVA meets the demonstrated financial need for all in-state and out-of-state students applying by the annual March 1st deadline, through a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study and need-based loans.

What is UVA acceptance rate? ›

What is UVA out-of-state acceptance rate? ›

Regular Decision Admit Rate: 16.4% (20% in-state admit rate, 15% out-of-state admit rate)

Does UVA prefer DE or AP? ›

Does UVA prefer AP, IB, Cambridge or dual enrolled curricula? We do not have a preference for one type of course. We suggest that students take advantage of advanced course options at their high school, regardless of the type of curriculum available.

Can you go over the word limit for a supplemental essay? ›

Some application portals will allow you to exceed the word count limit, but admissions officers have limited time and energy to read longer essays. Other application portals have a strict limit and will not allow you to exceed it.

Can you go over the word limit for a college supplemental essay? ›

If you go substantially past the word limit, you risk having your essay cut off by an online application form or having the admissions officer just not finish it. And if you're too far under the word limit, you may not be elaborating enough.

How much do UVA essays matter? ›

UVA requires you to submit school-specific supplemental essays so they can get to know the parts of you that don't show through a typical college application. These essays are often one of the ways that admissions committees make their final decisions.

Does UVA prefer IB or AP? ›

We do not have a preference for one type of course. We suggest that students take advantage of advanced course options at their high school, regardless of the type of curriculum available.

Does UVA have supplemental essays 2023? ›

The University of Virginia has released its 2022-2023 application essays. Applicants to the UVA Class of 2027 will be asked to complete three essays in total on the UVA supplement to The Common Application. The first essay should be about 100 words in total. The second and third essays should be about 50 words each.

Is it OK to talk about depression in a college essay? ›

It is okay to write about mental illness and Depression in your college essay as long as it proves that you're a suitable student. Thus, you should be asking yourself, “how does my experience with mental illness or Depression make me a strong candidate?”

Should I write about trauma in my college essay? ›

First, there is no empirical evidence to recommend against it. Second, traumatic experiences are huge sources of personal meaning and significance, and it would be sad if you couldn't use your writing as a tool for processing your experience. Third, meaningful essays = good essays = stronger applications.

Should supplemental essays have a hook? ›

To make sure that the admissions committee does more than just skim through yours, you'll need an opening that grabs their attention. You're going to need a great hook. A hook is an engaging introduction to your college essay that captivates the reader and inspires him or her to keep reading.

Can I use the same supplemental essay twice? ›

If you've already written an essay that happens to fit with another college's similar prompt, then it should take you no time at all to spruce it up and submit it. Reusing the same essay is just fine.

How long should you spend on supplemental essays? ›

When it comes to how much time students should put into writing supplemental essays, the general consensus is divided. Some experts say it will take two weeks to write a supplemental essay, while others agree that it will take 20 to 30 hours. Timelines will vary based on the activities of students.

When should you start a supplemental essay? ›

Aim to start your college essays during the summer before your senior year. After all, once senior year is under way you'll also have to juggle coursework and other commitments, so having a draft or two completed will put you in the best possible position to submit polished, compelling essays.

Is University of Virginia a Tier 1 school? ›

University of Virginia

It is considered one of the most selective universities in the country and has been considered a Tier 1 university by several sources.

What is University of Virginia known for academically? ›

A Leader in Public Higher Education

The University is an iconic public institution of higher education, boasting nationally ranked schools and programs, diverse and distinguished faculty, a major academic medical center and proud history as a renowned research university.

Is University of Virginia worth it? ›

Below Average Value Nationwide. University of Virginia - Main Campus is ranked #1,926 out of 2,223 for value nationwide. Based on our analysis of other colleges at similar price points, we believe University of Virginia - Main Campus is overpriced for the quality education it provides.

Is UVA as good as an Ivy? ›

The University of Virginia is often compared with many academic institutions in and outside the state of Virginia. Those who apply to it also apply to similar public and private schools. UVA is often compared with many elite schools, too, such as the Ivy Leagues, as it's considered a Public Ivy.

What majors is UVA best known for? ›

The most popular majors at University of Virginia include: Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities; Social Sciences; Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Psychology; ...

Why is UVA so prestigious? ›

Prestigious history: UVA is one of the oldest universities in the US, founded by Thomas Jefferson, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Monticello (since 1987). In fact, UVA is the only collegiate UNESCO site in the US.

Is it harder to get into UVA or UNC? ›

AdmissionUNC Chapel HillUVA
Acceptance Rate25%22.6%
Enrolled %42.6%41%
8 more rows

How can I increase my chances of getting into UVA? ›

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into the University of Virginia
  1. Achieve at least a 4.31 average GPA while taking the most challenging classes available. ...
  2. Letters of Recommendation. ...
  3. Aim for a 1490 SAT and 34 ACT. ...
  4. Cultivate one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”) ...
  5. Write Compelling Essays.
16 Sept 2021

What is the lowest GPA UVA has accepted? ›

We don't have a minimum GPA. We don't have a minimum SAT score.

What is the hardest AP to get a 5 on? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
AP Class/ExamPass Rate (3+)Perfect Score (5)
2. Environmental Science53.4%11.9%
3. Chemistry56.1%10.6%
4. U.S. Government and Politics57.5%15.5%
5. U.S. History58.7%13.0%
6 more rows

How many APS should I take for UVA? ›

You should aim to take 7-8 AP® classes as a minimum to be considered a competitive candidate for admission.

How hard is UVA academically? ›

The average GPA at UVA is 4.32. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.32, UVA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

How many sentences is 650 words? ›

How Many Sentences Is 650 Words? 650 words is about 32-44 sentences. A sentence typically has 15–20 words.

Is 3500 words enough for extended essay? ›

While most essays have a word count in the 3,900 range, it is perfectly acceptable to submit an essay that is 3,500 words. While there is no actual minimum word count, you would probably want to write over 3,000 words, since a short essay might imply that the topic was not investigated thoroughly enough.

Do citations count towards word limit? ›

The general rule is that word count includes everything in the main body of the text - including headings, tables, citations, quotes, lists, etc. The list of references, appendices, and footnotes are generally not included in the word count.

Does taking the essay boost your score? ›

And I did say that the multiple-choice counts for more than the essay, but that doesn't mean the essay isn't important. In truth, the SAT essay score counts for around 30% your total writing score—in the ballpark of 200 points, altogether. It's not the only thing, but it's a significant piece of the puzzle.

Do supplemental essays need paragraphs? ›

Many prompts for the supplemental essay ask you to write a single paragraph or two. Don't go beyond the stated limit. Also, realize that a tight and engaging single paragraph is better than two mediocre paragraphs. The admissions officers have thousands of applications to read, and they will appreciate brevity.

Is 900 words too much for college essay? ›

Even if you aren't filling out the Common App, most college essays set word limits around 500-750 words. In the rare case there is no established word limit, most experts recommend not exceeding 900 words for a college essay.

What is a good GPA at UVA? ›

Average GPA: 4.32

This makes UVA Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.32, UVA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

Can I get into UVA with a 4.3 GPA? ›

The average high school GPA for admitted students at University of Virginia is 4.3 on a 4.0 scale. (You can calculate your high school a GPA here.) This is a very competitive GPA, and University of Virginia is clearly accepting students at the top of their high school class.

Are IBS harder than AP? ›

Is IB harder than AP? It depends. Some students argue that IB is more challenging because of the emphasis on critical thinking and the more application-focused evaluations. However, both IB and AP classes are considered college-level courses that many students find challenging.

Is 8 APs enough for Ivy League? ›

If you're looking for a specific number of APs that you should take, it will depend on your school's offerings, but a safe number for admission at Ivy League schools is usually between 7 and 12 AP classes throughout high school.

What kind of students does UVA look for? ›

How UVA Rates Applicants. UVA rates six factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load, class rank, GPA, recommendation letters, character/personal qualities, and state residency (again, being from VA is a major advantage).

Can you get into UVA with a 3.5 GPA? ›

While there are no published UVA GPA requirements, the average admitted student for UVA enrollment has a 4.31 GPA. Additionally, 90% of students accepted by UVA admissions are in the top 10% of their high school class and have over a 4.0 GPA.

Can I get into UVA with a 3.0 GPA? ›

Educational Requirements

Applicants must meet one of the following and have a minimum 2.0 Cumulative High School GPA: High School Class Rank - Top 50% 3.0 Cumulative High School GPA (4.0 Scale) 17 ACT Composite Score or 900 SAT Composite Score (test optional)

Does UVA have supplemental essay questions? ›

No matter which option you choose, you'll have to complete the UVA supplement, which includes three writing prompts. The first prompt requires a response of about 100 words, and the other two recommend 50 words each. So these are definitely more short responses than full-length essays.

How do you respond to a supplemental essay? ›

When answering this essay question, use specific details. Mention courses and professors of interest. Students should elaborate on campus organizations or programs that fit certain goals, and specific aspects of the campus community that make it a good social and academic fit.

What counts as a second writing requirement UVA? ›

To meet the Second Writing Requirement, a class must: Assign at least two writing assignments in English totaling 20 pages or more independent of quizzes and final examinations. Have a student/faculty ratio no greater than 30/1.

How do you answer a Virginia Tech supplemental essay? ›

Recap: Responding to the Virginia Tech Essay Prompts
  1. Be honest and sincere.
  2. Highlight opportunities you've taken to grow and change.
  3. Edit and proofread your work to make sure it's as strong as possible.
17 Sept 2022

How do you answer Georgetown supplementals? ›

Here's how you should write this essay.
  1. Step 1: Write out all the activities you've been involved inside and outside of school. ...
  2. Step 2: Research Georgetown's values.
  3. Step 2: Create a mission statement from your meaningful memory/experience.
  4. Step 3: Create a story around your mission statement.

Do colleges really look at supplemental essays? ›

Yes, colleges care about supplemental essays. Your writing gives colleges extra insight into who you are as a person beyond your grades. Strong supplemental essays can give you an advantage in your application to many different schools.

How do I start a supplement essay? ›

Here are some tips for writing great college supplemental essays:
  1. Ascertain which of your college choices require supplements. ...
  2. Read the essay prompt carefully. ...
  3. Write about yourself. ...
  4. Do not repeat anything from the rest of your Common App or Coalition App. ...
  5. Do your homework. ...
  6. Recycle your essays the smart way.
26 Jun 2018

How long should supplemental essays take? ›

Some experts say it will take two weeks to write a supplemental essay, while others agree that it will take 20 to 30 hours. Timelines will vary based on the activities of students.

Is it easy to double major at UVA? ›

Double majoring at UVA is not easy – especially when the fields do not overlap, and you came in with almost no AP credits. I have always had a full class load, and have had to take summer classes, and I still will not graduate “on time.”

What is the first writing requirement for UVA? ›

Most students complete UVA's First Writing Requirement by taking ENWR 1510: Writing and Inquiry.

Should I include my personal essay for Virginia Tech? ›

Interestingly, Virginia Tech does not require you to submit the Common App essay with your application. That being said, there is absolutely no harm in submitting your Common App essay with your application.

How important are Virginia Tech essays? ›

The school requires all undergraduates to complete the “Ut Prosim Profile” which consists of four service-related essay prompts. These essays are “very important” to the admissions committee. Therefore, it is vital that all Tech applicants dedicate a significant amount of time to these short answer questions.

Does Virginia Tech give a lot of merit scholarships? ›

Merit-based aid, also called non-need-based aid, is awarded for a specific talent or academic achievement. The average non-need-based scholarship or grant awarded to first-year students at Virginia Tech – excluding any athletic scholarships, if applicable – was $3,540.

Do colleges care about supplementals? ›

Colleges do not always want too many supplemental materials because they take undue resources to go through. However, each target college is generally quite clear about whether it welcomes supplemental materials. For example, some Common Application members will accept arts supplements while others may not.

Do Supplementals matter? ›

They're your chance to demonstrate that you know what makes the school special and that you're excited to attend that particular institution. Good supplementary essays both highlight what a good fit you are for a college and flatter the college by discussing its unique strengths.

How many supplementals does Harvard accept? ›

In the 2022-23 there are three Harvard supplemental essays. This first essay is required. Technically, the other two essays are optional. However, these are pretty much required if you want serious consideration for admission.


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