Writing & Supplemental Essays
This process should take approximately 15 – 60 minutes for each college that you are applying to. The length of time this process takes varies by student and depends on how many supplemental essays that colleges ask you to write. It might take several hours to complete this section.
Items marked with a red asterisk * are required. Students are not required to complete items that do not have the red asterisk.
Some colleges have additional “supplemental” essays in their section of the My Colleges tab. In this section of the AXS Companion, you will learn more about supplemental essays, including:
- Where to find prompts for supplemental essays
- How to approach the “Why do you want to come here?” or “Why Us?” essay
- How to approach the disciplinary history essay
- Resources with more advice about how to write supplemental essays
This is an example of the supplemental Writing section for a specific college found within the My Colleges tab of Common App.
In this video, we discuss why supplemental essays are an important part of your application and where to find them in Common App. This video should take approximately 4 minutes.
In this video, we discuss the most common supplemental essays and how to use supplemental essays to tell colleges more about yourself. This video should take approximately 5 minutes.
In this video, Timothy Brunold, Dean of Admission at the University of Southern California, talks about what he wants to read about in a “Why Us?” essay. This video should take approximately 4 minutes.
In this video, we provide a more detailed explanation of how to write the “Why Us?” essay. This video is for students who want more advice on how to write a thorough, authentic “Why Us?” essay. This video should take approximately 5 minutes.
In this video, we discuss how to approach questions about disciplinary or criminal history. The purpose of this section is for you to understand how to write about your disciplinary history, if you have one. If you have to write about a disciplinary history, this section should take approximately an hour.
Tips & Reminders
- Don’t wait until the last minute to scroll through the My Colleges tab. Essays can pop up in different places depending on the college.
- Supplemental essays are a good opportunity to tell a college more about yourself. If a college has several supplemental essays, think about how the essays can work together to tell more about you.
- Supplemental essays can be found in a variety of places within the My Colleges tab of Common App, including:
- Additional Information
- After you indicate your intended major
Occasionally a supplemental essay might appear in a portal you have been asked to set up on the college’s website after your application is submitted.
- When writing a “Why Us?” essay, your goal is to tell the college how you will pursue your academic interests there and why you are genuinely a good fit for the college. WOW provides detailed advice for how to write this essay in the WOW – Writing The “Why Us?” Essay Guide.
- WOW provides detailed guidelines for how to approach other supplemental essays in the WOW – Writing Supplemental Essays Guide.
- WOW also provides detailed advice for how to write about academic challenges in the WOW – How To Write About Academic Challenges Guide.