You may have applied to your program, but you aren’t finished with your application just yet – for many university programs, you’ll need to submit a supplementary application. Don’t take these lightly. Several schools will give equal weighting to grades and supplementary apps. So, even if you have stellar grades, a poor supplementary application can cost you. Depending on the program you’re applying to, the supplementary application can take many forms, from a few short essay questions, to a list of your extra-curricular involvement, to submitting recommendation letters or even an art portfolio. This is your time to shine, and for those of you who may not have received great marks in high school, a well-written supplementary essay can help you rise above the rest.
- Do some research on the school and program you are applying to. This will help you answer questions and show admissions that you are passionate about attending their school.
- Start your supplementary application as soon as you can. Before you know it, your schoolwork will start to pile up, and the last thing you want to do is completely forget about your supplementary application.
- Make a list of all of your extra-curricular activities, awards, certificates and skills that you feel would be useful to describe in your essays.
- Be creative! Create a story with your essay. Essays don’t need to follow the traditional formula of an introduction, body and conclusion. Especially with the “creative” essay question, admissions officers want to see fresh ideas and thought processes.
- Remember your audience. The admissions officer isn’t looking for Pulitzer-prize winning work and they definitely don’t want to see essays that grossly abuse the “Synonyms” tool. They read plenty of essays. You need to clinch them within the first few sentences and that means giving a clear and concise, yet inventive, opening.
- Always bring it back to the school/program you are applying to. Explain what the school has to offer you and what you can offer to the school. Show them how you are a perfect fit.
- Make sure you are answering the right question. Although the questions are left fairly open-ended, be sure to answer the question asked, not the question you want.
- Back it up! You say you have leadership experience, communication skills and high attention to detail, but what evidence do you have? Explain how you exhibit these traits through your extra-curricular involvement.
- Quality over quantity. You may have been very involved in high school, but some of your activities are definitely more impactful than others. Focus on how your involvement in an event positively affected others.
- Like a resume, stick to your most recent and relevant activities. There is no need to include your involvement in the fifth grade.
- Nothing signals a poor student more than simple spelling or grammar mistakes. Be sure to proofread plenty of times!
- Get help with proofreading by asking others to look over your essay.
- Follow the rules! If it says they want an essay under 250 words, make sure it is under 250 words.
- Spend plenty of time on each supplementary application. Don’t make one generic application that you think you can send to all of your prospective schools. Admissions officers have read brilliant essays, where, unfortunately, the wrong school was mentioned! Don’t let that happen to you.
Hopefully these tips have helped you and will bring you closer to that coveted acceptance letter!