Anddd Some More Mistakes to Avoid

You have no clue how many videos I found out mistakes to avoid.. We'll be finished after this one, I promise.

October 20, 2020

I don’t want to fill up this entire article with what not to do, but I do want to include these last five tips because they’re really important!

5 Mistakes Students Make on Supplemental Essays

(Source: SupertutorTV, Stanford-educated, perfect SAT and ACT-scoring, ACT and SAT prep tutor.)

1.  Don’t Repeat

If you wrote about your love for engineering in your personal statement, do not—do not—write about it in your supplemental essay. You don’t want to sound repetitive with your information, you have more to offer than just being an engineering student!

I’m not saying you cannot create a line throughout your essays that connects, you just don’t need to tell them “I want to be an engineer” over and over and over… and over again.

In fact, Supertutor recommends not making the basis of your personal statement your academic passion at all, because often that is what the supplemental essay is about.

2. Don’t Just Answer the Question

Okay, I know I told you earlier that supplemental essays is doing just this, BUT LET ME EXPLAIN. Yes you’re answering the question, but you cannot just give them a straightforward answer and be done. Sadly, it’s not that simple.

If you get the question, “How will you take advantage of the educational opportunities provided at ____?”, you’re not going to impress colleges by simply saying “I will major in engineering, take *insert 5 engineering classes that idk here*, study abroad in *enter dream country here*, and join *enter organization here*.”

You won’t impress them at all.

Supertutor stresses that “any time you have an essay, you have an opportunity… to share who you are, and what you love,” and she’s absolutely correct.

Essay form allows for you to tell a story about what matters about you, why it matters, and how your particular school fits in to that. Take advantage of it.

3. Don’t Tell That… Tell Why

This is already a common mistake for personal statements, so you know this is a problem with supplementals. Just because it’s a shorter essay, does not mean you still don’t have to give background!

Admissions officers get it: you love engineering, you’ve done three internships, started an engineering club at your school, blah blah blah. You didn’t just wake up one day and decide you wanted to be one.

How did you get there? What about it is interesting to you? How do your characteristics as an individual fit into this career path?

And this doesn’t just go for major questions, the same can be applied to the school as a whole.

If you’re asked “What do you look forward to at Unicorn University (this is not a real place, I wish it was)?”, or “How do you plan on taking advantage of the educational opportunities at Unicorn University?”, go with the why more than the that.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Overwrite and Cut

A big mistake students make when writing supplementals is underwriting due to the shorter word count of this essay. Don’t let that stand in your way, there is still much to be said here!

Don’t be scared of getting everything off your chest and then cutting it down to only the most important things once you finish.

It’s easier to figure out what points stand out more than others, and are more pertinent to the message you’re trying to convey, when you can read back through and cut as you go.

5. Don’t Settle for Boring Answers

Shorter essay ≠ settling for a boring answer. If 50 other people could’ve written the same thing as you, you should revise your work.

Admissions officers have to go through thousands and thousands of applications, so don’t be afraid to entertain. Give the reader something that will make an officer fight for your spot at this school.

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