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What's the typical number of college essays required during the application process?

Hey everyone, I'm starting to plan out my college application strategy and I'm wondering about the essay part. How many essays do most colleges require? I know there's the main Common App essay, but what about supplemental essays? How many should I expect to write for each school I'm applying to?

8 months ago

Hello! It's great that you're already planning ahead for your essays, as they're definitely a significant component of your application. The main Common App essay is required by nearly all colleges that use the Common App. As for supplemental essays, it varies quite a bit from school to school. Some might not require any additional essays, while others could ask for 5-6. Typically, more selective schools have more substantial supplemental essay packages, but that's not always the case, so make sure to check the requirements for each school you're applying to, either by adding them to your list in the Common App, or checking the school's website/specific application portal if it's not on the common app.

On average, you might expect to write 1-3 supplemental essays for each college. The prompts can range from relatively straightforward things like 'Why do you want to attend our college?' to more creative questions or short-answer responses like 'What 3 songs would be on your perfect playlist?' In particular, the University of Chicago is known for its unique and thought-provoking essay prompts, which take significant reflection and creativity, so if you're interested in applying there, you want to make sure you'll be able to budget your time well, so that you aren't trying to write your response in a rush.

To manage your workload, check the application requirements for each school on your list as early as possible. That way, you can identify common themes and perhaps reuse or adapt certain essays as appropriate, saving you a good deal of time. Good luck with your applications!

8 months ago

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