What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Loading…
UCLA
Loading…
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What makes the Common App essay different from supplemental essays?

As I start planning my Common App essay and thinking about supplementals, I’m wondering... what's the difference? Do admissions officers look for different things in these essays? Should my approach change when I'm writing the Common App essay compared to the school-specific ones?

8 months ago

Hey there! Happy to help clarify this for you. The main difference between the Common App essay and supplemental essays is their purpose and audience. Your Common App essay is a personal statement that goes to all the schools you apply to through the Common App. It's your chance to showcase who you are beyond your grades and test scores. The prompt choices are broad, allowing you a lot of freedom to choose what aspect of your personality, life experiences, or values you want to highlight.

Supplemental essays, on the other hand, are school-specific. They're an opportunity for colleges to understand why you're interested in them specifically and how you might fit into their community. They'll often ask about particular programs, your academic interests, or how you align with the school's values. Consequently, your approach should change. While the Common App essay is about expressing your identity, the supplementals should be tailored to demonstrate a well-researched interest in and compatibility with the school you're writing it for. For example, if a college values a strong community service ethos, and you've been heavily involved in volunteering, you'd want to highlight that in your supplemental essay for that school.

8 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.