I received this email from Colby College (which I applied to in January) 4 days ago: "Thank you for completing your application to Colby. In light of the complexities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we invite you to submit additional information to be reviewed by the admissions committee."
It took me to a link with a text box under the prompt: "Please use the space provided to include any additional information you would like to share with the admissions committee."
I know someone who emailed asking what Colby wanted specifically, and Colby said:
"The additional information should be used if you feel like you have pertinent updates to share with the admissions committee. Can be:
-Awards or honors you’ve earned since submitting your application
-Updates on your senior year progress, or similar
-Updates of activities
-Continued interest in Colby
-Neither expect nor require that you’ll write another essay (like Why Colby) or that all students will complete this section?"
MY QUESTION: Could I send them a 300-word personal essay about one of my extracurriculars and connect it to why Colby is a fit for me? I have used a similar format/essay at other schools and I know it is a very strong essay. I don't think this is what Colby is looking for, but it could help me stand out. Keep in mind Colby doesn't require a supplemental essay with their application and I think the purpose of this new section is to differentiate applicants in their largest applicant pool ever (16,000 people).
If you re-read the guidelines, Colby wants "new" information, either new awards or new honors, new updates on your 12th-grade year, new updates on activities, and an update on where your head is with committing to Colby if they would accept you. I would not include an essay on an EC that you previously listed. They are giving you an opportunity to add more data points to your application file.
Things that would qualify for this kind of information are.
-New Leadership positions e.g. are you team captain or President of a Club since you submitted your app.
-New Internships or research opportunities that were given to you.
-And awarded scholarships, e.g. did you win a merit award or you a Finalist in some notable scholarship program
-Updated Test Scores, e.g. did you retake the ACT or SAT and get a higher score?
-Results from competitions e.g. whether you placed in the State Debate, or National Con-Law competition, or the State Band finals.
-Results from non-HS courses e.g. did you take a college course online and get an A and 3 college credits in Philosophy at the State College?
Colby is giving each applicant the opportunity to refine their submitted application with more data points. If you have nothing to add, one interpretation is that you are not making the best of your senior year. Some applicants have continued to thrive in spite of online learning and have more pertinent data points to add to their file. Competitive schools want to know how you are continuing to challenge yourself in your last term of HS because if they are evaluating you against someone very similar but you have 5 more pieces of evidence that you are striving to be the best version of yourself, they may have an easier time advocating for your efforts versus someone that has taken "the gas of the pedal because they have senioritis".
I think it will be very challenging for colleges to make their final selections for a Freshman class because there are so many applicants applying to all top schools and many students have no test scores to augment their academic achievements.
I wish you all the best in your college admissions journey.
Hi there! I would also not recommend sending an essay about an EC you already mentioned, as the instructions say "if you feel like you have pertinent updates." Since they specifically point out "continued interest in Colby," however, I think it would be okay to write a "Why Colby" type essay and incorporate elements of the EC essay. The main purpose of this opportunity, however, is to really get any major updates on your year. A lot can happen between the time of application and now, such as being elected officer of a club, winning an award, starting a big self-driven project, etc. Hope this helps, and best of luck!
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