Under what circumstances should I consider whether or not a school requires supplemental essays?
While it’s best to create your college list without regard for supplemental essay requirements, you might encounter situations in which you need to consider the time commitment involved in writing these essays. Given that some schools requiring up to five supplemental essays, you’ll need to plan well in advance if you intend to tackle each one seriously. If you decide that you need to add a few schools to the list at the last minute, or you find yourself suddenly out of time to apply anywhere at all, you’ll want to know which schools don’t require a supplemental essay, and you’ll want to know quick.
If this is the case for you, don’t worry; we’ve done some of the legwork for you. Below, you’ll find a list of some high quality schools that don’t require supplemental essays.
Schools That Don’t Require a Supplemental Essay with the Common Application
Middlebury College: Middlebury requires only the essays from the Common Application, along with the usual teacher recommendations and transcripts. Additional materials such as an arts portfolio can be uploaded through the student portal, but there is no guarantee that they will be reviewed by the admissions committee.
Harvard: While the application requirements for Harvard do require a supplement, each of its required components is a multiple-choice question or a fill-in-the-blank. There is an optional supplemental essay, which we would recommend completing whenever possible, but it is not required. You can read more about this in our post Should You Send the Harvard Optional Supplement Essay?.
Washington University in St. Louis: Washington University in St. Louis does not require any supplement to the Common Application or Coalition Application. They note on the FAQ page of their admissions website that “supplemental essays are required for our Academic Scholarship and Fellowship Programs, which are open to all first-year applicants. Because our application deadline for our academic scholarships is January 5, 2018, we would like students to focus their time to thoughtfully address our scholarship essays and not add an additional strain.”
Williams College: Williams is another strong school with an optional supplement. Of course, as before, we do recommend completing optional essays. You can read more about it in our post How to Write the Williams College Application Essays.
Wesleyan University: Currently ranked 21st in National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Wesleyan requires neither test scores nor supplemental essays. They note in their testing policy that “students should have the power to decide how best to present themselves to the admission committee and whether—or not—their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential”. Beginning in fall 2017, it will begin to accept the Coalition Application in addition to the Common Application.
Colby College: Colby College is currently ranked 12th in National Liberal Arts Colleges and does not require a supplement to the Common Application or Coalition Application. Another attractive feature of its application process is its lack of an application fee.
Amherst College: Okay, okay, highly-ranked Amherst College does actually require a writing supplement, but we’re including it on this list because one of the options is something you’ve already written. Though you could write a separate essay for the supplement, you are also invited to “submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities.” This option specifically invites you to submit a paper you’ve already written for school, and in fact the admissions committee prefers a paper that has your teacher’s grade and comments on it already. Consider this option if you’ve held on to your top work from the year.
No matter where you apply, there will be at least one essay you’ll need to write. If you’re currently considering where to apply and need some help narrowing down your college list, consider checking out CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, you’ll be paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance through the entire application process, including how to perfect your approach to the personal essay.
For more about creating a college list and writing application essays, check out these CollegeVine posts:
We welcome supplemental information from those of you who have a serious interest in the arts. If you would like to have your special talent in one or more of the arts considered as a part of the admissions process, you must submit the optional supplemental material using SlideRoom. Submissions are due November 1 for ED I, January 1 for ED II and Regular Decision, and March 1 for Fall Transfer applications.
Art: Please note the title, date, medium and dimensions of each work. Art work submitted on CD's will not be reviewed.
Instrumental or voice: Solo performances are preferred. Feel free to submit several samples that demonstrate your musicality, intonation, phrasing and repertoire, but preferably no more than 10-15 minutes.
Theater: Two monologues (of contrasting styles if possible) introduced by the applicant, totaling no more than four minutes, is preferred. If that is not possible, brief clips of performances, totaling no more than four minutes, are acceptable.
Dance: Please include no more than three samples of reasonable length as performer and/or choreographer. We want to experience the variety and strength of your ability. Please identify yourself if you are not the soloist. If you would like to include additional information such as a dance resume or letter of recommendation you can do this via SlideRoom.
Film or Video: Video submissions can either be a complete piece, an excerpt from a longer piece, or a selection from multiple pieces, but in total they should not exceed 10 minutes. The student should clearly state what roles were played in the production (e.g. director, camera, editing, writing, etc.)
How to Use SlideRoom
For Coalition Application: Access SlideRoom through the following link: https://middlebury.slideroom.com/#/Login. Choose the art program that identifies the Coalition. Please contact our office for fee waiver requests and any additional questions.
For Common Application: SlideRoom is accessible via the Common Application.
- In the Member Questions section, you must answer the question that begins “Do you intend to submit an art supplement…” in the affirmative.
- If you have already submitted your application and did not answer this question, you can still submit an arts supplement by logging in to SlideRoom here: https://middlebury.slideroom.com/#/Login. If you used the same e-mail address for your SlideRoom and Common App accounts you will be prompted by SlideRoom for your Common App ID (located in the top-right corner of the Common App screen). If not, you can still submit the arts supplement (we will sync your submission with your application).