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09/04/2019

Are supplemental essays extra essays you need to write in addition to the common app essay?

QUESTION
Are supplemental essays extra essays you need to write in addition to the common app essay?
I am applying to universities this year and I noticed that the University of Michigan has supplemental essays in addition to the essay on the Common app. Is this something you have to answer as well? Do some universities not have supplemental essays?

ANSWER
Yes. A supplement is a form that you must fill out for a college in addition to the entire Common App. Not all schools that use the Common App have a supplement. A supplement generally consists of a few questions about legacy, academic interests, and a brief essay or two. These essay(s) are usually, unlike the Common App big essay, about why you want to go to that particular school. However, they may be on other topics than that. You MUST fill out the entire supplement unless a portion of it is marked as strictly optional (e.g. Penn had a second completely optional essay on their supplement last year).

If you ever are unsure of what to complete for an application, visit the specific school’s admission website or contact the school’s admissions office. It’s better to ask than to leave out a part of your application and not be considered for the school.