Many schools utilize the Common App as their primary application form, and school-specific supplements allow every institution to customize this universal application in order to build a well-rounded first-year class.
From asking about a student’s favorite snack to designing their dream seminars, many colleges are getting creative with their supplement questions so that admissions officers can learn as much about applicants as possible. If you’re interested in getting a jump start on your applications, keep reading for a roundup of the supplement questions that top colleges are asking for the 2022-23 admissions cycle.
All applicants, except those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) major, should respond to one of prompts #1-5 listed below. Students applying to the HCE major must respond to prompt #6 only.
The writing supplement topics for the 2022-2023 application cycle (400 word limit):
1. Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?
2. In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America – a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.
3. At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?
4. Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.
5. Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?
6. For Human-Centered Engineering major applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?
Essay Questions for First Year Applicants and Transfer Applicants
1. Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (200-250 words)
2. Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond? (200-250 words)
3. Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy. (200-250 words)
Essay Questions for PLME (Program in Liberal Medical Education) Applicants
Three essays are required for applicants to the PLME:
1. Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. How do you feel your personal background provides you with a unique perspective of medicine? (250 word limit)
2. Health care is constantly changing, as it is affected by racial and social disparities, economics, politics, and technology, among others. How will you, as a future physician, make a positive impact? (250 word limit)
3. How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic, personal and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future? (250 word limit)
Essay Questions for Brown|RISD Dual Degree Applicants
One essay is required for applicants to the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program:
1. The Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program draws on the complementary strengths of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to provide students with the opportunity to explore diverse spheres of academic and creative inquiry, culminating in a capstone project that interrelates the content, approaches, and methods from two distinct learning experiences.
Based on your understanding of the academic programs at Brown and RISD and the possibilities created by the BRDD program’s broadened learning community, specifically describe how and why the BRDD program would constitute an optimal undergraduate education for you. As part of your answer, be sure to articulate how you might contribute to the Dual Degree community and its commitment to interdisciplinary work. (650 word limit)
Please see the instructions on Cornell’s Admissions website here prior to completing the Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement in the My Colleges section of the Common Application.
The primary focus of your college interest essay should be what you intend to study at Cornell.
In the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 650 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.
Brooks School of Public Policy
Why are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Required: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
Optional: At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good. Please elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you. We encourage you to think about community broadly – this could include family, school, or local and global communities (300-word limit).
Optional: The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is dedicated to the exploration of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture.
Select all that apply:
- My family owns or operates a farm
- I have experience working in agriculture
- I have interest in pursuing a career in agriculture
Please feel free to share additional details below (optional):
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
What is your “thing”? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours?
College of Arts and Sciences
Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
What kind of a business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration).
College of Engineering
Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B.
Required response (250 word limit)
How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.
Choose either Question A and Question B. (250 word limit)
- Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem.
- Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
College of Human Ecology
How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.
Briefly (approximately one-half page, single-spaced) discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.
Compose two brief essays (approximately one page, single-spaced each) on the topics given below. Essays should be typed.
All Applicants: As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.
Applicants to Georgetown College: What does it mean to you to be educated? How might Georgetown College help you achieve this aim? (Applicants to the Sciences and Mathematics or the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics should address their chosen course of study.)
Applicants to The School of Health: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major (Global Health, Health Care Management & Policy, or Human Science).
Applicants to The School of Nursing: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major Nursing.
Applicants to The Walsh School of Foreign Service: The Walsh School of Foreign Service was founded more than a century ago to prepare generations of leaders to solve global problems. What is motivating you to dedicate your undergraduate studies to a future in service to the world?
Applicants to The McDonough School of Business: The McDonough School of Business is a national and global leader in providing graduates with essential ethical, analytical, financial and global perspectives. Please discuss your motivations for studying business at Georgetown.
The purpose of the essays is to assess your writing ability and, more importantly, to learn more about you as an individual. This portion of the application helps us get to know you, assess mutual fit, and better understand what you could contribute to Georgia Tech.Below are the Georgia Tech essay questions for 2023 applications. Both prompts are required of all applicants.
Common Application Personal Essay: First-year applicants will choose one of seven essay prompts provided by Common App.
Georgia Tech Short-Answer Question (max 300 words): Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?
The Pomona-specific essay prompts for those applying for Fall 2023 admission include an academic interest statement (max. 150 words); a short-response essay (max. 150 words); and a longer-response essay (max. 250 words).
Academic Interest Statement
What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.
Choose to respond to one of the following three prompts in 150 words or less:
- At Pomona, we celebrate and identify with the number 47. Share with us one of your quirky personal, family, or community traditions and why you hold on to it.
- What item are you excited to bring with you to college?
- Describe a time when you felt empowered or on top of the world?
Choose to respond to one of the following three prompts in 250 words or less:
- In the past few years, is there something you have changed your mind about? Why?
- Reflecting on a community that you are part of, what values or perspectives from that community would you bring to Pomona?
- What strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize?
Question 1 (Required): How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.
Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one):
1. Was it a cat I saw? Yo-no-na-ka, ho-ka-ho-ka na-no-yo (Japanese for “the world is a warm place”). Może jutro ta dama da tortu jeżom (Polish for “maybe tomorrow that lady will give a cake to the hedgehogs”). Share a palindrome in any language, and give it a backstory.
2. What advice would a wisdom tooth have?
3. You are on an expedition to found a colony on Mars, when from a nearby crater, a group of Martians suddenly emerges. They seem eager to communicate, but they’re the impatient kind and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or other idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time?
4. UChicago has been affiliated with over 90 Nobel laureates. But, why should economics, physics, and peace get all the glory? You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment.
5. Genghis Khan with an F1 racecar. George Washington with a SuperSoaker. Emperor Nero with a toaster. Leonardo da Vinci with a Furby. If you could give any historical figure any piece of technology, who and what would it be, and why do you think they’d work so well together?
6. And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun!
For the Fall 2023 class, UGA will be keeping the same essay questions as have had for the past few years. UGA will require two essays, a longer personal essay (250-650 words) and a shorter essay (200-300 words).
- The longer Personal essay will use the Common Application prompts for 2023.
- The shorter essay prompt will continue to be the following – “The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.”
You’ll answer two to three prompts as part of your application. The questions you’ll answer will depend on whether you’re applying to a major or to our undeclared program, and if you’ve selected a second choice. Each response should be approximately 150 words.
If You’re Applying to a Major:
1. Explain, in detail, an experience you’ve had in the past 3 to 4 years related to your first-choice major. This can be an experience from an extracurricular activity, in a class you’ve taken, or through something else.
2. Describe your personal and/or career goals after graduating from UIUC and how your selected first-choice major will help you achieve them.
If You’re Applying to Our Undeclared Program in the Division of General Studies:
1. What are your academic interests and strengths? You may also include any majors you are considering.
2. What are your future academic or career goals?
If You’ve Selected a Second-Choice Major (Including Undeclared):
1. Please explain your interest in your second-choice major or your overall academic or career goals.
- Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (Required for all applicants)
- Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (Required for all applicants)
Don’t overthink it. There is no wrong way to respond to this prompt:
- Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!)
Essay Topic for Summer/Fall 2023 and Spring 2023 Applications
Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
The first prompt is tied to the UVA school or college the student selects. We want students to answer the prompt in around 100 words. As always, the boxes on the Common App allow students to go a bit over, so we don’t expect students to write exactly 100 words.
College of Arts & Sciences: If you could create a college course that all UVA students would take, what would it be about and why?
School of Engineering: How will you use an engineering degree to change the world for the better?
School of Architecture: Describe a significant experience that deepened your interest in studying in the School of Architecture.
School of Nursing: Describe a health care-related experience or another significant interaction that deepened your interest in studying Nursing.
Kinesiology Program: Describe an experience that has deepened your interest in studying kinesiology.
Students will then write responses to two prompts out of ten options in about 50 words each. Again, the Common App boxes allow students to go a little over the stated limit. Some of these are old favorites and some are new.
1. What’s your favorite word and why?
2. We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. What is one of your quirks?
3. About what topic could you speak for an hour?
4. Take us to your happy place.
5. You can wake up tomorrow and a skill you already have will become expert-level. What skill is that?
6. What is the last gift you gave someone that wasn’t bought with money?
7. What website is the internet missing?
8. After a challenging experience, how do you recharge?
9. Tell us about a place you’d like to share with everyone, but also keep to yourself.
10. UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?
Writing Supplement #1: Villanova Free Choice (2022-23)
For the first Villanova-specific essay, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Choose one of the five topics below and submit a written response in about 250 words.
St. Augustine states that well-being is “not concerned with myself alone, but with my neighbor’s good as well.” How have you advocated for equity and justice in your communities?
What is the truest thing that you know?
One of the themes in St. Augustine’s book, Confessions, is the idea of redemption. Tell us your story of being given a second chance.
In the Villanova community, we believe that we all learn from one another. What is a lesson in life that you have learned that you would want to share with others?
Augustine’s “Miracles are not contrary to nature but only contrary to what we know about nature.” Tell us about a societal issue that you believe the wonder of technology is well-poised to help solve.
Writing Supplement #2: Why Villanova? (2022-23)
Prompt: Why do you want to call Villanova your new home and how will you become part of our community?
Please submit a written response of about 150 words.
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application will respond to the following short answer questions:
- Students at Yale have time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
- Tell us about a topic or idea that excites you and is related to one or more academic areas you selected above. Why are you drawn to it? (200 words or fewer)
- What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
Applicants applying with the QuestBridge Application will complete the questions above via the Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, available on the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application has been received.
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will also respond to the following short answer questions, in no more than 200 characters (approximately 35 words):
- What inspires you?
- Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What would you ask them to discuss?
- You are teaching a new Yale course. What is it called?
- What is something about you that is not included anywhere else in your application?
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will respond to one of the following prompts in 400 words or fewer.
1. Yale carries out its mission “through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community.” Reflect on a time when you exchanged ideas about an important issue with someone holding an opposing view. How did the experience lead you either to change your opinion or to sharpen your reasons for holding onto it?
2. Reflect on a time when you have worked to enhance a community to which you feel connected. Why have these efforts been meaningful to you? You may define community however you like.
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application: In addition to responding to one of the prompts above, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created. The upload should complement your response to the prompt. Above your response, include a one-sentence description of your upload. Please limit uploads to the following file types: mp3, mov, jpeg, word, pdf. Advanced editing is not necessary. Uploads provided via the Coalition Application will be reviewed by the Admissions Office only. Review the Supplementary Material instructions for material that may be evaluated by Yale faculty.
While answering additional essay questions might seem challenging, the supplements give students the chance to show a different side of themselves to the admissions office, as well as emphasizing their demonstrated interest. Since supplements are an important component of the college admissions process, we always recommend students begin working on these essays early to save themselves the stress of working down to the wire. If you’re getting ready to apply to college and looking for guidance on writing supplements, our team of admissions experts is here to help.