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How to Answer the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application

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Also known as the College Specific Supplement, the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application give students an opportunity to tell admissions officers exactly why they want to attend their school.

They also give schools the ability to differentiate themselves from other colleges and universities also using the Common Application (which is designed to be…”common”).

Here is a video tutorial on Youtube, click here to view How to Answer the Supplemental Questions on the Common Application if you are not able to see the video below.

Video Transcript

0:14

My name is danielle bianchi

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for more than a decade i’ve been helping students achieve their college

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admissions dreams.

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i’ve created a series of application essay video tutorials to help students write better

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personal statements for the college applications

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for more free tutorials

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please visit

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www.personalstatementblueprint.com/tutorials/

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so this is help with the supplemental question to the common application

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So, most of you have heard of the Common Application.

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and most you’ve heard of the personal statement which is the main essay on the

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common app

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the last few years many colleges on the common application have required an extra essay

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which they call the college specific supplement or the supplemental essay to the common application.

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it’s basically a chance for them to get a more direct response to why you’re

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applying to their school and what major you might want to pursue

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an awesome way to answer this is to of course visit all the schools on your

1:17

list get a look at them and see what you think and then uh… make a decision but

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most of us don’t have the time or the money to do this.

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so what i’m going to talk about are some ways for you to write a really thourough answer

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this question without having to visit the school

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the main thing i want you to do is

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research

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each of the schools on your list.

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And, I don’t mean get on the school’s website at look the pictures and see if you like

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the people who are on the site in the pictures

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really research

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if you are moving to a new city

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you would probably get on craig’s list look at the new neighborhoods where you might

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eat where you’d see music, where you’d do laundry

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where you’d shop for groceries or shop for clothes

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So I want you to take this same enthusiasm, the same excitement that you have for

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moving to a new city

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and find out what these campuses are all about

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what makes them tick. what’s the vibe on campus. Can you picture

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yourself at the schools

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You need to really pretend each of the schools on your list is you number one

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school for it will show

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the admissions officers will see right through it if they know that

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you are only going into this kind of half effort.

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so once you get on the website

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see how the schools offer your major.

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Or, is it a minor?

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do they have it with small classes? Or, large lecture halls? Will you be in labs a lot?

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What are the teachers like? What are their backgrounds?

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Are they PHd’s?

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Would you travel abroad? Look into the travel abroad programs.

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would you like to research with professors? Or, would you rather have the

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school’s where the undergraduates wasn’t based on research?

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another great thing to look at on the website is a little button, it’s usually at

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the top or in the middle of the top

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and it says “campus life” or “student life”

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click on that

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here you’re going to find what students do

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on-campus. if you know the campus is known to be a real pressure cooker

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you got to see what students do for stress relief

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is there a rock climbing wall or do they join fraternities and sororities? or is

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there a religious presence on campus

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Or, do students go on hiking trails?

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Or, do they volunteer? See if there are clubs that you can join.

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figure out what you do that wouldn’t be academic and see if it suits you

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figure out if there’s a school motto.

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How does the school show its school spirit? Is it through basketball,

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football, and sports? Or, is it just through everyone really enjoying life

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on campus? What is it all about?

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And maybe not all the answers are on the website.

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you know look through and see if there is much research as you can on their

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website.

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Another great thing to do is look through campus college guides.

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The Fiske Guide.

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Is a great one

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US news and world report, The best colleges is also a really good one.

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you actually might be surprised to find what criteria that is used to rank each of

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those colleges on those lists

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that might be a good way for you to figure out what’s important to those

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schools

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another great thing to do

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is talk to people. Go and find alumni or talk to students from your high school

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who are either at that school or have just graduated from that school.

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You can also listen to and there are a bunch of companies that have dvds

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where students actually go to all these campuses and really interview the

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students and teachers and show you

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videos all the different parts of the campus. So, you almost feel like you are on

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the campus with them

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so i would go through those there also youtubes or you can go on each of the websites

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they have some virtual tours or they have

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a chance for you to email or to call a student on campus. Some people given their

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information so you can call them

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my main

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thing i want you to know is to not leave this research until your senior year.

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you’ve got enough going on by the time fall comes around senior year. You are going to be

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applying to all of these schools and you’re going to have your extra curriculur activities

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You are going to have your applications. You will have your standardized tests

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You won’t have fun if you leave the research until then. Do it now,

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and you will have fun doing it

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Some of my students come in and they just say

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you know I did all of this research and it kind of made me realize that I don’t wanna go to this

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school. And that’s the best thing can find out, or one of the good things you can find

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out, is that you might have too long a college list anyway

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and as you research the schools you find out

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what’s important to me is

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a small class atmosphere. Or, what’s important to me is that I can

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know my teachers well.

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Go to coffee with them. Or, do something where

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I work one-on-one with a professor and I do some research

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in a lab with him or her

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or maybe you think you know I am dying to go to a school that’s got twenty

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thousand students, and the football and the greek life is amazing. So you’ve got to

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figure out and that’s why research will help you what’s important to you and

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what’s important when college comes around.

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this essay response is really a chance for you to differentiate yourself

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most of the schools on the common app

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don’t love being on the common application. But, they know it’s a good way for them

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to get a lot of

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applications

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they don’t want to be common.

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so what they’ve done is added these supplemental questions because it’s a

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way for them to differentiate themselves from the other schools

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they wanna know exactly why you’re applying to schools what you want to

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study

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so they want you to be as specific as possible

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So, my best advice

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is to do as much research as possible and start now so you can have more fun

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doing it

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thanks for watching

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for more free personal statement tutorials

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visit www.personalstatementblueprint.com/tutorials/

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to learn more about how the personal statement blueprint can help you create

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your perfect personal statement

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visit personalstatementblueprint.com

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for more general college admission advice,

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you can visit daniellebianchi.com

2 thoughts on “How to Answer the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application

  1. Thanks, this was really helpful for my application

    1. So happy to hear that Anna!

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