Admissions

The "Anything Else" Essay

Many colleges require additional essays beyond the main Common Application (CA) essay. These essays appear on the colleges’ CA “supplement.” Forget about applying to all participating CA schools with just the CA. Lots of colleges, especially the more-to-most competitive ones, require additional information and essays on this nasty and time consuming additional form.

One of the more frequent supplemental essay prompts is the “Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find elsewhere on your application” challenge. A variation of this that you may encounter would be something like “What makes you unique?” The challenge here is to dig deep into your self-awareness and come up with still more interesting aspects of who you are, as if you already haven’t put enough effort into the rest of your CA information. I have seen many highly accomplished seniors struggle mightily with this question. Why is that?

First of all, many high school seniors don’t think of themselves as “unique.” They view themselves as fortunate just to be able to get through the tough courses they’re taking while having enough time to devote to all the activities in which they are involved. Add to this sleep deprivation. A surprising number high performers I’ve seen get five (sometimes fewer) hours of sleep during the school year. That’s not a prudent practice for a growing teenager.

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