A few words on the Supplement

Isn’t the Common Application great?  All those schools you can apply to in one shot, it makes the college application process so much less daunting.  While this is true (to an extent) many of you are thinking, or maybe yelling out loud, “What about all those supplements?!?”  Aghh, the bitter sweetness of only needing to type your counselor’s e-mail address, Freshman extracurricular activities and expected spring schedule once.

Supplements are personal, they ask probing questions and they require thought and time.  Maybe right now in the middle of December you don’t feel like you have much of either to spare.  I encourage you to dig deep.  These questions are asked for a reason and they are important.  Trust me, as much as you do not want to write a meaningless essay, my colleagues and I do not want to read them.  Yet, year after year we keep asking the questions, because they are important.  We want to know these things about you, in the case of Whitman: how you perceive diversity, why you are interested in our community of 1500 students in Walla Walla, and lastly how you think and express your thoughts.

For some clues on why these questions are important to us take a look at our website, Google these topics, page through that Whitman Admission handout one more time with “different eyes”, ask us some questions of your own.  See what we have to say, maybe you will learn something, you may get intrigued and excited, you may be struck by inspiration for your supplemental essays.  We want to see if and why these topics are important to you too.  Be deliberate, be concise, and give us a view into you and your motivations.  There is no “right” answer!  So stop taking the safe route and writing on what you think it is.

The Common Application has 456 member institutions; at the heart of each is a unique school and community.  This is what the supplements try to get at.  This is why we ask these pesky questions.  In your answers we hope to honestly find a little of Whitman and what we value.  Good luck Class of 2016, we look forward to reading your applications!

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