2020-2021 Supplemental Essay Prompts: Early Releases

The first day of summer has arrived and with it, a new application season has begun. Colleges across the country are beginning to release their supplemental essays, well in advance of the application deadlines, so that students can get a jump start on their materials. These essays complement the longer Main Essay and provide applicants with opportunities to share additional information about their leadership, meaningful activities, community engagement, and intellectual experiences.

As with last year’s supplements, there is a strong “Why Essay” trend this year. In order to gauge your genuine interest in a particular school, admissions officers want to see that you have done your homework and can make a case for why you would be a good fit. Brown, for instance, asks: “Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)” Other schools, like Cornell, ask applicants to respond to the essay question that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which they are applying (i.e. the College of Arts and Sciences or one of the other six colleges on campus.) The University of Chicago, notorious for the most creative supplemental questions (written by the previous year’s incoming class), offers seven options for the extended supplemental essay. One of the more irreverent options asks, “What can actually be divided by zero?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your supplements, you are not alone. We are here to help! This summer is the perfect time to work on your supplemental essays, especially now that you have unexpected free time at home due to COVID.

Don’t delay. The more you can do NOW, the more you can focus on your senior year grades without the added stress of college applications. On August 1, the Common App, the most popular application platform, will officially “go live,” but there’s no reason to wait to start your essays until then. Work one-on-one with one of our senior counselors to craft unique, stand-out essays with our College Essay Program. Or enroll in our trademark Application Boot Camp ® , which takes place over the course of four days in August and has a few remaining seats as of today.

THE VARIOUS APPLICATION PLATFORMS

Note: Some schools, like Georgetown University, use their own application. Students interested in Georgetown must first complete and submit the Georgetown Application (a short form), which initiates the alumni interview and grants you access to the official application platform. The University of California likewise uses their own distinct application for their nine campuses.

2020-2021 SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAY PROMPTS

We’ll continue to update this list as supplements are released. Feel free to note any schools we might’ve missed in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

62 Comments

  1. Emma

    Posted on July 9, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Hello! Emory prompts should be out as well.

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 13, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      All set!

  2. Alyssa Kay

    Posted on July 10, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    What about Williams College supplemental essays

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 13, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Williams is now included. Thanks!

  3. Cristian Says :

    Posted on July 14, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Caltech is out as well

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Done! Thank you.

  4. Gabby

    Posted on July 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Amherst College’s prompts are out, too!

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:16 am

      All set!

  5. Gabby

    Posted on July 14, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Amherst College’s prompts are out

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Thanks! All set now.

  6. Sarah

    Posted on July 14, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    UNC link does not work

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Sarah! Apparently they updated their site but didn’t forward original links. We’ve updated.

  7. Radhey

    Posted on July 15, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Will this be updated as soon as they come out?

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:26 am

      We’re doing our best to keep this up to date but always appreciate a helping hand! If you learn of any that you don’t see on the list please feel free to comment.

  8. Danielle

    Posted on July 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    The University of Miami has also released a supplement

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:25 am

      All set!

  9. Sam

    Posted on July 17, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Columbia is out.

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:12 am

      All set!

  10. Natalia Berti

    Posted on July 17, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Does Northeastern have a writing supplement out?

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:12 am

      They don’t! I believe it was 2018 when they removed the supplemental essay requirement.

  11. Junior

    Posted on July 18, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Pomona has also released their supplements.

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Yes, thank you! It’s included above.

  12. Robert

    Posted on July 18, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Hi! Northwestern’s essay prompt is also out.

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Sure is! See above… thank you!

  13. Avery

    Posted on July 19, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Barnard is out as well~ https://barnard.edu/barnard-writing-supplement-questions

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Thank you! Updated…

  14. Tanonaris

    Posted on July 20, 2020 at 3:48 am

    Hi! Johns Hopkins’ essay is not out. The website says that it will be out on 1st August.

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 9:15 am

      Yes, thank you! This is our placeholder for JHU.

  15. Joe

    Posted on July 20, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Notre dame released its essays

    • Deanna

      Posted on July 21, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Yes, all set!

  16. Junior

    Posted on July 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Swarthmore is out too

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      Got it! Thx.

  17. Ryan Mogauro

    Posted on July 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Stanford is out, too.

  18. Rachel

    Posted on July 23, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Does NYU have supplements? Thank you for the list by the way.

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Out and up on our site now!

  19. Rachel

    Posted on July 23, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Does Smith College have supplements?

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      Just released today and on our site! Thx!

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 5, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      Posted today!

  20. Deven Parikh

    Posted on July 23, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Does Penn State usually have any supplements

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      We have the 19-20′ here though it’s an optional question… still waiting on 20-21′.

  21. David

    Posted on July 23, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Santa Clara University is also out, I believe

  22. Lana

    Posted on July 24, 2020 at 11:29 am

    What about NYU?

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      We don’t see it yet!

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 19, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Out now and on our site!

  23. Aria

    Posted on July 25, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    UPenn is out too!

  24. Ariel

    Posted on July 27, 2020 at 1:01 am

    Rice University and Washington University (St. Louis) also released their prompts

  25. Aria

    Posted on July 27, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    UPenn is also out!

  26. Jane

    Posted on July 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Penn State? Ohio State?

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Not yet…

  27. Tanonaris

    Posted on July 28, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Stanford, MIT and UPenn are out. I can’t see the essay for Northwestern.

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      It’s there. Thanks.

  28. Jessie

    Posted on July 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Did Vanderbilt’s prompts come out yet?

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 3, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      Not that we’re aware of…

  29. windycity

    Posted on August 10, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Did Washington&Lee’s prompts come out yet?

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 13, 2020 at 10:38 am

      We don’t see it yet.

    • Deanna

      Posted on August 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      They’re out now and up on our site!

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