To Get To Know You Better
Many colleges have supplements to the Common Application for two reasons: (1) to determine how much the applicant knows about and wants to go to the school; and (2) to ask specific questions of the applicant that the general Common Application prompts do not cover. Many schools include the following question in their supplements: "Why us?" They want to know why the applicant has chosen to apply to their particular school. Schools use this question to determine an applicant's "demonstrated interest" and to gauge the student's enthusiasm for the school. If a student knows quite a lot about the school through alumni, school visits, etc., a student will be able to answer this question with lots of telling details. This signals to the school that the student has a strong interest in the school and is more likely to accept an offer than a student who has less of demonstrated interest. Schools also use supplements to gauge a student's "fit" with the general tenor and vibe of the school. Some schools have a unique personality, and they want to make sure that students can find a solid place within that community. For example, the University of Chicago offers students extremely unusual essay prompts such as "Don't write about reverse psychology" and "Tell us about your non-scientific method." You can really tell a lot about this school and about the type of students they attract by such creative, whimsical and thought-provoking prompts!