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How to Write an Excellent Extracurricular Essay

Most colleges require the Common Application personal statement. Many colleges also require applicants to submit additional supplemental essays. These supplemental essays ask students to respond to a wide variety of topics: their most meaningful activity or experience, an important community they belong to, even something which brings them joy. Below you will find our top tips for crafting a strong student activity/experience essay.

Read the prompt carefully

Many students are eager to showcase their many talents and activities. However, follow

directions and answer the prompt. If a college asks you to highlight ONE activity or experience, do not provide an exhaustive list.

Pick your topic

It is important to remember that every essay is another chance for you to promote yourself as a strong candidate for the college. When choosing a topic, tie your essay into something that is meaningful to you. If you can SHOW your passion rather than just tell about it, you will have a stronger essay. Likewise, if you are passionate about an experience or activity, you will have an easier time writing about it.

Writing Topics

An activity in which you held an active leadership role. An activity you were or have been really committed to in terms of time and involvement. An activity that is meaningful, e.g., one that reflects your heritage or a challenge you or a family member faced.

Structure your essay around a story

Pick an anecdote that illustrates why the experience or activity is meaningful to you, how you

made an impact, and what you gained from the experience. Perhaps you choose the time you

were asked to spearhead a project at your internship, or when you presented your research after months in the lab.

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