Do you want to apply to US universities? This is the fourth part of our 5-part US college supplements series. This one will focus on the Community Involvement Essay!
I applied to 10 universities in the United States and wrote nearly 30 individual supplemental essays for them in total. After having applied to and receiving acceptances from several top US universities so far, I believe that I can share some of my experience about different types of college essays. I will also include example responses of supplemental essays that got me accepted into those colleges!
What are college supplements?
Supplemental essays are college-specific and are of varying length. They provide a chance for applicants to provide more information about themselves—why they chose the majors they did, why they chose the university, and even some fun personal information.
Why are they important?
Aside from the main 650-word common application essay (or personal statement), these supplements allow students to express more of an interest in the specific university they are applying to and to reveal other aspects of themselves that may not already have been mentioned.
Tips on how to write a Community Involvement essay
This essay asks students to talk about a community they are part of and their role in it. Many universities also use this essay to assess whether a student would be a great fit in their own communities!
1. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!
There are so many routes you can take with this essay. You can talk about your ethnicity and upbringing, an extracurricular group you are part of (I advise not to do this if you already wrote a supplement similar to the Extracurricular essay for the same university), or even pick an abstract community of sorts. Pick the one that is most unique to you!
2. Don’t be afraid to get creative and find your niche!
Try to be creative and specific. Instead of saying you belong to the badminton community at your school, you could hone in and talk about how you belong to the “singles” player community. Or, you could talk about a personality trait—how you belong to a community of ambiverts! Whatever it may be, try to make sure it is not something that numerous other applicants would write about. Even if it is, always find your unique spin on topics!
3. Describe the significance of this community
What is your role in this community? Are you just a member, or also a leader? What did it teach you? What types of people fit into this community? Include all of this juicy information!
4. Tie your essay into how you will contribute to the community at the university
This is an important tip, as universities want students who are passionate about building community and want to see how you will keep up your engagement at the university. Will you be center stage in every university play? Will you be the first speaker in every university mock trial? Let them know what extracurriculars you will join and how your personality and values will contribute to the university as a whole.
My personal experience
I also had to write an essay like this for my University of Michigan supplements. For this essay, I chose to focus on my choir community, as I have been singing in choirs since 5th grade, but more specifically the alto community. I characterised altos as a vocal part that is often overpowered by sopranos and basses, but one that is still so integral to a choir as a whole. Here is my intro!
"We are not always seen or heard right away. Our voices often seem to disappear like wispy clouds. I belong to the community of alto singers! Although overlooked sometimes, a choir would never be complete without us.”
Here is another example essay excerpt from the College Essay Guy’s Website:
Do I consider myself Korean or American?
“A few years back, I would have replied: ‘Neither.’ The frustrating moments of miscommunication, the stifling homesickness, and the impossible dilemma of deciding between the Korean or American table in the dining hall, all fueled my identity crisis.“Essay example excerpt from the College Essay Guy Website
Keep in mind that intentionally is very important. Your responses to these essays can serve the purpose of building your package in a particular area of study or adding variety and dimension to your essay. US college admissions are holistic! Your essays are not the sole factor that will determine your acceptance. Think of it as the cherry on top!