Applications University

US College Supplements: Extracurriculars

Do you want to apply to US universities? This is the third part of our 5-part US college supplements series. This one will focus on the Extracurriculars 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 an Extracurriculars essay

This essay often asks students to elaborate on a meaningful extracurricular activity they have been involved in. Admissions officers want to learn about what values, skills, and qualities you have as an individual outside of the classroom.

1. Brainstorm a list of extracurriculars and pick one!

Spend some time brainstorming your most meaningful extracurricular activities. Be intentional with this—you may want to pick one that relates to your chosen major (or not, if you have already talked enough about your major!), or one that you have seen the most growth and passion in. 

2. Come up with a meaningful structure

You can talk about challenges you faced, roles you took on, and projects you carried out. Take the readers through the story of your journey with this extracurricular. 

3. Describe the impact of this activity

What significance does this have to you, your community, or the world around you? Conclude with a meaningful paragraph synthesizing your information, and expressing hopes of continuing to do more in university and beyond. 

This excerpt below shows a nice synthesis:

“Through my work with the Red Cross, and in my interactions with survivors and rescuers who assisted during Hurricane Katrina, I’ve come to discover how teaching even just small preparedness procedures to individuals can help save entire communities.”

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 overall package 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!

Helpful sources


Check out the rest of the US College Application Supplements Series:

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