Analyzing the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay 2021-2022

Padya Paramita

Analyzing the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay 2021-2022

Your reason behind applying to Vanderbilt University might have been inspired by the opportunity to learn from esteemed instructors at the Blair School of Music, or the chance to work with one of the school’s 30 registered student service groups. If you’ve done your research, you might already know that its campus itself is a natural arboretum and may be thrilled to continue activities related to nature. Or, you’ve always been fascinated about why Vanderbilt is the “Harvard of the South.” Either way, it’s time to let the admissions officers know about an activity that matters to you through the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022

While the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 doesn’t explicitly ask why you’ve chosen the school, admissions officers use the essay to determine whether you’d be a good fit for Vanderbilt—and vice versa—through your response. Take advantage of this prompt to discuss an activity that has made an impact on you, and one where you believe you have left your mark. In reading your essay, Vanderbilt wants to know what unique qualities and experiences you bring and which parts of campus you’re likely to contribute to if accepted to the university. To guide you through the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022, I’ve outlined the question, the dos and don'ts for your response, and some more tips to help you write a successful answer.

Prompt for the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay 2021-2022

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (200-400 words)

If it seems like Vanderbilt doesn’t have supplemental essays just because there’s no separate writing section, think again. Hidden in the activities section of Vanderbilt’s Common Application page, this short essay should not be overlooked, as it’s a great opportunity to tell admissions officers about an extracurricular that matters to you. Remember that Vanderbilt admissions officers have already seen your personal statement through the Common App. It’s important that you cover an entirely different experience in the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 as they don’t want to read about the same thing over and over. Think about an activity that has had a significant impact on you that you haven’t elaborated on elsewhere in your application. This can include a club at school, an initiative you’ve started, a volunteering experience, or an internship or job you’ve had.

You shouldn’t spend any more than 100 words naming and describing the activity. Admissions officers want to know less about what you do daily as part of the activity, and more on how it has helped hone your leadership skills and influenced who you are. The key focus of your response should lie in explaining why it has had such a powerful impact on you. Has this experience enriched your connection to your community? Is it connected to your interests and goals? Is there a direct connection between your ideal career and the role you played while participating in this particular extracurricular? Anecdotes are important in getting your point across successfully. Think about instances that emphasize why this activity matters so much to you. Why does it stand out over your other experiences?

Even though you haven’t been asked “Why Vanderbilt” directly, think about the types of activities that students are engaged in at the school, and try to find connections between your activity and Vanderbilt’s offerings. Is there an organization at the university where you’d be able to continue similar work? How does Vanderbilt’s commitment to community engagement align with the activity you’ve chosen?

Your choice of extracurricular should reflect the type of experience that holds the most meaning to you personally, because after all, this is your college application. Admissions officers don’t want an essay outlining seemingly impressive activities that you think they want to hear. The Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 should provide more information about who you are and what enjoy. Make sure to reflect on how this activity has shaped your perspective and the role it plays in your aspirations.

More Tips for the Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay 2021-2022

  • Think about your leadership role and commitment - When brainstorming the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022, you have to be strategic. The activity you choose should not only be unique but also exemplify your commitment and biggest assets. If you were a general member in a really unusual club for half a year, it’s not the best selection if you didn’t do much. Vanderbilt looks for community leaders who are dedicated to their field. Write about an extracurricular where you’ve been involved for an admirable period of time and taken initiative. Just saying you were a leader isn’t enough either – show your leadership through anecdotes and tangible achievements in your essay.
  • Be wary of your activities list description - Since you’re elaborating on a meaningful activity, you should ideally capitalize on the short space provided to describe your achievements with the club or organization. That being said, your Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 is chance to expand upon—instead of repeating—what you’ve written earlier in the Common Application. Admissions officers expect each component of your application to convey new information about you. Mentioning the same things you’ve touched upon elsewhere in the Common App is not strategic. Read back on what you’ve written in the activities section before you write the essay so that you can make sure that all of the information you’ve provided is new.
  • Take advantage of the word limit - Even though the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 has provided you with a minimum word count of 200 words, you should take advantage of the upper limit. Although a 400-word limit isn’t too high, it’s generous enough to write an informative essay that demonstrates your passion and commitment to a significant extracurricular. Take advantage of the space you’ve got to introduce the activity, go into anecdotes, and draw a conclusion that makes it clear to admissions officers why this activity holds a special place in your heart. 


Since you don’t have multiple prompts to convey to admissions officers who you are and what makes you unique, the Vanderbilt supplemental essay 2021-2022 must not be taken lightly. Don’t miss this opportunity to highlight your interests and goals by writing a response that demonstrates your passion and dedication to an important extracurricular activity. It’s time to impress the admissions officers with your commitment. Good luck!

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