Approaching the Wellesley Supplemental Essay 2019-2020

Padya Paramita

Approaching the Wellesley Supplemental Essay 2019-2020

If you’re applying to Wellesley College this year, you might be in search of an environment which provides resources for women, transgender, and nonbinary students to succeed in the fields of their interest regardless of their background. When I was a student at the school, I met a different individual almost every week who had done something super cool before getting there. So in order to impress the admissions officers at this competitive liberal arts college, I can tell you that you’ve got to be as specific as you can about your passions when you tackle the Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020

Unlike a lot of other schools, you only have to write one 400-word essay for your Wellesley application. But like many colleges, this institution does ask why you’ve picked it. So, it's a “why this school essay,” but with a twist. Wellesley provides you with a list of 100 of its most wonderful and inspiring departments, extracurriculars, resources, traditions, and alumnae to choose from for your response. To guide you through the Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020 writing process, I’ve outlined the prompt, the dos and don’ts, along with additional tips to make sure you make the most of this mandatory component.

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Prompt for the Wellesley Supplemental Essay 2019-2020 

When choosing a college community, you are choosing a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. Generations of inspiring women have thrived in the Wellesley community, and we want to know what aspects of this community inspire you to consider Wellesley. We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but the “Wellesley 100” is a good place to start. Visit The Wellesley 100 and let us know, in two well-developed paragraphs, which two items most attract, inspire, or energize you and why. (400 words)

The Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020 asks you to respond to a question they ask every year. While certain inclusions within the Wellesley 100 change with the introduction of new clubs or the induction of new alums, this prompt gets even more specific rather than simply asking you “why Wellesley?” The college has provided you with the most valuable resources they have to offer as inspiration for your answer. They’ve given you the scope! And while 200 words isn’t many for each of your entries, Wellesley specifies that your paragraphs need to be “well-developed.” Clearly you need to be thoughtful in how you put your ideas together. So, the real challenge here is not what two items you’ve picked, but why you’ve chosen them. 

You might be overwhelmed at the idea of 100 things to choose from for your topic. You might be wondering where to even start. To make your search easier, the Wellesley 100 is divided into the following categories:

  • Academic Life
  • Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Alumnae
  • Athletics
  • Campus
  • Off Campus
  • Resources 
  • Social Life

Since you get to pick two items, you could easily go for one which reflects your academic interests, and one which provides more context on what you’re looking for from your college experience in terms of community, extracurricular activities, resources, location, and more. The best place to start is to carefully browse through the Wellesley 100 website and reading the little blurbs for the entries that call out to you the most. You have to be deliberate in your choices. Some of the options are more unique to Wellesley than others. You can find study abroad programs, a crew team, and traditions at most prestigious colleges. Think about some of the opportunities you can find only at Wellesley, such as:

  • Albright Institute
  • Angela Carpenter’s Invented Language class
  • Boston Marathon (passing through campus!)
  • El Table
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Lake Day
  • Schiff Fellows
  • Science Hill
  • SCoop
  • Whitin Observatory
  • WHACK
  • Yanvalou
  • 24-Hour Shakespeare

The majority of your essay should focus on why you’ve made your choice. What do you want to tell the admissions officer about your academic and extracurricular interests? When I wrote my supplemental essay, I picked The Creative Writing Department and 24-hour Shakespeare as my two selections. I wanted the admissions officers to know that I was excited by the opportunity to learn from mentors who were published authors. I also wanted a fun outlet for my love for literature by experiencing the festival where students read Shakespeare plays all over campus for 24 hours straight. Striking a balance between showing the intellectual and creative sides of you is a good way to tackle this essay. 

Focus your response on connecting your interest to what appeals to you about Wellesley. If you’re a budding environmentalist, you have several options such as Wellesley’s unique Paulson Ecology Initiative, which encourages students t0 pursue various initiatives from building benches out of fallen trees to studying the campus’ water resources. You could mention whether you would conduct such a project as part of a thesis project or independent study. Another part of the Wellesley 100 you could fit into this theme is SCoop, or the Sustainability Co-operative, where I actually lived my junior and senior year! Aside from cooking – and sometimes growing – their own food, SCoop encourages members to think about sustainability not just in terms of the environment, but also cultural, financial, and social sustainability. No matter what your choices are, they shouldn’t feel random. Think about a balance of extracurriculars and academics. The reader must be able to determine what draws you to the school, along with the clubs and departments you’re most likely to contribute to on campus if you are accepted. 

Don’t emphasize your time in high school too much. Your Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020 should highlight why you’re most excited by the Wellesley 100 topics you’ve chosen, and how you hope to take advantage of them.

Additional Tips for Writing the Wellesley Supplemental Essays 2019-2020

  • Think About What Matters to You – The key to writing the Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020 lies in thinking about which areas of academics and extracurriculars you’re most drawn to, what your goals in the near and distant future are, and what you’re looking forward to the most from your college experience. Admissions officers want an honest reflection of what excites you about this school. Every item on the Wellesley 100 list exists for a reason – the reader just wants to sense genuine excitement for what you discuss. You’ll write a more compelling essay if you cover topics that actually call out to you.
  • Use Anecdotes if Applicable – If your Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020 was inspired by a quote you read on the college website, a conversation with an admissions officer at a college fair, or a class you sat in on if you were able to attend Discover Wellesley weekend, include these in the form of anecdotes. An important part of convincing admissions officers that you’re making a well-informed decision is by backing it up with evidence of your research. So, if you’ve got a story associated with your selection, it would definitely boost your response.
  • Research is Still Important – Even though you’re picking your answer from a curated list, you still have to conduct research before writing the Wellesley supplemental essay 2019-2020. When you click an item on the 100 that appeals to you, the description only contains a couple of lines on why it’s special. Learning more about it requires in-depth reading on your part because you need to write about 200 words on each item! Even though your response shouldn’t be a description of what the topic is, admissions officers should be able to take away that you’re knowledgeable about what you’ve covered in your essay. So, don’t just make up things about the English and Creative Writing Department or the Wellesley-Brandeis Orchestra. Learn more about them before working on your answer! 

While the Wellesley 100 might seem intimidating at first glance, it can help to narrow your search down to what you’re looking forward to the most when it comes to your college experience. By capturing why certain resources and programs appeal to you over others, not only can you showcase your personality and interests, but you can use it as an opportunity to portray a more elaborate glimpse of your enthusiasm for this top liberal arts school.

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