Many of the colleges who use the Common Application ask students to write a supplemental essay that is unique to the school. The essay topic can vary greatly from college to college, but often you will be asked to explain why exactly you are interested in the school to which you are applying. A typical question asks something like, "Explain why our college is a good match for you." When handled well, a supplemental essay lets you show your knowledge of a college and explain your interest in the school. When handled poorly, it can present a bunch of vague ideas that really have little to do with a specific college.
Check out this sample supplemental essay for Duke University to see what you should not do on your application. As the critique of the essay will explain, the author of the essay makes many mistakes that the admissions folks see all too frequently.
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