Say 'so long' to the supplemental essay
Lunder House is the destination for prospective students on the Hill. The Office of Admissions has decided to do away with the supplemental essay portion of the application for the high school class of 2011.
As of this fall, prospective students will no longer face the task of writing a personal composition in response to one of five thoughtful quotes as part of the College’s supplementary application. A decision made by the admissions staff, President William D. Adams and the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, the College has eliminated its supplement beginning with applicants from the high school class of 2011.
Director of Admissions Steve Thomas said the College looked to its NESCAC peers when making the decision to eliminate this component of the application. With Middlebury College and Trinity College recently choosing to do away with their supplements, Colby has decided to follow the trend.
Thomas hopes the cut back on requirements will lead to a greater number of applicants. “I think what happens is that a lot of students, particularly with a school geographically out on the edge, [are] going, ‘I’m not gonna look at you, it’s too far way, it’s too cold’ and then if it's too cold and you have to write another essay, that's not a good combination for encouraging people to look or to apply,” he said.
Additionally, eliminating the essay could help draw more applications from students simply ‘shopping around’ for schools: students looking at similar liberal arts institutions might be more inclined to apply to the College if no additional writing is required.
The College may be missing out on a set of strong applicants simply because of its supplement, yet the essay itself was rarely a significant factor in admissions decisions, Thomas said. “We felt maybe this essay wasn’t necessary and was discouraging some applications that we wanted to see.”
While the longer essay component no longer exists, applicants are still asked to briefly discuss their interest in the College. Thomas believes that this writing sample and the general common application essay will suffice in order for a proper admissions decision to be made. Dean of Admissions Parker Beverage notes that all applicants will still have the option of submitting additional writing samples if they feel such pieces would improve their candidacy. Overall, the decision to eliminate the supplemental essay reflects the College’s continuing commitment to attracting a broad range of applicants and maintaining accessibility.