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Carleton College 2021-22 Supplemental Essay Guide

We try our best to make sure our guides are as up to date as possible, but we still recommend confirming each prompt and word count with the school in question.

Carleton College 2021-22 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 1 essay of 300 words, 1 optional essay of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Additional Information, Short Answer, Oddball

Carleton prepares students to “lead lives of learning that are broadly rewarding, professionally satisfying, and of service to humanity.” We rely on the individuals within our community to help carry out this mission and shape each other’s experiences. Please share your thoughts on one (1) of the following prompts (in no more than 300 words) of what these Carleton values look like to you:

1. I am empowered by individuals who… OR

2. I value community because… OR

3. I want to better my world by…

The best piece of advice we can give you as you approach this prompt is to trust your gut, speak from the heart, and be specific. If you try to guess at what admissions wants you to say you’ll exhaust yourself — and likely end up with generic, cliché responses. To help yourself loosen up, try a timed freewrite: set a timer for 5 minutes and jot down as many ideas as you can come up with for the sentence that most resonates with you. No stopping. No second-guessing. #NoRegrets. Be as concrete as possible. The more authentic and personal your response, the more it will jump off the page.

Anything missing? Do you want to share more with us? If so, use this space to fill any gaps you think would assist us in reviewing your application. (Optional, no more than 250 words)

This is an opportunity for you to make sure admissions has all the information at their disposal. For some applicants, this is a space to explain. Anything from a slip in your grades or scores to a long absence from school is fair game in this section. For such applicants, that could mean recounting the details of some extenuating circumstances (an injury or family emergency). Others may need to explain how getting a D in 10th grade chemistry was a wake-up call, and describe the steps they took to turn their grades around. Or, perhaps, you don’t have anything to explain, you just want to share something additional with Carleton. Maybe you have a killer quirky essay for another school that you’d like to recycle here. Or, maybe, Carleton is your top-choice and you want to impress admissions with a hearty Why essay.

Regardless of what you include, be sure to write from the heart and proofread before pressing submit!

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