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Think of the Colorado College supplement as a garden path bridging the gap between your present and future. The first prompt, a classic activity essay, gives you one last chance to tell a story about you, while the next two prompts hone in on what a Colorado education will mean to you. As you organize your thoughts, it would be helpful to think about the larger story arc that guides this application. Show admissions that Colorado is the perfect next step for you.
The Requirements: 1 essay of 500 words, 2 essays of 250 words
If you’ve been aching to elaborate on your four year culinary journey as head of the cooking club, this classic activity essay is your shot! Normally, we encourage applicants to write their essays on topics that can’t be found anywhere else on their application, but in this case, it’s part of the assignment. That said, you can still find ways to tell admissions something new! The first and most obvious way is to pick an activity that hasn’t come up in the other essays you’ve written. Athletes, we’re talking to you. If you already wrote your Common App essay on being captain of the soccer team, we don’t want to see an activity essay about your difficult journey to becoming starting pitcher of the baseball team. Choose some other activity that will show dimension, good candidates include: long-term commitments that showcase your dedication and growth, like your standing tutoring date with your neighbor; activities and experiences that highlight your leadership skills, like the time you took charge to plan a more inclusive homecoming dance; or even activities that are relatively new that demonstrate maturity or intellectual curiosity, like deciding to take extra classes at the community college despite feeling intimidated by the older students. Your story could also combine any of these elements in a totally different way. The point is, choose an activity that will reveal some key strength or characteristic that admissions might not be able to glean from another part of your application.
This classic why essay goes both ways: what can Colorado do for you, and what can you do for Colorado? In other words, what’s your fit? You should start this essay the way you would any other why essay: with an hour or so of focused, thorough research on the Colorado College website. Gather details on everything from the faculty in your department, to the clubs you would want to join, to the scenic surroundings. What excites you? The notes you take will give you a solid base for your essay.* With only 250 words to play with, pick the highlights, and aim to paint a cohesive, well-rounded picture: the biologist who will go into the woods to do research, but also to sketch; or the English major who plans to explore every nook in the library, and then do it all over again in a semester abroad at University College London. With a clear description of your future life as a Colorado student, you should have an easier time envisioning your contribution. It will likely connect to your background — maybe the sketching biologist is actually a lifelong city kid with a unique lens for comparison. But it might also be more concrete — perhaps the English major would want to give back to the community by tutoring fellow students in research skills. Although this essay is brief, have fun with it and aim to spark your reader’s imagination with vivid and memorable details.
*Crucial footnote: do not dwell on Colorado’s unique Block Plan in this essay. You’ll have plenty of space to do so in the next one.
We don’t always believe in fate, but we do think that if you and CC were meant to be, this prompt will probably have you giddy with excitement. The Block Plan is a cornerstone of the CC curriculum and this prompt gives you a fun way to show what you know — to show that you get it. Your why essay research will continue to serve you well on this prompt, but make sure you have a feel for how the program works. Presenting a course that uses the right terminology and follows the basic schedule of the Block Plan will demonstrate your attention to detail and commitment to the school without you ever having to say it outright. In other words, geek out but be informed! Once you’ve got the basic structure down, the sky is the limit! Have fun and don’t overthink it. Writing up your dream course will show admissions a lot about the way your mind works. Nothing is too silly or out there. Maybe you’d want to spend three weeks watching a bunch of Disney movies as part of a larger course of study on the way young children learn empathy through media. Or perhaps you’d want to dig a little deeper, literally, and take a Block to study archaeology on site in Greece. This is a great way to show what you know about your major, but you could also take the opportunity to demonstrate how well-rounded and interdisciplinary your interests actually are. Use your imagination!