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Davidson College 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Guide

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Davidson College 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations

This Davidson supplement is as classic as apple pie, featuring three of the most common question types around. So whether you’re just gearing up or at the end of the admissions road, you’re in luck. Since these prompts are likely to come up on other applications, you’ll probably be able to recycle what you write for Davidson. Or on the other end of the spectrum, if this is the last supplement you have to write, you’ll likely be able to recycle or rework an existing essay! Whatever the case, just remember that details are key. Admissions can sense when you’re writing from a template, so focus on specificity. If your essay could be about any other student or any other school, you may need to dig deeper.

The Requirements: Why, Oddball, Activity
Supplemental Essay Type(s): 1 essay of 250-300 words, 1 essay of 250 words, and 1 attachment.

Why Davidson? (Attachment: 250-300 Suggested Word Limit)

It doesn’t get simpler than this. But your reason for applying to a small liberal arts school like Davidson is crucial… you’re going to be a member of a tight knit campus with less than 2,000 students! Your enthusiasm and drive to be a part of the Davidson community will have a tangible impact, so you’d better sell it. If you want to write a convincing essay, there’s no replacement for (or shortcut through) a solid hour of research on the school website. (And if you can manage a campus visit, we’d highly recommend it!) Dig into the details that will make your college experience come to life: courses you’d take, excursions you’d go on, labs you’d join… get the picture? Once you have a hefty few pages of notes, you can begin to cull through them for the details that will make your essay. As you pick and choose, think about how you can combine them to also reveal something clear about yourself. Are you a mathematician with a musical side? Perhaps your interdisciplinary interests will lead you to the Davidson Symphony Orchestra, the music library, and eventually, an epic composition based on the golden ratio! The point is: aim to paint a cohesive picture of yourself; once the research is done, all the details you need will be at your fingertips.

List the books you have read in the past year for school or leisure. Place an asterisk by those books required for classes you have taken. (Attachment)

While some schools may ask that you editorialize your book list, in this case, Davidson wants it straight up. Just give them a brain dump of everything you’ve read. There’s really nothing to it. Just be honest! We know we probably don’t have to say this, but here it goes: don’t inflate your list with titles you’ve never read because admissions will smell the lie; and don’t omit books you see as guilty pleasures, either! A complete book list paints a complete picture of who you are, how your brain works, and what you do to relax. The one area where you might have a little fun is how you organize the titles: thematically, chronologically, alphabetically. Since you submit this list as an attachment, there’s no real word or format limit (other than common sense), so there’s room for you to play around with the structure or even add a clever title if you feel so inclined. The point is, do what comes naturally. There’s no wrong way to write a list.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (200 Word Limit)

Another supplement classic! The Activity essay gives you an opportunity to go beyond the mini description on your Common App activity list, and it’s one of the only times when it’s okay to repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application. That said, the point is to “elaborate” and reveal something new about yourself and your experiences. So first and foremost: choose wisely! That means if you wrote your Common App personal statement about your journey into the world of competitive Scrabble, there had better be nary a tile nor double word score in this essay. (And multi-season athletes, track and cross-country are not so different that they warrant separate essays!) Long-term activities are often a natural choice. If you’ve been dancing ballet since childhood, your essay about it will likely demonstrate your commitment, drive, and growth. Perhaps you’ve even taken on a leadership role in your studio mentoring young dancers. On the other hand, writing about a newer addition to your resume — like a job or internship — could provide an opportunity for you to showcase your ambition and willingness to challenge yourself. Whatever you choose, be clear about the point you aim to make about yourself, and focus on one or two key anecdotes that will help underscore your best qualities.

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!
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