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Macalester College 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Macalester College 2019-2020 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 3 essays of 500 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Personal statement, Community

Application forms like this often require people to uncomfortably categorize their race, ethnicity, gender, or other identities by checking boxes. Is there anything about your (or your family’s) background that you would like us to know that is not addressed elsewhere in your application? If so, please elaborate.

This is a great opportunity to share the nuances of your background or family history with admissions. Has your family lived in the same town for multiple generations? Maybe you’re the first person in your family to go to college. Maybe you were raised by your mother and grandmother. Look back to how your upbringing shaped who you’ve become and what factors contributed to your unique perspective and position in life. Beyond your upbringing and family, the concept of your “identity” is up for interpretation. You can consider the different roles you play within your family, friend groups, or online community–mother-figure, coach, shoulder to cry on, etc–or you can reveal more of your inner-self, something people can’t see from a cursory glance at your application. This prompt is pretty wide open, so feel free to explore any area of your life that you haven’t gotten to talk about yet. Remember, though: this is a chance to advocate for yourself and show admissions why they’d be lucky to have you in their student body. 

Has there been a significant fluctuation in your grades at any point during grades 9-12 (up or down)? If so, please tell us the reason(s) for the changes.

Let us start by saying: This prompt is not for everyone. If your GPA has not dramatically increased or decreased during your high school career, move along. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Yes! An opportunity for me to explain!” then read on.

Your transcripts are like Garfield Minus Garfield (if you don’t know what this is, you’re welcome). Sure, we can see that something’s changed from frame to frame, but we don’t know why. Grades need context. Admissions doesn’t know why or how things happened–good or bad. Take a look at your grades and note any anomalies or odd jumps/drops. Think back to that time in your life and tell your story. Maybe you’d moved schools or had a sports injury. Maybe you started meeting with a tutor after school and climbed from a fall semester C in geometry to a spring semester A. No matter your story, you are not alone in your journey of ups and downs–high school is a veritable war zone of distractions and possibilities. And, remember, everyone loves a comeback.

Macalester is one of few highly selective liberal arts colleges located in the middle of a metropolitan area. Students benefit from the strong sense of community on campus and opportunities to engage in academic, social, and civic engagement options in the Twin Cities. Have you thought about how Macalester’s location might impact your experience? If so, in what ways?

When you attend a college, you also become an integral part of the city in which you live. Whether you’re working part-time at a cafe or playing on a rec soccer league, you will be rubbing elbows with locals. What does St. Paul have to offer you? Do some research on neighborhoods and public spaces (museums, parks, etc.). Imagine you’re there on your first weekend, what do you do? Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to visit the campus and surrounding city, if so, what did you notice? This is your chance to not only imagine your future, but also help admissions envision you as a thriving member of their community.

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