Give College Essay Academy a try!
The Requirements: 4 short answers of 160 characters
The University of Maryland application is all about budgeting your words and energy. With a list of rapidfire short answer questions at the heart of this supplement, prepare to make every character count!
The key to nailing this section is brainstorming. When you see fill-in-the-blanks like these, it’s easy to assume that admissions is looking for a specific response. To avoid falling into this trap, free your mind and spend a few minutes jotting down as many things as you can think of for each sentence. Literally set a timer and force yourself to keep your pencil moving (or fingers tapping) for the entire time. No idea is too silly. The more you go with your gut, the more likely you are to come up with a unique and truly personal answer, and in the end, that’s really what admissions is looking for. Short answers like these (less than a tweet!) present a great opportunity for you to show off your creativity, ingenuity, and sense of humor. When curating your brainstormed ideas, aim for breadth. If you’ve always wanted to travel to Easter Island to measure the moai (🗿) and perform engineering experiments, then your interesting fact had better not be located anywhere near the Pacific Ocean. As with any other essay type, each micro answer should tell admissions something new.
Additional info essays like this one are the only ones we will ever consider truly optional. Proceed with extreme caution if you are considering writing one. Unlike any other prompt, this is not your one last shot to tell admissions a great story; it is a tool for students who have faced uniquely challenging hardships that have affected their academic performance or extracurricular involvement. It can allow you to reclaim control over a situation that may have, at one time, felt like it was controlling you: illness, grief, financial hardship. If this sounds like you, then we strongly encourage you to write this essay so that admissions has every side of the story. Otherwise, we’d advise you to skip it. A trivial story could end up annoying your application reader.