How to Write the Williams College Supplement 2016

By: Caroline Koppelman

Imagine yourself in a tutorial at Williams. Of anyone in the world, whom would you choose to be the other student in the class, and why? 

Every year there are multiple supplements that ask you to write about a person. Whether the supplement is similar to Williams, which asks you to choose a person for your class, or Barnard where you’ll have to write about having lunch with someone, this question comes up a lot. As with all supplements, there are an endless number of options.

When writing your response, you must be careful about your answer. Your answer will speak volumes about you and can greatly affect your candidacy. Like your common app essay, this is an opportunity to show a part of yourself that isn’t represented anywhere else on the application. So, you want the person you choose to be unique, thought provoking, and interesting. The admission officer should initially think, “I wonder why they chose this person?” Dig deep for this question and think about authors, chefs, actors, politicians, activists, mentors, innovators, artists, leaders of NGOs or charities, or musicians who aren’t well known. Start by thinking about the things you enjoy learning, reading, and experiencing. Your answer should expose a secret passion that you have and allow the reader to understand you more. In your answer, be ready to give context and defend your choice. You want to communicate why you chose this person out of everyone in the world. Beware of being too controversial or dark in order to stand out.
Above all else, avoid the cliché people. If you’re thinking of writing about any of the following, we strongly encourage you to go back to the drawing board. Although all of these people are okay answers, they are overdone.

Don’t write about: 

  1. Hillary Clinton 
  2. Beyonce 
  3. Lin-Manuel Miranda 
  4. Oprah 
  5. Rosa Parks 
  6. Your Grandma 
  7. Donald Trump 
  8. Elon Musk 
  9. Benjamin Franklin 
  10. Alexander Hamilton 
  11. Ghandi 
  12. The Kardashians
  13. Harriet Tubman 
  14. Hitler 
  15. Martin Luther King Jr. 
  16.  Kobe Bryant 
  17. Harry Potter 
  18. Albert Einstein 
  19. Warren Buffet 
  20. Barack Obama
  21. Marilyn Monroe 
  22. Elvis Presley 
  23. Taylor Swift 
  24. Coco Chanel 
  25. George Clooney 
  26. Pablo Picasso 
  27. Alexander the Great 
  28. Tim Cook 
  29. Marie Curie 
  30. Stephen Hawking 
  31. Caitlyn Jenner
  32. Malala Yousafzai 
  33. Bono