How To Write the Trinity College Supplement

Trinity College is a small, selective liberal arts school in Hartford, CT. With about 2,300 undergraduates enrolled, Trinity prides itself on being an “urban” liberal arts school. Their supplement is interesting and requires students to defend their opinions and perspectives on multiple issues. Here’s how we tackle it:

Please consider writing an additional, optional essay that focuses on your specific interest in Trinity College. You may select one of the following prompts and write an essay of 250-650 words.

We live in an urban-global age with over half of the planet's inhabitants living in cities. Trinity College is an urban liberal arts college deeply engaged with the local community and committed to making an impact across the world. How do you aspire to use your education to impact local and global communities?

The first thing to take note of is this essay’s length requirements. 250-650 words means that the successful students err on the side of 650. This is a solid one page essay. There are four parts to this essay which we will go through one by one, but it’s important to keep in mind a few things when you’re writing this. 1) you’re making an argument in an attempt to convince the reader that whatever issue you’re focusing on is important. 2) your reader is a Trinity admissions person. It’s always crucial to take your audience into account, so don’t forget who this essay is actually to: Trinity. Despite the fact that this question vaguely resembles something that might be asked on a Miss Teen USA Pageant stage, we’ve broken down how to best approach this question in a few steps. Here we go:

Step 1: find your issue

Decide what you want to focus your essay on. Choose a topic that you have a personal connection to, and we always encourage our students to choose a topic that is smaller and more local vs. larger and more global. Choosing an issue that you have a personal connection to makes your essay easier to write, easier to relate to from the reader’s point of view, and ultimately creates the foundation for a much stronger essay. If you start to write this essay and realize that you’re stretching to create a personal connection to your issue, choose a different one. Don’t try to make it work. For example, a student that we had last year wrote about expanding and nurturing local green spaces in her neighborhood.

Step 2: provide background on your topic and tell your issue’s story

Paint the picture and set it up for the reader. Your relationship with this topic should illustrate why it matters to you, and thus, why it should matter to others. How you relate to your topic should draw the reader in because it provides context for your interest.

Our student last year was born in Sun Valley, where she grew up hiking and skiing nearly every weekend with her friends and family before moving to New York when she was 12. The lack of green space to dive into was a big challenge for her until a local community garden opened up in her neighborhood of Long Island City. Because the neighborhood was in transition, the concept of a community garden was new and she was able to contribute greatly and involve herself in the upkeep. Her story was about how community gardens do great things for neighborhoods and bring people together in a way similar to how you’d expect to see neighbors on the ski mountains in Idaho. You’d come to expect neighbors to drop by the garden. She became fascinated by this phenomenon and began to do research on how human interaction with nature contributes to happiness and other measurements of qualities of life.

The last part of this paragraph should essentially be your thesis, as well as where you must tie in Trinity. Why does this matter to you and how will Trinity help you explore this interest further? This will introduce what you plan to study at Trinity.

Step 3: Tie it all together in the classroom

Delve into what you just outlined in terms of your academic pursuits at Trinity. What do you want to study? What classes are you interested in? Our student last year expanded on her interests by studying Environmental Science, but she also wanted to study Sociology so she could better understand how communities operate and organize. This is the academic portion of the “Why X School?” essay, but tailored to the context and organization of this essay.

Step 4: Tie in your community contribution.

How do you plan on utilizing your interest to contribute positively to the Trinity community? Because education is a holistic process, it is crucial to integrate how you want to involve yourself in the larger cultural context of the school. What kinds of clubs do you want to join? What organizations are you interested in volunteering or working with that have partnerships with Trinity (or who don’t!)?

Step 5: Wrap it up and conclude

One item of note is that Trinity prides itself on being an “urban liberal arts college,” so it’s important that you touch on that very point. Why will going to school in Hartford, CT specifically, one of the more intense cities in the Northeast, contribute to your journey? Tie it all together. Why are you passionate about Trinity (you’ve already said it throughout the essay, just reframe it for the conclusion) and why is it critical to your academic and personal success?

Our Mission States: Trinity College is a community united in a quest for excellence in liberal arts education. Our purpose is to foster critical thinking, free the mind of parochialism and prejudice, and prepare students to lead examined lives that are personally satisfying, civically responsible, and socially useful. How would you engage the mission of Trinity College during your years on campus?

This question is essentially asking you why a liberal arts education is best. You should discuss why this specific structure of education is not only important, but crucial indeed to accomplishing your goals. It’s more philosophical of a question than it reads at first glance, and one of the few philosophically-leaning questions that occur throughout college supplements. Obviously we love it.

We’ll give you our opinion on a liberal arts education and you can adapt accordingly. Make sure you do your research. See who agrees and doesn’t. A liberal arts education provides students with a broad set of analytical thinking skills and knowledge of the world through various lenses. You’re able to take computer science, philosophy, and comparative literature classes all in the same semester and earn a degree in something specific as a result. The education structure itself, though, is based on a belief that the world is a changing place and you are going to need to be able to adapt throughout your life intellectually. At this point, the future of many industries is unclear and unsure. One thing we are sure about, though, is that we will all be required to produce a wide range of material throughout our careers, as well as live and work in a diverse set of environments and spaces. The risk that you run with a specialized degree is, what if that degree becomes obsolete? A liberal arts education is the best possible preparation that you can have for the global economy that we are in.

By taking as many different classes as possible, from theoretical physics to philosophy, psychology, and chemistry, you’re learning how to analyze information through endless lenses as well as learning how to contextualize information. In short, you’re learning how to think and make decisions. The former skill might be the most valuable that a liberal arts education has to offer. Choose some classes that you find fascinating that illustrate these points and make your own argument advocating on behalf of a liberal arts education. The above is just our opinion.

These essays are deceivingly difficult, but we know that you can create some incredibly strong pieces of writing in response to these questions. We’re here if you need any help.