How to Write the Lafayette College Supplement

Lafayette College is a liberal arts college in Easton, PA. They also have a micro campus in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City. The college has about 2,500 undergraduates. Their supplement is interesting—there are 3 components and the length is varied. Read on for our tips:

Why Lafayette? (20-200 words)

There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations. In response to the prompt below, keep it simple – choose one activity and add depth to our understanding of your involvement.

The length requirements of this are interesting—really, they just are telling you that they want a brief explanation of “Why Lafayette?” So listen to what they’re saying. So much of completing college supplements is reading the questions and truly understanding what they are asking of you. In this case, keep it brief, per their suggestion.

To complete a “Why X School?” supplement question, you need to do some research. Though they are asking for you to identify one activity that you do and expand on your involvement, your activities list is already on your application. That’s where the research comes in. It’s necessary to weave in how you will incorporate your interest in that activity into your involvement in the Lafayette community. As such, you should mention at least 1 extracurricular activity at Lafayette that is somehow connected (though not identical), in addition to a couple of academic initiatives. Whether that is your major, a minor, or a class you are dying to take with a certain professor, you need to keep it focused and intentional. We advise against our students introducing a completely new academic interest in their supplement because it makes the supplement feel inconsistent with the rest of your application. Your entire application should tell a story without repeating itself. No sharp turns.

What do you do? Why do you do it? (20-200 words).

The response to this question is optional.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again—this is not optional. No “optional” part of a college supplement is optional. If you don’t complete an optional portion of a supplement it says to the college is that you’re not serious about them and you don’t really care if you get it. It’s squandering an opportunity to exhibit your verbal and mental skills. We require all of our students to complete every single part of a college supplement. If you’re not that excited about a college and are just applying to add another college to your list, then don’t apply. Back to the drawing board. Find a college that you’d be ecstatic to attend.

As for tackling this nebulous question, keep one thing in mind: they already know how you spend your time, functionally. They have your resume, your activities list, and your personal statement. This is a chance to be creative and mention something that they don’t know from reading your application. Keep it small, accessible, and something that you do with somewhat of a routine. It should indeed reflect who you are and what is important to you.” Some ideas we had:

  • “I cook dinner for my family every Thursday. Lately I’ve been on a homemade pizza kick.”
  • “Sandra, who lives in my building, goes food shopping every Saturday morning. She lives on the 3rd floor. We cross paths as I am running out to get to tennis and I like to grab her cart and run it upstairs.”
  • “I like to take candid photos of my family with my phone. It’s interesting to see how different we look even in photos I took 6 months ago.”
  • “Currently perfecting my recipe for Cacio e Pepe. The only thing I have left to nail down is the Pecorino to Romano cheese ratio.”
  • “I do the NYTimes crossword. Right now, I’m on the Thursday level. I can get about ½ way through the Saturday. I’m determined.”
  • “I say a toast at dinner. We aren’t religious, so we don’t say grace or a prayer. But I like the tradition of ‘cheers’ing and clinking glasses. I keep it short. Last night I just said, ‘Happy Wednesday. It was super rainy and annoying, but I’m so excited to eat this pesto chicken.’”

As you can see, all of these are small actions that are done with regularity but that do not have any bearing on your long-term career goals. It’s a chance to elaborate on a part of your day or week that probably isn’t a part of another person’s day or week. It provides some insight on your humanity and your priorities. Don’t overthink this one.

If you wish to include a copy of your resume as part of your application, please upload it here.

100% complete this portion. Upload your awesomely formatted resume. Don’t have one or not quite sure how to format it? Read up. We got you.

Let us know if you need any help at all with this one--it’s deceivingly challenging because of the length requirements and the resume component. We’re happy to help you brainstorm, edit, or write up a great supplement.