How to Write the Washington And Lee Supplement

Washington and Lee University is a small liberal arts school of about 1,800 undergraduates. It’s located in Lexington, VA. It is known for being academically rigorous, and students who attend greatly embrace the outdoors. It has been coeducational for only 37 years, having admitted its first class of women in 1985. The university also operates on a peculiar schedule—each year is comprised of Fall term and Winter term, where classes are in session for 3 months before finals period begins, and then there is Spring term. Spring term is only 4 weeks long, and students take just 1 class during that time period. It’s a time to delve deep into a particular subject. Students get a lot out of studying something specific for a short period of time, as all of their attention is devoted to that one class. However, before enjoying their interesting academic schedule, you have to get in. We break down their supplement below:

All items on Washington and Lee's Writing Supplement are optional.
Please elaborate on how you have familiarized yourself with Washington and Lee University and what led to your decision to apply. This is an optional question but if you choose to answer this question there is a 100-word minimum and 250-word maximum.

First, we’ve said it once and we’ll say it (and write it) again: nothing is optional. Although they have that disclaimer, it’s imperative that you understand that when you’re given the opportunity to show (not tell) a school more information about you and give them more reasons to let you in, you take it. 100 words is nothing. This paragraph is 78 in total, so you want to err on the 250 word end of the length spectrum.

While we think that everyone should be doing extensive research on every school that they apply to, particularly when writing a “Why X School?” essay, it’s important to keep the content in this response focused. As such, we recommend that you keep your research focused for this response, too.

The goal here is to keep it short, straightforward, and interesting. Emphasis on interesting. It should be complete and also leave the admissions reader wanting more. Keep it to three reasons max. We’d suggest logging onto the website and figuring out a couple of things that intrigue you and then telling a short story about yourself—the essay should be first and foremost about you, with the college weaved throughout the narrative of the essay.

Washington and Lee offers a number of unique majors and minors, including but not limited to:

  • The Shepherd Poverty Program -- students can pursue a minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies
  • The Williams School -- students can major in Accounting, Business Administration, Politics, or Economics.
  • Journalism and Strategic Communication majors and Mass Communications minor -- not a lot of liberal arts schools offer these.

Do your own digging and find out what appeals to you. Your essay should be about the college, their programs, and you. All of those things should fit together seamlessly, resulting in a well-written essay.

Let us know if you need any help—we’d be happy to brainstorm, edit, revise, and anything in between.