How To Write the Claremont McKenna Supplement

Claremont McKenna is a small liberal arts college with around 1200 undergraduate students. The curriculum has an emphasis on economics, government, and public affairs, though it’s a liberal arts college, so it offers classes in a large number of disciplines. The college is located in Claremont, CA, close to Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, and Pitzer College. All of these schools are part of a consortium called the Claremont Colleges. They share a lot of information and resources, and have different focuses though they are all wonderful schools in their own right. Claremont McKenna’s supplement is pretty straight to the point--read on:

What influenced you the most in your decision to apply to CMC? Please limit your response to no more than 200 words.

This one is tough because it’s almost like a “Why X School?” question, but it’s a bit different and super short. You need to do a bit of research, but don’t go overboard because to be honest, you’re only going to include 1-2 aspects of the college in this answer. You need to make sure to include you in this answer as well. The question is, after all, what influenced YOU to apply to CMC. It’s not why CMC is great, it’s why CMC is a great fit for YOU.

For this, keep it short, sweet, and to the point. It should demonstrate that you’ve done your research, are clear on what you want to pursue, and have a solid sense of self. Even if you aren’t quite sure which subject you want to major in, choose something that intrigues you and interests you. Or at least makes sense given your profile. Claremont McKenna won’t hold you accountable for the claims you make in your application.

3 things to avoid:

Talking about the weather.
We know California is super beautiful. Don’t have that be the focus of your application—you should paint yourself as more well-rounded and nuanced than that. “It’s super sunny and I love the beach. I want to go surfing before school. I imagine it’s like Blue Crush,” won’t fly.

Raving about the proximity to LA.
And on that note, nor will “Also I’m not superficial at all but I feel like the instagram opportunities are literally endless. And I’ve never been to Sugar Fish so I’m really excited for that to be an option for me.” You might laugh, but you’d be surprised. We’ve had students try to write that.

Telling a non-unique story
Don’t talk about your tour, the website, or the ability to study abroad as main draws to apply to Claremont McKenna. You have a small space to dive deep, but we know you can do it. Paint a picture, draw them in, make them want to hear more but make sure that they enjoy reading your 200 words thoroughly.

You have 200 words to express your interests, tell a story about what drew you to Claremont McKenna, and make your admissions reader visualize you on campus. You can do it. If you need help, let us know. We’d love to help.