After spending three years freaking out about the college process and a month writing your college essay, college supplements are an unwelcome surprise. We think supplements are actually a good thing because it gives schools more personality data on the applicant. When you’re applying to highly competitive schools like Hamilton and Middlebury, with acceptance rates of 20.8% and 18.4% percent respectively, we really believe that you want to take advantage of every opportunity to stand out and tell them why you want to be there. The more data they have, the better they understand who you are. At least on paper.
While a lack of supplement might give kids short-term relief, this just means that they have to work twice as hard on their college essays, additional information section, and other relevant info that they send into the schools. Applying to a school with no supplement just reinforces our belief and point that your main essay has to be incredibly strong. It’s now their only personality data point to balance your scores and grades, so it better be flawless and creative. Right now, it seems to be a trend that schools are getting rid of their supplements because it results in higher application numbers. More kids apply when there is no supplement: Kenyon’s application numbers increased by 63% when they dropped their supplement for the class of 2018.
If applications are up and they still plan on accepting the same number of students, then guess what goes down? The schools’ acceptance rate. When that happens, they climb the rankings of US News & World Reports. That said, even as schools get rid of their official supplements they still expect the same amount of effort. When I toured Skidmore last month and spoke to the dean of admissions, he told me that a lot of kids are now emailing the admissions office to tell them why they want to go to Skidmore. These emails were printed and added to student files. This is just one example of a school getting rid of their supplemental essay requirement, but maintaining their expectation that dedicated students will write something about why they want to go there. I’d never heard this before but it does make sense.
Supplement free schools are a great option if you are a strong student with solid test scores and grades. You might look to these schools as a good way to bolster your safety or low-target categories on your list. We’ve gone through and put together a list of the top 20 schools that don’t have supplements for you to consider. The college admissions process is what we like to think of as a game, and while we love playing it, we know that it’s not always fun to be a player. That’s why this list of supplement-free schools is great. You can pick and choose a couple from here that you are excited about, tack them onto your Common App college list, and hit submit. Boom. Done.
Top 50 Schools with no Supplemental Essays:
Case Western Reserve University
Ohio State University
Seton Hall University
Stevens Institute of Technology
SUNY Binghamton University
University of Alabama
University of Arkansas
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Denver
University of Iowa
University of New Hampshire
University of the Pacific
Liberal Arts Schools
College of the Holy Cross
New College of Florida
St. Lawrence University
Sarah Lawrence University
To be clear, none of the schools above have any essays that are deemed “optional." There’s also no such thing as an optional essay, which we’ve written about time and time and time again. And no, there is no exception to that rule. If an essay question is posed, even if it says optional, it’s not optional. Unless you’re fine with your application getting tossed in the garbage because you fell for exactly what they wanted--they want to weed out the lazy students.
Anyways, if you see a college on here that you don’t know anything about, we encourage you to Google it and take a look. The worst thing that you can do for yourself during the college application process is to not do any research. The more you know, the more you know in the case of college applications. It really is about gathering information and understanding the process.
There you have it. A select list of the top 20 schools with no supplements.
Let us know if you need any more information or have any questions. That’s why we’re here.