How to Write the Pitzer Supplement 2018-2019

Pitzer college is a private, liberal arts school and a member of the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. In 2017, Pitzer accepted 16 percent of applicants. The supplement requires one 650-word essay. In this blog post, we will go over some tips for tackling it.  

At Pitzer College, five core values distinguish our approach to education: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. As agents of change, our students utilize these values to create solutions to our world's challenges. Please choose from the following prompts and answer below: (650 words)  

  1. Incorporating one or more of our core values, how would you contribute to solving a local or global issue of importance to you?

  2. Reflecting on your involvement throughout high school or within the community, how have you engaged with one or more of Pitzer’s core values?

While most schools require a series of short answers as their supplements, Pitzer wants an actual essay, and the two prompts they give really aren’t all that different from one another. Pick a value and either be forward-thinking, or be introspective and retrospective.

If you go with #1, look globally but think locally. You’re not applying for a grant from the United Nations or nominating someone for a Nobel Prize. You need to start small. At the end of the day, these schools are looking at how you impact the community around you and Pitzer is a small, involved community. They want to know how you’re going to participate. Once you have an idea, just flesh it out into a story structure with a beginning, middle, and end.

The easier way to go is probably #2. Talk about your involvement within your own school or community because it already happened. You can choose an activity and just integrate the core values (we think you should apply a minimum of two values). Find the story that fits the prompt before you figure out how to weave in the core values.

So, if you started the first program at your high school for sexual misconduct awareness, tell the origin story of how and why you started. That’s more important than what you learned. Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Once you’ve nailed down a story, weave in the values, but don’t just drop them into the conclusion. They actually have to make sense as themes throughout the piece.


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