How to Write the Colorado College Supplement 2019-2020

Colorado College has an acceptance rate of 15 percent. A private liberal arts college nestled in Colorado Springs. Its signifier is the Block Plan, a system by which students take classes for 3.5 weeks intensively, one at a time, followed by a four-day break in which everyone can take advantage of the incredible setting.  The school really wants to know that you’ll fit into the community. In fact, that’s the whole purpose of the essay.

One note on that: Each school has a unique personality. Your response to each school’s essay should, therefore, be a unique portrayal of why you’re the perfect fit for that university. That’s not to say that you can’t reuse elements on similar essays school-to-school (we regularly encourage our students to be efficient by recycling parts of essays), but the focus should be to get specific about why this school is the one for you and vice versa.

Why do you want to join the Colorado College community, and how do you think you will contribute to it? (250 words)

This question is essentially “Why Colorado College?” Don’t get tripped about your wording here. This is a straightforward question. Answer it like you would normally. The trick is to outline your thoughts and talking points before you begin writing. Students often struggle to answer this very basic question in a cohesive manner because they begin ranting. Don’t do that.

The way to ensure you’re answering the question correctly is to incorporate story structure. Start off by really thinking about *specific reasons* you want to attend this school and listing them out. The answer should not be “it just felt right.” Dive in deeper. What do you like about the academics? The extra-curricular offerings? How do things tie-in to an area of expertise you’ve developed throughout high school and demonstrated on your resume?

Next, figure out some attributes about yourself. Think of a few adjectives that describe you. If you can’t, ask your friends. The answer to “Why Colorado College?” should be the Venn Diagram between these two factors: why you want to go there and who you are. Now, write that essay in story form.

The Block Plan at Colorado College has a tradition of innovation and flexibility. Please design your own three-and-a-half week course and describe what you would do. (2-3 paragraphs, max 500 words)

Each component of your application should reflect a different part of who you are. Your resume might reflect a few aspects while your class choices reflect another. For this essay, consult your list of adjectives and pick a few you didn’t use in the last one. Are you a good listener? Hilarious? A strong leader? This essay needs to allow those traits to shine. Make sure whichever ones you choose aren’t already present in your application. The nice thing about having multiple questions in one application is you can really paint a more developed picture of who you are.

Schools want to know their applicants are engaged in the world around them and on top of current events. If you’re an activist, let that trait shine. One of our students (an activist) filled out this question by writing a curriculum for a Political Science class called “The Movement for Earth.” The course was an in-depth study of the history of the environmental movement and analyses of legislation that has been proposed, passed, and/or undone throughout American history, with an emphasis on the paradigm shift within the Republican party over time. She got really specific by proposing specific books and bills for review. This should be a no-brainer, but before you complete this question, look up a sample Colorado College course curriculum.


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