How to Write the Emory Supplement 2019-2020

Emory University is a private college located in Atlanta, GA. While the school is not the best for those looking for a large, spirited athletic environment (there’s actually no football team), Emory is known for its rigorous academics, led by notable faculty who have included U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Deborah Lipstadt. Though its nested in the heart of the South, some say the school, with its vibrant Greek Life, is a little slice of the Northeast.

The Venn Diagram

Before you get started, consider the following: there’s you (your personality, your history, your story) and there’s the school (its culture, academic repertoire, and community offerings). Your supplement should portray the intersection of those two things—the overlapping portion of the Venn Diagram.  

The Emory supplement prompt reads:

“In addition to your Personal Statement, please answer two (2) of the prompts below. Choose one prompt from the “Reflections” category and one prompt from the “Tell us about you” category.” We encourage you to be thoughtful and not stress about what the right answer might be. We simply want to get to know you better. Each response should be no more than 150 words.”  

Before we go any further, read that last paragraph again and believe them when they say it. This is a straightforward exercise. The goal is for the university to get to know you better (and see if you’re a fit). Identify a few personality traits of yours that are not already present somewhere else in your application. So, maybe you’re a really strong leader, you have a great sense of humor and you’re family-oriented. These traits need to come through in your responses. Pick one for each and make sure it’s woven in. If you can’t think of your traits, text a friend and ask them.

The “Reflections” Category: 

Share about something you want to bring from your community the Emory community.

This one is pretty easy. The answer is to pick something the Emory community doesn’t already have. As with all of your answers, you need to tell a story here (a personal account) with a beginning, middle, and end.

Share about a time when you questioned something you believed to be true.  

We wouldn’t choose this one unless you absolutely have something. These answers should be light and humorous when possible. The reality is, the person who’s reading it doesn’t know you. They only know that you’re a 17 or 18 year-old kid, so writing about a major existential experience (or a tragic one) probably won’t get across the way you’d like it to. That’s all to say, don’t write about God unless you have to. (Some people who have had religious reckonings may have to). Also, don’t make something up here.

(A side note: If you have had a personal tragedy or health issue that has impacted your academics, there is a place for it on the Common Application in “additional information.”)   

Emory University’s shield is a crossed torch and trumpet representing the light of learning and the proclamation of knowledge. It symbolizes our mission to impact the world through discovery. What truth or knowledge do you want to see shared?

The first question is the best one.

We don’t think you should choose this one because it’s very hard to go internal with it. The whole point of the exercise is to show something new about yourself. The way that most people (teens especially) will take this one is to get on a soapbox. That also doesn’t read well to an adult who doesn’t know you. If you’re going to choose this one, pick an issue that affects teens. Make sure it’s a truth or kernel of knowledge that actually resonates with you. Be specific. Don’t go super-macro on this.  

The “Tells Us About You” Category

We’re going to say this until it sticks: this exercise is about letting the college get to know a part of you that’s not already present on your application. Everything is “tell us about you.” There should be no esoteric reflections. Everything should be a personal account.

Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?

If you choose this one, do not choose assigned reading. Do not choose Harry Potter. Do not say “Voldemort. Here’s why.” That’s creepy.

Consult the list of adjectives about you. What have you not crossed off yet? Don’t double-dip! If there’s a character who perfectly represents you, that’s the way to go. Don’t choose anyone polarizing, like Taylor Swift. Don’t be basic. Be nuanced, sensitive, and humble.

If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why? 

DO NOT say Woodstock. Tie this one into an academic interest, specifically, whichever one you’re going for as your major in your application. However, if you’re into physics, don’t say you’d like to see Einstein develop the Theory of Relativity.  

If asked to write a 150-word tweet to tell the world who you are, what would you say? (Yes, the actual Twitter character limit would likely be shorter than 150 words, but thanks for indulging us.)

Ok. A lot of kids get sucked into being intense or serious here. If you choose this one, it has to be funny. 150 words is long! (We think it would be better if it were shorter). Don’t get overwhelmed by the length and always, be thoughtful.


Need some help with your supplements? Reach out to us here. We are great at helping students portray who they really are in 200 words or less.