How to Write the Haverford Supplement 2019-2020

Haverford College is a small liberal arts college just outside of the city of Philadelphia. There are only 1353 students. But the student body size at Haverford isn’t what makes it unique and, we feel, exceptional. If Haverford is known for anything, it’s the Honor Code. Most colleges and universities have some form of an Honor Code that students have to sign at some point during their tenure. They all read about the same, too. Don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t plagiarize, etc. All good things, but Haverford’s Honor Code makes those Honor Codes look like simpler organisms.

The Haverford Honor Code is written and overseen by students. It is continuously evolving to fit the needs and desires of the student body, and it holds trust at its core. Unique aspects of the Haverford Honor Code include taking tests without proctors (aka teachers), being able to schedule your own exams, and an absence of Residential Advisors in dorms. This freedom doesn’t result in chaos. It’s treasured, and the system that allows for it is taken very seriously. Remember this because it comes up in the supplement below.  

Haverford is a selective school with an 18.7% acceptance rate. They prioritize diversity in admissions, and 50% of applicants admitted for the class of 2022 were students of color.

Given how well Haverford knows itself, it isn’t surprising that they have their supplement dialed in. This year, the supplement is the same as last year…and the year before. This means that they have seen 10,000 or so versions of these essays already. You’re not going to be able to reinvent the wheel, but you absolutely have to make yourself stand out by keeping yourself at the center of the story.

Please give us a better sense of what you are looking for in your college experience by answering the following questions:

1. Tell us about a topic or issue that sparks your curiosity and gets you intellectually excited. How do you think the environment at Haverford, including the framework of the Honor Code, would foster your continued intellectual growth? Please limit your response to 250 words.

Before you start brainstorming your response to this question, you need to read the Honor Code. Haverford includes the Honor Code above their questions in the Common App, but it’s hard to read in that format. So, find it online, or copy-and-paste the Common App version into a Word document, and print it. Yes, print it. We love trees, too, but having it in front of you and in your hands is critical. Once you have a print copy, read through it, highlighting points that stand out to you as you go. Then, narrow down the highlighted sections to the two or three things that you feel most strongly about. Once you have those, you have the foundation of your supplement.

The other half of this prompt is, of course, sharing something that excites you. Since this isn’t a purely academic question, we like to use it as a way to emphasize that your interest in your academic area of focus goes beyond potential future salary. For this supplement, you should share what sparks your curiosity through a story that takes place outside of the classroom. The story can, and should, be simple. If you are interested in English, it could be the first time you finished a crossword puzzle. If you’re interested in physics, it could be when you fell off a playground and broke your arm, thus sparking a passion for understanding gravity. Whatever it is, you will then have to build links between the story you are telling and the Honor Code. This should not be something you squeeze into two sentences at the end. Instead, identify the central themes of the Honor Code sections you chose and integrate those themes into the entire story. By doing this, you are laying a foundation for the end of your supplement, where you can explicitly relate the themes you’ve already set up to the existing Honor Code.  

2. Please tell us what motivated you to apply to Haverford and what excites you most as you imagine your Haverford experience. Please limit your response to 150 words.

This is Haverford’s version of a “why us?” The earlier supplement did connect to Haverford’s core, the Honor Code, but this one is more focused on your academic experience. It’s short, so we like to focus on three things in this order: academic subject, educational philosophy, and community. It’s critical that you state what you want to major in and why you feel Haverford is the place to pursue it. You only have 150 words, so include just one professor you would want to study under and one class that you would want to take. From there, explore Haverford’s educational philosophy, which emphasizes hands-on learning outside of the traditional classroom, and how that methodology would positively impact your collegiate experience. Finally, Haverford is proud of their community, make it clear that you would be equally proud to be part of it.

If you’re interested in see past your high school’s set college list, send us an email . There are dozens of exceptional schools, like Haverford, that we would love to help you discover.