How to Write the Trinity College Supplement 2019-2020

Trinity College is a small liberal arts school in Hartford, Connecticut. One look at their supplement will tell you that the school is very proud of the fact that it is located in an urban setting. Just over 2,100 undergraduates attend, and 40% of those students participate in either varsity or club sports. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 33%.

Their supplement is below:

Optional: Please consider writing an additional, optional essay that focuses on your specific interest in Trinity College. You may select one of the following prompts and write an essay of 250-650 words. You can type directly into the box or you can paste text from another source. 

Before we begin, a general critique of this supplement. Verbiage matters! The wording is confusing, it seems that “answer one of the prompts below” would work just fine. We wish that more colleges would understand how important it is to phrase these questions in a simple and direct manner. Also, this supplement is not optional. There is no such thing as an optional supplement.

a. We live in an urban-global age with more than half of the planet's people living in cities. Trinity College is an urban liberal arts college deeply engaged with the local community and committed to making an impact across the world. How do you aspire to use your education to impact local and global communities? 

Before you start brainstorming, keep two goals in mind:

  1. What is your issue and why does it matter to you?

  2. How will your Trinity education help you explore your issue and eventually make an impact?

The best way to find an issue to write about is to think global but look local. Think about an issue that plagues society that you have some familiarity with because of where you grew up. Does your neighborhood have access to healthy food? How is the public school system in your town? Has your neighborhood been affected by gun violence? If you live in New York City, does your building recycle?  

It’s important to choose an issue that you have a personal connection to because you need to make the admissions committee care about the issue, and if you don’t personally care about it then that’s next to impossible to do.  

This essay is capped at 650 words, so you have more than enough room to tell a story. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to write about, provide some context and background on your issue by telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. This is not the time to use statistics, instead keep it close to home. Explain to the reader what it’s like to grow up around the problem that you’re focusing on.

The second part of this prompt is a bit harder and will require a lot of research on your end. You’ve told them why you care about your issue, and now you need to show them how Trinity’s academic offerings will help you delve deeper into your topic so that you can eventually make a difference.  

Let’s use another example. Let’s say you grew up in a city that’s fairly close to an ocean and you have identified marine pollution as your issue. Your nearby beach is becoming increasingly awash with litter and garbage. Look at Trinity’s list of majors and minors and find majors that are in some way related to your issue. This fictitious student could start by looking at Environmental Science, and then Marine Studies (which is an interdisciplinary minor). Find classes that 1) you’re interested in and 2) will help you inch closer to your goal of learning about things that cause marine pollution and ways to combat the harm being caused.  

After you go through the classes, check and see if there are any student clubs and organizations related to your cause. And then finally, wrap things up. Explain why going to Trinity, above all over schools, will help you achieve your goal.   

b. Our mission states: "Engage. Connect. Transform. As the preeminent liberal arts college in an urban setting, Trinity College prepares students to be bold, independent thinkers who lead transformative lives." Keeping the three pillars of the mission in mind, how do you see yourself contributing to the Trinity community?

The most important part of this question is the last clause of the last sentence: “how do you see yourself contributing to the Trinity community?”

This prompt also mentions three words: engage, connect, and transform. It would probably be fairly cringey for a high school student to write about how they transformed others, but let’s focus on the first two. In what ways, and when, have you engaged and connected with others?

Think about the communities that you’re involved with: your family, your friends, classmates, people you meet up with to get ice cream every Sunday to talk about a book, etc. A community doesn’t have to be something huge, it just has to be a group of people that you’re regularly involved with and in touch with. Think about the things that you do with the people you love and share common interests with.  

Then, tell Trinity that story. What do you and your community do? Do you test recipes or go to art museums? Play a sport for fun or is your community the people that you see at a dog park every morning?

It’s important to pick something that you genuinely care about because you need to show them why your community matters and also your role within that group. Are you the organizer or the person that always invites new people to join? Don’t stress yourself out over what group of people you decide to write about, we mean it when we say a community can be anything! Just be sure to pick something you’re passionate about because your response should come in the form of a story with a beginning, middle, and end. So you need a lot of content, which is hard to draw from that one extracurricular you go to once a year. Think about memorable days you’ve had or traditions within the group, and show (not tell) the admissions committee what it’s like to be there.


If you need help writing and brainstorming, contact us here. We love helping students with supplements.