How to Write the Scripps College Supplement 2019-2020

Scripps College is an all-women’s liberal arts college in Claremont, California. It is a small school comprised of only 1048 undergraduate students. Scripps is one of the 5C’s — the consortium of colleges in Claremont that allow students to flow between them for many courses and some programs of study.  

In addition to being one of the foremost all-women’s colleges in America, the Scripps campus is considered to be one of the most beautiful campuses in America. Students at Scripps are challenged to strive. By the end of senior year, 100% of Scripps students complete a senior thesis or project. This serves as a capstone and a tangible result of their years of study.

The acceptance rate for Scripps is 29.8%, the highest of the 5C schools. This is common for all-women’s colleges and is not reflective of the academic rigorousness or the level of their expectations. Instead, it is a result of demographics. Since the pool of applicants for all-women’s colleges is approximately half that for co-ed schools, there are fewer applicants and subsequently higher acceptance rates. 

When you log into the Common App and search out the Scripps supplement, don’t be surprised when you don’t see a dedicated supplement section. The questions for Scripps are tucked inside of the normal question section, not in a separate supplement folder.

The Scripps supplement for the 2019-2020 application cycle is the same as the one they used last year, but we like to approach it with fresh eyes.  

Why have you chosen to apply to Scripps College? (200 words)

This is a short “why us?” supplement that needs to be primarily focused on academics. You need to include your prospective major, a professor that you’d like to study under and why, and a class or two that you’d like to take. If you have a potential minor in mind, you should include that too. This may sound formulaic, but it doesn’t have to read that way. Weave the specifics together by explaining why Scripps is uniquely positioned to provide you with the resources you need to succeed academically and, in the future, professionally.

Before you use up all 200 words, remember that you’re applying to an all-women’s college. It’s critical that you include why you are interested in an all-women’s college. All-women’s colleges are unique learning environments. There are not many left in the USA, and each has a set of traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Research some of Scripps traditions and include one that you are particularly excited to take part in.

Choose one of the following (150-300 words):

If you could trade lives with someone (fictional or real) for a day, who would it be and why?

You have three choices to pick from and up to 300 words. Three hundred words is a good amount of space, but it can easy to waste — especially if you choose the wrong prompt.

We don’t like this prompt. It can be a tricky question that draws you off-topic. Instead of illuminating something about yourself and illustrating who you are, it can quickly become about the person you are writing about. This is especially true if you pick someone who is not high profile. Then might feel the need to spend a third or more of the limited space you have explaining who the person is.

So, if you do choose to pick this prompt, the person or character you select to focus on needs to be known, but not cliché. Our advice, though? Same as last year. Skip it.

You’ve invented a time machine in your living room – well done! When and where is your first destination and why?

This can be a very fun supplement. It is a chance to be quirky, adventurous, and to have fun. It’s also a chance to show your passion and to bring out some of your academic or extracurricular aspirations outside of your major. Is there something from the past that inspires you to strive towards your future? If so, explore it.

However, it’s essential to not be too on the nose. If you want to be a scientist, don’t say you would visit Marie Curie’s lab. It’s better to be niche than to pick something stereotypical. This can mean doing some research before you start writing. Pick a place or time that is unique, and then illustrate it to bring it alive for the reader. Allow it to feel real.

You have just been invited to give a TED talk. What will you talk about and why did you select that topic?

This is our favorite option of the three! It’s also the easiest to answer, which is another reason that we like it. What you need to do to answer this question is clear: there needs to be a topic, and there needs to be a reason for the topic.

Start by finding your topic. It should not be related to your major. Your topic should add depth to your application by exploring another area you are passionate about. It can be academic, but it does not need to be academic. In fact, for most applicants, it’s better if it is not academic. Don’t immediately go looking to your activities supplement for inspiration. If you’re feeling brave, try to explore something totally different, and that is well outside of what’s been covered in your classroom studies or what’s included in your activities supplement.

Finally, be careful not to try to be a philosopher. We want you to explore and be adventurous, but you should not go so far afield that you pick something that sounds like an attempt to be profound. You’re a teenager. They don’t expect you to be an intellectual and pretending to be one often doesn’t feel authentic. Be yourself, be honest, and, if you pick this prompt, have fun with it!


If you’re interested in pursuing an all-women’s education, but want to know more about what that entails, we can help. Our team includes graduates of top all-women’s colleges who can guide you through the process of pursuing a collegiate education at an all-women’s institution.