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3 Great Reasons to Apply to Colleges With No Supplemental Essays

Supplemental essays are time-consuming. Maximize your admission chances by applying to colleges that don't require them—including the 85+ listed here.

The college application process is daunting and time-consuming. Most students will apply to anywhere from five to 15 colleges, with some applying to more than 20 schools if their colleges of interest are high-ranking or competitive like direct admit medical programs and Ivy League schools. While applications like the Common App or Scoir aim to streamline the process by allowing students to write one universal personal statement that gets sent to all the schools they’re applying to, many schools also require applicants to write school-specific supplemental essays. These essay topics range from "Why do you want to attend our school?" to "Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome." Most students commit months of effort to complete all their supplemental essays. But luckily, not all schools require them, which could help you bulk up your submitted applications without adding much more effort. Here are a few benefits of applying to schools with no supplemental essays.

1. Less stress

Applying to colleges that don't require supplemental essays means you’ll have less pressure on you to complete and keep track of as many materials. Instead of spending hours each week on multiple essays, you can focus on a few of your top schools that do require supplemental essays and really put your all into them. And with less to do during the application process, you can also concentrate on keeping your grades up instead.

2. A broader range of options

Despite not requiring supplemental essays, many of these colleges and universities are high-ranking institutions with a lot to offer. By not having to write additional essays, you can apply to a wider range of schools, giving you a higher chance of acceptance and likely more options to choose from come decision day. The more options you have, the easier it will be to find what type of school fits your career goals and learning abilities best—whether it’s a public research institution, a private liberal arts school, or something else.

3. It helps even out the admission field

Students who don't think their talents are in writing but have solid grades and test scores can benefit greatly from applying to more schools that don't require supplemental essays. Without these essays, you’ll primarily be judged based on your personal statement, GPA, extracurricular activities, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation. Students who don't have the resources or guidance to craft compelling supplemental essays should take advantage of those universities.

Related: How Are Application Elements Weighed by Admission Counselors?

85+ schools with no supplemental essays

The schools on the following list don't require supplemental essays to apply for the 2023–2024 academic year. However, they might have additional essay requirements if you apply for a specific program. Some of these schools will also have optional essays if you want to write one. For example, Drexel University offers the following optional prompt:

“Drexel is committed to preparing each new generation of students to become productive, professional, and civic-minded members of the community while continuing to focus on how we can contribute to solving some of society’s greatest challenges. What do you view as a challenge facing society that you would like to contribute to solving? How would a Drexel education aid you in taking the first step toward a solution? (250 words or less).”

Optional prompts may give students a competitive edge because they can help demonstrate interest in the school, but they are not required to apply to the following colleges and universities:

Related: A Look at College Admission From a Top Official

When adding these schools to your list, be sure to review all the requirements for each one before you apply. And be extra cautious to keep your materials organized so you aren’t sending the wrong things to the wrong school. Good luck! You’ve got this.

Since many of these schools utilize the platform, simplify your college application process with An Easy Guide to Filling Out the Common Application!

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