Vanderbilt University is one of the highest-ranking colleges in the United States. It’s also one of the most favorable colleges in Nashville, Tennessee. However, since it has an admission rate of 6.3%, it’s quite competitive.
If you want to make sure you get into this private research university, you need to write an outstanding supplemental essay. This is often easier said than done, as writing a good college essay can be very challenging.
This guide will help you learn how to write your Vanderbilt supplement essay and get your application accepted.
Vanderbilt Application and Supplemental Requirements
Vanderbilt accepts applications in multiple formats, so it’s very simple to apply. You can do it through the following admission applications:
The choice is entirely up to you because the requirements are the same. Each of those admission applications requires an applicant to submit a personal essay and one short answer. This short answer is actually the supplement.
If you plan on applying through QuestBridge, keep in mind that it also includes additional short answer questions.
This university has only one prompt for the supplement. This means that you don’t have to struggle with choosing from multiple prompts. The more options you have, the harder it can be to make the right choice.
However, having only one question also means that you have only one chance to delight the admissions committee. One chance to make a powerful first impression and get into your desired college. No pressure, right?
But it doesn’t have to be frustrating at all. Again, this guide will help you learn the keys to creating an excellent piece of writing.
Your Supplemental Must Be Concise
The prompt has a 400-word limit, which may put a bit more pressure on you. You need to make sure those 400 words or less make you truly stand out. So, make each word count!
This word limit is actually a lot to play with when you know what you want to write about.
It’s important not to go overboard because you don’t want to ruin your chances of approval. For instance, 450 words are fine if you focus only on what matters and avoid redundancy. A few words, more or less, are good if the content is engaging and to the point.
That being said, 200 words are also okay, as long as your content is high-quality. If you show the admissions officers exactly who you are in an interesting and engaging way, the number of words won’t matter much.
Still, consider taking full advantage of the upper limit, because it will help the admissions officers get to know you better.
That’s the whole point of writing a supplemental – showing another side of you that isn’t displayed in your test scores and personal statement.
Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay Prompt
Vanderbilt has a very short and sweet one-question supplement. It reads as follows:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150-400 words)
This is a standard activity essay that should demonstrate your values or abilities that the committee isn’t already aware of. It should demonstrate your leadership skills or any personal values that matter to you.
So, forget about anything you wrote in your personal statement. Focus on an activity or experience that the committee hasn’t yet read about. It could be a volunteering experience, a job you may have had, or anything else that has greatly impacted you. Think about anything that has helped you grow and made you who you are.
Keep in mind that this is all about showcasing why you would be an excellent addition to Vanderbilt. Even though there’s no direct question of why you’ve chosen this particular college, your response should demonstrate that you’re a perfect fit.
So, elaborate on an experience or activity work that connects to one or more Vanderbilt’s offerings.
3 Key Things to Keep in Mind Before You Start Writing
You already know that you need to be concise, but keep in mind these key pointers as well:
- Don’t choose a particular work experience or extracurricular just because it would look good on your resume. Choose something that you’re passionate about, and that shows a whole other side of you.
- Make sure your response has a beginning, middle, and end. Tell a story about anything that has transformed you, whether it was challenging or fun and rewarding.
- If you can keep engaging in similar work at the university, address that at the end of your response. That way, you will show that you’ve done your homework and know all about the programs the college has to offer.
3 Useful Tips for Writing Your Vanderbilt Supplemental Essay
The best advice anyone could give you regarding this submission piece is to speak from the heart. With that in mind, take a look at a few essential tips for writing high-quality content that will stand out.
Hook Your Reader with an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
Once you’ve chosen the story you want to share with the committee, come up with an interesting way to capture their attention.
If you’re going to submit 400 words, make sure the intro part doesn’t take up more than 100. It’s not about describing the activity or extracurricular, but rather about showing how it has influenced you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have you faced any challenge that has taught a life lesson?
- What has had a powerful impact on you?
- Why does it stand out from your other experiences?
- Does it have anything to do with your career goals or personal interests?
- Has it helped you connect more profoundly to your community?
- Is it connected to the opportunities you have at this college?
Answering these questions will help you create an impressive introduction. But don’t go into detail just yet. Elaborate on these questions in the body of your writing. Just keep them in mind when crafting your introductory sentence.
Don’t spend too much time stressing about making the introduction perfect. Otherwise, you’ll never get past the introductory sentence.
Simply get your thoughts on paper and go back to revise them later.
Talk About Your Personal Transformation
This is where you focus on how your chosen experience or activity has transformed you. Tell an engaging story of the challenges you faced and what you learned from them.
Avoid being generic or vague. Be specific and explain how your personality and values have changed because of what you’ve been through. Explain how it opened your eyes to a whole new perspective. Showcase how it helped you hone your leadership, teamwork, and any other skills.
If you start struggling with writer’s block, don’t shy away from asking for help. Your friends, family, and particularly professors can help you overcome it.
Your professors can actually provide you with useful and constructive feedback. But be careful not to lose your voice if you implement any changes that they may suggest. Your writing should be your own work but do consider any feedback you get.
Conclude by Connecting the Topic to Opportunities at Vanderbilt
You don’t necessarily have to talk about something that this college offers. After all, the key is to show that you have interests, passions, and hobbies outside the classroom.
So, don’t feel an obligation to focus your writing around the college’s offerings. Still, this is the part where those offerings should come into play. So, when concluding your story, find a way to connect the two.
When the reader reaches the end of your essay, they know why your topic matters to you. They understand how it shaped you and changed your perspective. What they need to know now is why and how your experience will be important in regard to your life in college and future careers.
The key is to illustrate that your newfound wisdom will help you shape your future. Perhaps you won’t engage in anything similar again, but you can now apply everything you’ve learned to realize your goals.
Writing your Vanderbilt supplemental essay can be very daunting. You have only one chance to create a good, lasting impression. This can be more than enough to cause writer’s block and prevent you from putting your best foot forward.
What’s more, this process requires a lot of creativity. However, it can be very difficult to be creative when you are under pressure. You already have to worry about your college interviews, applications, and everything else that comes with finishing high school.
Fortunately, there’s an ideal solution that you can use. You can take advantage of expert writing services that will help you stand out. You can get a professional essay that will help you be different than any other applicant and get accepted into the college of your dreams.