Supplemental Applications for Top Colleges

Getting good grades and doing well on the SAT was all I was told when I wanted to apply to college. I laughed when I heard that some schools required an essay. I avoided honors English classes my whole high school career; I knew words good. I also didn’t want to put any effort into my application.

You cannot have this mindset if you want to get into a top-tier university. You need to understand you will be expected to answer essays for each university. You may be able to reuse your answers from some prompts, but a copy-and-paste mistake will ruin your admission chances.

Also, ensure you have teachers willing to vouch for how revolutionary you are. And that counselor of yours that you have no relationship with? Because you are one of 500 kids? You need them to write you a recommendation about how you took courses the school hadn’t even considered having until you arrived.

Generally, the lower the acceptance rate, the more supplement data a university will require.

As usual, the University of California is its own beast. They do not require any letters of recommendation but do require four 350-word essays. UCLA and UC-Berkeley are the only American schools with acceptance rates under 20% that do not require letters of recommendation.

Georgia Tech (20%) is the only non-UC school with an acceptance rate of less than 28% that does not require a letter of recommendation. However, they also accept the most optional letters at four. If you can get your hands on one, you should submit it.

You have to go to the 59th ranked, my alma mater, The University of Illinois (UIUC), to find a school that does not require or even accepts optional letters of recommendation. Most public institutions follow this trend.

But at least once you have letters of recommendation, they can be reused. Short essays only sometimes allow for a simple copy and paste.

Some schools require you to submit examples of your written work. Some require 100-word responses, while others require 350-word. You must answer one of the seven Common App prompts for most non-California schools in the United States. Take that into consideration when looking at the summary table below.

1Harvard University52
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology52
3Stanford University32
4University of Oxford11
5University of Cambridge11
6California Institute of Technology3-62
7Columbia University52
9University of Chicago22
10Princeton University62
11Yale University82
12University of Pennsylvania32
13Johns Hopkins University12-3
14University of California – Berkeley40
17Cornell University22
18University of Michigan – Ann Arbor21
20Northwestern University2-32
22University of California – Los Angeles40
23University of Toronto0-40
24New York University11
25University of Washington30
26University of Edinburgh10-2
27Duke University1-33
30University of California – San Diego40
34McGill University??
37Washington University in St. Louis11
38University of British ColumbiaY2
43University of Texas – Austin3-40-2
44Carnegie Mellon University32
45University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill21
48Brown University6+2
50University of Wisconsin21
53University of Southern California101
58Georgia Institute of Technology10-4
59University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign2-30
64University of California – Davis40
68University of Minnesota Twin Cities0-20
69Vanderbilt University13
72Boston University12
79Emory University22
80The Ohio State University10
84University of California – Santa Barbara40
85University of Maryland – College Park62
87University of Pittsburgh0-10
95Penn State0-10
103University of Florida00
110Dartmouth College33
112University of Rochester12
116Rice University33
118Michigan State University10
121Case Western Reserve University0-23

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