William and Mary Application Essay Prompt
Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extracurricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful? We know nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestion of the type of person you are. Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us, or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude. For additional context, check out the William & Mary Admission Office video message.
A “tell us anything about you in any way” essay, this prompt is giving you a chance to express parts of yourself that may not be present in the rest of your Common Application. The playful tone of the prompt also gives you the freedom to take risks without fear of repercussions; it is fine (and encouraged!) to think outside the box for this particular essay. Do not feel as though you need to write in traditional paragraphs.
Rather, you can choose to write in lists of quirky “favorites” with brief explanations for each one (favorite flower, favorite song to sing in the shower, favorite Pokémon). You could write a Petrarchan poem or a rap about an aspect of your character. Write a letter to your future college roommate or your future self. Keep in mind that the medium you choose for this essay can reveal a lot about who you are, so take time to think about creative ways with which you could present yourself to W&M.
If you choose to write in a more traditional format, consider making the content of your writing less orthodox. That being said, do not force yourself to be creative or choose a quirky topic that you do not care about. What admission officers want to see is another side of you; they just want to get to know you better. So whatever topic you think can help them understand you, write about!
Still, try your best to choose something about yourself that sets you apart from other applicants. Are you really interested in jellyfish, having read hundreds of pages about different species and traveled to observe them in their natural habitat? Were you the first person in your family to try skydiving? Did you create a startup with a couple friends? The ideas and beliefs floating around in your head are unique to you — show the College of William and Mary why you will be an irreplaceable part of campus culture.
- A quote that has shaped who you are and who you want to be
- Which color you would use to describe yourself and why
- The one object you can’t live without and why
If you are stuck and having trouble coming up with a topic idea, we suggest going to other institutions’ Common App supplements for ideas. The University of Chicago comes out with quirky, innovative prompts each year, which offer more creative ways to reveal aspects of your personality. Don’t overthink this prompt: simply choose a topic you’re passionate about!
With these tips, you hopefully have a better understanding of how to write the College of William and Mary’s supplemental essay. As always, do not hesitate to reach out to CollegeVine consultants for further advice!
The Requirements: 1 essay of 500 words or less
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Open-ended
College of William & Mary 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations
Why hello, you lucky devils. William & Mary only has one supplemental essay! And it’s optional! Actually, the second part is kind of a lie. William & Mary may refer to this essay as an “optional opportunity,” but take a closer look. The prompt is all about the things that make you stand out — and there is no way a bare minimum application is going to stand out to admissions. So, buckle up. You’ve got one more 500-worder to go.
Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extracurricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful? We know nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestion of the type of person you are. Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us, or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude.
In short, this prompt is asking you to do what we would have told you to do anyway: reveal something that doesn’t appear anywhere else on your application. Although it may seem totally open-ended, this prompt includes a few keywords that should help guide your thinking. The College of William & Mary doesn’t want to know just any random fact about you. They have specifically asked about what makes you different, and they have invited you to have fun. So, get personal! What are your favorite funny stories about your life? You can talk about chess games with your grandma, lake trips with your friends, or the time you thought you could time travel. Pick a fun story or anecdote that says something concrete about your spirit, strengths, resilience, or character.
If something hasn’t already sprung to mind, you should set aside about an hour for a solid brainstorm sesh. Use whichever technique feels most natural to you and see where it leads. You’d be surprised by the gems you can uncover when you take some of the pressure off and give your mind a little space to play.