Admissions Essays Applying to College

Supplemental Essay Sample

Written by CB Experts

See a sample supplemental essay that provides additional information for the college admissions committee to consider in their review of an application.

An applicant may always attach supplemental, or unrequired, information to his or her application. Some college application forms even have a space for “Additional Information,” which is where you would supply any added information about YOU. One way to supply that extra information is to attach an additional essay. An essay may be attached even if there is not such a space.

Supplemental essays are a great way to explain circumstances like bad grades or family problems or learning difficulties. A supplemental essay can also be used to highlight your talents.

Below is an actual supplemental essay. Specifics of name, location, etc. have been changed to protect the privacy of the student.


When I moved to Boston during elementary school, I was still a pretty good student, at least as it seemed to me. My goal was to make the honor roll, which I did in elementary school. By the time I hit middle school, my grades were in decline; but, then, friends and a good time were at the top of my list of priorities. I thought high school would be a breeze so I was surprised when my guidance counselor recommended me to the FAPS (Freshman Academic Program for Success) program, a ninth grade program designed to help freshmen with study habits and organization. The idea was that FAPS would help me with my homework and my concentration. All of the teachers in the program dealt with the same students so they could talk with each other about how the kids were doing. It was a program that I didn’t think I would need, but my parents convinced me that it couldn’t hurt to try.

Halfway through the first quarter of my high school career is when I realized I definitely needed help. My grades were not good, and for some reason, concentration was a huge problem for me. My family and I saw a doctor who determined I had ADD. That is why it was so difficult for me to be successful in school. People with ADD are normally given a special 504 program. This allows them to get a little extra time for tests and, in general, helps create a better learning environment for them. Unfortunately, it was determined that I did not need this type of help, and I was forced to try and deal with ADD as best I could.

So, for the past three years, I have been attached at the hip with ADD. It lingered around every corner and followed me to every class. However, ADD was never more evident than on test days. Test days were always the most stressful, and that’s when ADD decided to bring in its “A” game and kick me while I was down. I would sit down to take the test and constantly look at the clock. That clock was always my enemy, and with every tick of the minute hand, my confidence would fade a little bit more. That’s when the panic set in. Students would begin turning their work in so I rushed to complete mine. At that moment I knew, once again, ADD had gotten the best of me. It was almost like ADD would taunt me afterward whispering, “It’s ok; at least warning notices don’t come out for a couple more days.”

However, the past two years, I have been much more successful coping with my ADD. I finally received the proper medication, sought the assistance of my school and teachers, and began to turn my grades around. In the process, I have learned a lot about myself. Going through this has made me a better student and person. I learned to pace myself during tests so I wouldn’t blindly rush through them at the last minute. I have learned to bring myself back to a lecture by drumming my fingers quietly against my desk. I’ve also learned that expecting a lot from other people without knowing what their limitations are may be unfair. No one ever knows what may be going on in someone or what troubles that person may be dealing with. I respect people now more for what they do accomplish. And, I’ve learned to listen to people when they are trying to help me. People tell you things that can help you if you really listen.

Freshman and sophomore years were the times when I struggled to pass. Since then, hard work and finding my own ways to deal with ADD have resulted in much better grades, including being on the honor roll twice last year. Even though I thought at first it would be impossible to achieve, I know now ADD is no longer in control of my grades or my life. And, through high school, I learned to cope, which made me realize how much potential I have.


With this supplemental essay, this student has not only revealed himself as a person, but also explained why his grades throughout high school were not always good. Even though you may be able to explain your circumstances during the college interview, a supplemental essay is very effective for communicating any additional information that might be pertinent to the college you are applying to.


About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.