College Essays

University of Michigan Supplemental

Prompt: Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (300 words)


me, peace is captured by golden light flickering through green foliage (08/16/22, drive home with Ellee). Love is preserved by the untouched, fleeting smile of a friend (04/07/21, study hall with Libby and chocolate milk). Joy is saved by my parents beside the grill, smoke stagnant and immortalized (07/04/18, fireworks celebration). Snap, click, flash. 

I photograph my favorite moments. With 13,592 photos (and counting), I belong to the community of memory capturers. My digitized memories are sorted into albums—Girls Just Want to Have Sun, Arboretum Gardening Extravaganzas, Foods Crafted by the Gods—all of which are shared to each one of my beloveds’ phones with a single tap. I love that my favorite people get to see their impact on me and in return I see from their eyes and camera what I am to them; each memory capturer with their own perspective and unique story. 

Photos connect people regardless of time or distance or language. With my grandparents, our shared photos bring us closer into each other’s lives, despite the 7,000 miles separating us. At my summer camp, I capture photos of the campers and their joy: swimming or crafting or reading. I have the privilege of sharing my photos, timeless glimpses of their childhoods, with their loved ones.

My collection of photos grows as my memories do—a candid, snapshot version of me because of the moments I cherish. I have photos from before I remember (11/12/06, sticky fingered with missing teeth) and my proudest moments (02/19/21, skiing through the finish line) because those around me preserve me the way I treasure them. While peering into the past, I click my way through the present with my favorite people, storage awaiting whatever memories lie in the future.

Tips for Writing: 

When I first started writing supplements, I struggled with figuring out exactly what to write about. Instead of staring aimlessly at a blank document for an hour, read the prompt and spend a day just digesting it. I found this was the best way to casually brainstorm good ideas with less stress. Also, my best supplements came the easiest because they really resonated with me personally. Rather than trying to dissect exactly what the colleges are looking for, you should write what directly aligns with you because it will be the most personal and genuine which shows best through writing. And make sure your writing style matches you. I spent a lot of time reading successful examples essays and tried mimicking their styles but it’s always choppy when it’s not your own. Your best writing will sound like you. Lastly, please don’t have paragraphs of prose explaining yourself. What makes your essays unique is your real life examples because they’re specific. Anyone can write prose but only you have your experiences. Good luck!!

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