College Essays

UVM Supplemental

University of Vermont Supplemental Essay: 

Ben and Jerry’s is a staple within my household. We are never without a pint of Peanut Butter Half Baked or Gimme S’more. In the fall months, we buy Pumpkin Cheesecake in bulk so we can enjoy it after the harvest-season concludes. Without fail, at ungodly hours of the night, at least one of us can be found rapidly shoveling spoonful after spoonful of Ben and Jerry’s in our mouths, straight out of the pint. To feed our addiction, we tried each and every flavor available to us, especially during the 2 for $7 sale. Though my love for Ben and Jerry’s is strong, one of their flavors disappoints me. In theory, the name of this flavor should describe me perfectly; however, their curation is not an accurate representation of my character. 

Ben and Jerry’s decided that their Glampfire Trail Mix flavor should have a chocolate base with “Crunchy Pretzel Swirls, Marshmallow Swirls & Fudge-Covered Almonds”. I would revise what should be a classic hiking, camping, and outdoorsy snack to be crunchier and nuttier for a granola audience.

I grew up eating trail mix, or GORP, as my parents call it. My father, a former employee and manager at REI for over 22 years, frequently stuffs our car with camping gear, straps kayaks onto the roof, and steers us 5 hours north to experience nature. On these excursions, we seek out local hiking trails and traverse the paths from dawn to dusk. What fuels us on these treks? Trail mix. The protein in the nuts, the sugar in the chocolate, and the fiber in the raisins come together to create the perfect energizing snack. Trail mix keeps us strong, moving, and motivated. After all, what is a better incentive than nuts and chocolate? 

Besides loving trail mix for its nostalgic and sentimental value, its practical purpose truly encapsulates my essence. The same way trail mix drives hikers and campers, I try to empower those around me. Whether it be emotionally, physically, or mentally, building people up gives me purpose; seeing my friends thrive and become their best selves inspires me to sustain my efforts. No matter if I just worked a busy shift at Bella’s Burgers or struggled through copious amounts of homework, I know I can uplift others. I’ve been dubbed the “therapist friend” as I will always advise people who ask for my assistance. I try to light a fire under them, kindling the innate strength they may have forgotten. Everyone possesses potential, but not everyone perceives it. Embodying encouragement, manifesting motivation, and personifying positivity are my goals, and I take time each day to achieve them. Need someone to talk to? Call me. Need a place to stay? Come over. Need to eat your feelings away? Good thing I have a minimum of 4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s in my fridge: let’s have a feast. Hopefully, one day that will include a traditional trail mix flavored ice cream from our beloved Ben and Jerry’s. 

Tips for Writing

As someone who struggles with the “first draft=final draft” mentality when writing, I had a lot of difficulties deciding what to say in my college essays. Staring at your computer screen and watching your cursor blink at you while racking your brain for any shred of inspiration is utterly exhausting. If you’re anything like me, I want you to know that there are methods of mastering this draining process. The more important thing is dropping the whole “first draft=final draft” perspective, stomping on it, and eliminating it from your mind. Get rid of it! Your first draft won’t be your final draft; accepting that will make your whole process easier. If you get stuck with writer’s block, I suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes and just writing. Don’t worry about grammar, word choice, or sentence structure; just get as much out as possible. This release of ideas typically serves as the skeleton of your essay; it shows you what points to build up to convey your core message. 

Once you have this rough draft, decide what concepts you want to emphasize. When determining this, remember to highlight examples that build your character. Your college essay should show that you are confident in yourself, so don’t downplay your strengths or be self-deprecating. While modesty is important, remember that thousands of students shamelessly brag about their accomplishments. Your essay is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from everyone else: be confident.

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