College Essays

University of Michigan – Supplement

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. (100-300 words)

Essay:

Once every four years, the popularity of swimming spikes. Portraits of muscular swimmers and their reactions after seeing their names on the scoreboard circulate around the internet, leading to non-swimmer fans thinking that swimming is all about conquering oneself. Yet, it is nowhere near correct. Many consider swimming to be an individual sport, but this is far from the truth. The relays that display four swimmers of each country celebrating together after their race are much less watched than individual events.

I have had the opportunity to truly experience and indulge the team spirit of swimming. As a club swimmer and a member of the Ridge Swim Team, I have been to countless meets where the intense atmosphere pushes my teammates and me to achieve best times. The congratulations and cheering of my friends and coaches after a phenomenal swim is truly unparalleled in other sports. We always cheer our lungs out at swim meets. The adrenaline rush makes everything worthwhile.

Even in practice, encouragement from teammates makes a huge difference when I am struggling with a hard set. The feeling that someone else is there with me, going through the same thing, uplifts me. 

Outside of the pool, we regularly host dinner parties and team events to encourage socialization among swimmers of all ages. I would always volunteer to time younger swimmers at swim meets and tryouts, giving them words of encouragement before they step on the blocks. 

When I first moved to this country, I felt as if I did not belong to a group. Swimming has allowed me to find my people, and it is through this sport that I see the value in team bonding. I found friendship and motivation in this huge family that is my swim team.

Tips for Writing:

Writing a supplement can be tough, but the number one thing to keep in mind when writing is to be specific. Think about how this essay distinguishes you from other applicants: the goal is to write something that other people cannot replicate. Use memorable and evocative language. For this specific prompt, try thinking about your unique experience in your chosen community, how it differs from others’ experiences in the same community, and how it changed you as a person. Add as many details as possible to illustrate your unique perspective in this community. In addition, do not repeat anything that you have already written about in-detail in other essays or that can be found in other parts of your application. Demonstrate your values and how your community fits your area of interest. Also, think outside the box. The prompt can be interpreted in many different ways; do not limit your essay to fit the definition of a community. Think about any unique or obscure interests that colleges don’t typically see to catch the reader’s attention.

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