How to Write the Clark University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019
Clark University can be found in the heart of Worcester, Massachusetts, a city of 200,000 located 40 miles west of Boston. Originally created as an all-graduate institution in 1887, Clark now boasts around 2,200 undergraduate students, allowing for a majority of classes to have under 20 students. As a liberal arts, private research college, Clark is known for its excellence in subjects like psychology, physics, biology, and entrepreneurship, and with its small student body, contains a robust undergraduate research program.
Clark University is ranked 7th on the Times Higher Education’s list of the World’s Best Small Universities, 66th on the US News National Universities ranking, and 32nd on the US News Best Value Schools ranking. Notable alumni of Clark include actress Padma Lakshmi, prison reformer Miriam Van Waters, and child psychologist Arnold Gesell.
Clark requires a few supplementary essays, which can be a bit daunting, so we here at CollegeVine are here to help you navigate through them!
This prompt is pretty straightforward but requires a few key components. First, you want to bring up an activity that you dedicated a lot of time towards and were seriously involved in. You want to talk about specific things you did and memorable moments you can point to, so you can vividly illustrate your involvement. You want to also make sure that in the 250 words, you have talked about why this activity means a lot to you, and how it has shaped your growth as a person. This last part is key and often forgotten. You want to elaborate not just on what you did, but why you did it, and what you gained from it.
Here are some examples that could guide you:
Example 1: Maybe you worked in a coffee shop for the past year. Instead of listing out your duties on the job, you could talk about meaningful experiences you had while working: maybe it was that extraordinary regular who taught you a ton about life, the care it took towards crafting that espresso drink you never quite got perfect, or simply learning how to withstand exhaustion during long shifts. Talk about how by working in a customer-oriented environment, you grew a thick skin, learning to deal with both the best of people and the worst of people.
Example 2: Maybe you’ve been on your school’s rugby team throughout high school. You could talk about a time of serious adversity, such as when your team chemistry was falling apart, and how you played a role in working towards bringing the team back together. You could talk about a momentous team win where you played a big role or a momentous loss where you played a big role—as long as you grew personally through the experience, anything is game. For you, maybe there was no better community than your rugby team, which pushed you to develop not only as an athlete but also as a person.
Example 3: Maybe you wrote for your school newspaper. You could talk about how you learned so many things from interviewing people in your school as well as your community. Maybe you could hone into a specific interview with a notable figure at your school, and talk about how you grappled with setting the correct tone and word choice for the profile you wrote, which would influence how others thought of this person. You could expand into your general love for writing, for creating a complete image of a person through the written word.
There are a couple of key things you want to tackle in this prompt. First, you want to address what community means to you. This can range from the shared bonds you hold with others, the bouncing of similar passions that gets you energized, the camaraderie you don’t get anywhere else, the things you learn simply by being near inspiring people, or the “through thick and thin” attitude of your community. You ideally want to get out of the abstract and allow the reader to get a sense of community you truly felt home in, in order to better get your point across.
However, you want to focus the main chunk of your essay on the next part: what you hope to take and give to the Clark community. Make sure to research the different aspects of the school that you would fit into if you haven’t already. If you’ve taken a tour of the campus, talk about what that experience was like for you, and bring up specific campus locales where you felt a sense of community. You want to make the admissions team certain that you genuinely want to attend and contribute to Clark, and are not just applying to get another college application in.
Here are some examples that could guide you:
Example 1: Maybe you’re a bona fide writer and would like to contribute to the Clark community through writing things. You could talk about how you’d like to join Clark’s student newspaper, The Scarlet, and contribute poetry to Clark’s student literary magazine, Caesura. You’d love to go around and interview all the cool people on campus, as well as look into what’s going on in the surrounding Worcester community.
Example 2: Maybe you want to study psychology at Clark, and would love to do research in Clark’s extensive laboratory and clinical spaces—this, for you, is what it means to be fully integrated into the academic community. You’d love in particular to work with Professor James Cordova, whose research focuses on the psychology of couples and relationships. You want to further get involved by writing an honors thesis during your senior year.
Example 3: Maybe a big part of your high school experience was working with those with mental disabilities through Best Buddies. You could talk about how you’d like to continue this involvement by joining Clark’s chapter of Best Buddies, where you would find a community through working with others with similar passions.
Example 4: Maybe you’re from somewhere far away, like Arizona, and simply want to escape into a completely foreign environment. You could talk about how Clark, being in New England, would be a perfect “new” community for you, and you could contribute to this diversity not only by being from afar geographically but also by being a minority born of immigrant parents. You’d love to take part in ethnic organizations, but also immerse yourself in the general Clark student body.
If you feel like your grades and test scores accurately reflect your personal abilities, skip this essay prompt. If you feel like your grades and test scores could’ve been better, still think about skipping this prompt, as most students in hindsight could have pulled up their grades. However, if you have one outlier grade that would appear bizarre to an admissions counselor, explain why you got the grade you did to the best of your ability.
Additionally, if you have extenuating circumstances that have seriously hindered your academic abilities, feel free to mention that here. This can run the gamut from having a pestering concussion that has kept you in and out of the hospital, having to work a full job outside of classes to help support your family, or having serious bouts of depression. Even if your circumstances were not as drastic as these, don’t hesitate to mention them if you believe they are necessary to tell your overall story.
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