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3 Tips for Writing the Bucknell Supplemental Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.

 

What’s Covered:

 

 

In this article, we share strategies for writing the Bucknell University supplemental essay, including how to show the depth of your passions, be specific in your writing, and use your words effectively.

 

Show the Depth of Your Passions

 

One critical thing to keep in mind when writing the Bucknell supplemental essay is the importance of demonstrating the depth of your passions. Ideally, you want to go an extra layer deeper about the subjects and concepts that you want to explore at Bucknell.

 

For example, if you are interested in studying economics, writing simply, “I love economics,” is not the strongest way to approach this prompt. Instead, writing your essay about monetary policy and delving into a specific concept like inflation targeting would show much more insight into your passion for economics as a subject.

 

After choosing a specific topic related to a discipline that you are interested in, the next step is to highlight the related opportunities that you want to pursue at Bucknell. Continuing the economics example, an effective essay would next talk about a monetary policy-specific course track or extracurricular opportunity at Bucknell, showing that you have done your research and are committed to attending Bucknell.

 

Be Specific

 

Include Specific Details But Don’t Waste Space

 

Another factor to consider is including college-specific content in this essay response. This can be difficult for some students to achieve, but it is critical to include a few specific details that are unique to the college while not spending too much time doing so. 

 

A good rule of thumb for including school-specific details is to aim for spending no more than 10% to 20% of the total essay length on them, so between 25 and 50 words at most for this particular essay.

 

Highlight a School’s Unique Philosophy or Approach to Teaching

 

The best thing that you can write about in this section of the essay is a unique philosophy, teaching approach, or opportunity that the program you are interested in at Bucknell has. For example, at the University of Chicago, the economics program is renowned, as is the interdisciplinary learning academic approach at the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

That said, even if you can’t quite fit this into your essay, just talking about classes and extracurricular opportunities and connecting them to why you want to study your major at Bucknell will be good enough. When doing this, be careful to avoid just name-dropping a factoid without adding insight as to why it’s important to you. Instead, try to include a specific detail, such as a course name, and connect it back to why you want to study the major in the first place.

 

Use Your Words Effectively

 

Be Concise

 

The third tip to consider when writing the Bucknell supplemental essay is to be concise. You only have 250 words to write this essay, so you don’t want to waste space on unnecessarily wordy responses that limit the number of actual points that you can get across. 

 

Additionally, stay away from explicitly rephrasing the prompt, like: “I am interested in this major because . . .”  First, a response like this can make you sound robotic, and second, it’s just a wordy way of saying something that you could instead show throughout the essay. 

 

Avoid or Reduce Anecdotes

 

Another tip for this essay in particular is to stay away from anecdotes entirely or only use one anecdote.

 

When you write an anecdote, it’s often easy to get too focused on the stories, and when you only have 250 words, this may not leave enough space to reflect on or articulate why you love your intended major. 

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Reduce Your Word Count Later

 

One final tip for this essay is to not be afraid to write beyond the word count. For the Bucknell supplemental essay, this could look like an extra 300 to 350 words. Then, cut back the essay to 250 words later in the editing process.

 

This strategy works because when you allow yourself to write more and explore your thoughts on the topic fully, it often brings out the best ideas and writing. Some people are afraid to cut back words and sentences, but after looking at an essay multiple times, you’ll find that it becomes easier to edit out the excess. It’s also simpler to reduce an essay that is too long than it is to add more good content to an essay that has already been drafted.


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