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Colleges Without Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

We recommend that most students apply to 8-12 colleges—typically at least two safeties, four targets, and two reaches. This strategy boosts a student’s odds of getting into multiple schools, increases their options, and even offers leverage to negotiate for more financial aid. 

 

Unfortunately, applying to this many schools is time-intensive, especially considering that many schools require supplemental essays as part of their application. Applying to 10 colleges could mean that you need to write 10-20 extra essays! Luckily, there are many schools that don’t have any extra essays beyond the Common App essay or personal statement, if you’re looking for schools to balance out your list without the additional writing.

 

Below is a list of 45 liberal arts colleges and universities without essay supplements. The list isn’t comprehensive, but it covers a spectrum of schools of varied selectivity. The list does not include any schools with optional essays, which are something we always encourage applicants to complete. 

 

Top Liberal Arts Colleges Without a Supplemental Essay Requirement

 

College

Location

Acceptance Rate

Colby College

Waterville, ME

10%

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

15%

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

17%

Denison University

Granville, OH

29%

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY

30%

Kenyon College

Gambier, OH

34%

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

34%

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH

36%

Connecticut College

New London, CT

37%

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

40%

Rhodes College

Memphis, TN

45%

Eckerd College

Saint Petersburg, FL

67%

Ripon College

Ripon, WI

70%

 

Update: We removed Grinnell College and Colgate University from this list because they’ve historically sent optional supplements to students after they applied.

 

Top Research Universities Without a Supplemental Essay Requirement

 

College

Location

Acceptance Rate

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

18%

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

34%

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

36%

Dillard University

New Orleans, LA

39%

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ

40%

Spelman College

Atlanta, GA

43%

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT

49%

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

54%

University of Denver

Denver, CO

59%

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN

64%

University of Houston

Houston, TX

65%

DePaul University

Chicago, IL

68%

University of South Carolina

Orangeburg, SC

69%

Ohio Northern University

Ada, OH

70%

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

71%

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

71%

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH

72%

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

Lowell, MA

73%

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

74%

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

75%

Washington State University

Seattle, WA

76%

University of Massachusetts – Boston

Boston, MA

76%

University of Hartford

Hartford, CT

76%

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR

77.10%

University of Idaho

Moscow, ID

78%

Miami University

Oxford, OH

80%

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IO

83%

University of New Hampshire

Durham, NH

84%

University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

85%

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

87%

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

87%

 

Should You Only Apply to Schools With No Supplement?

 

Applying only to schools with no supplement would limit your options severely, so we don’t recommend it. That said, supplements can serve as a litmus test for how much you care about a particular college. If you’re really excited to attend a particular college, you’re more likely not to mind extra application work (after all, it’s a chance to show a college why they should accept you). Conversely, if you’re turned off by writing a supplemental essay, it could indicate that you’re not as excited about a school as you thought you were.

 

Some essay prompts also give you insight into the personality of a college. For example, the University of Chicago is known for its quirky essay prompts—the 2021-2022 supplement has applicants explore ideas like What if the moon were made of cheese? and What’s so easy about pie? If UChicago’s unorthodox essay prompts make you cringe, it’s a possible sign that the school’s culture isn’t right for you. If they excite and inspire you, you could be a perfect fit.

 

Overall, a college’s essay requirements should not be a major deciding factor as to whether or not you apply to a school (unless you’re truly short on time). What’s most important is whether or not you will fit with the school academically and socially. Consider things like:

 

  • Do you match the stats for admitted students? 
  • Does the school offer strong programs in your areas of interest? 
  • Are there resources to support your unique values and pursuits outside of the classroom? 
  • Is the school located somewhere desirable for you? 

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at these Schools?

If you’re trying to round out your school list, it’s important to know whether a particular school is a reach, target, or safety. CollegeVine can help! Our free chancing engine considers factors such as your grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities to estimate your odds at hundreds of colleges across the country, along with providing tips to strengthen your profile.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.