The Supplements Launch

3–6 WeeksPlanning Process + 3 Private Sessions

What’s The Supplements Launch?

The Launch is our strategic program for the college applicant who is ready to identify topics for supplement essays and to begin drafting!

Is The Supplements Launch Right for Me?

If you’ve completed your main application essay and will need to address five or more substantial supplement prompts in addition to the common “Why are you applying here?” question, we recommend The Supplements Launch for the instruction and strategic organization it provides.

The Launch is open to students who are working with a Hillside coach in The Uncommon Essay Course. Materials from the Discovery steps serve as a rich source of ideas and directions for the supplement-writing project. Students not enrolled in this course should contact us to discuss a support plan for work on supplement essays.

If the supplements project is considerably smaller in scope, we recommend scheduling discrete Feedback Sessions, which can be followed by or paired with E-Feedback support.

How Does the Launch Work?



Essay Prompts

The applicant compiles the supplement prompts for the colleges they’re applying to and sends them to the coach, along with any preliminary thoughts they have about how they’ll address them. 

The Supplements Planner

The coach creates The Supplements Planner — a customized, shared spreadsheet for project management. The Planner organizes prompts, word limits, deadlines, ideas, and session notes, supporting the strategic thinking necessary for progress.

Session 1: Project Scope and Strategy

Coach and student assess the scope of the writing project and revisit Discovery material from the Uncommon Essay Course to identify promising experiences to write from. Using The Supplements Planner, they find efficiencies for addressing essay prompts. Often, the core of an essay can be reused and tailored to address prompts from different institutions. By the end of the session, the applicant will have selected some experiences to write about and will have a sense of the scope of the project before them so they can plan their work. 

photo of gate at university


Session 2: College Research Tutorial and Essay Planning

If the student needs to address any “Why are you applying here?” questions, the coach introduces Hillside’s “Why Apply Here?” Worksheet and together, coach and writer delve into research on a school. Considering the writer’s unique experiences and interests, the coach demonstrates how to engage in thorough research that will help them tell their story and articulate a genuine connection to the school. After the session, the student completes the Worksheet and receives a copy to use for additional schools. Session time is otherwise devoted to planning the drafting for high-priority essays.

Even if the question is focused on the college, don’t just use this as an opportunity to show your knowledge about the college; use your knowledge of the college to tell your own story. University of Richmond admissions officer


Session 3: Priority Essay Planning or Draft Revision

Depending on the writer’s preferences and progress, the final session can be used to focus on essay planning and outlining or on top-to-bottom revision of drafting, locating areas for clarification and further reflection. The coach shares effective storytelling approaches for addressing prompts with different word limits and tailoring essays to address different prompts. 

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Options for Further Support

We’ve designed The Supplements Launch to provide instruction, tools, and organizational help for undertaking the supplement-writing project. It is not designed to take students through outlining and revising all supplement essays. Some students approach writing these essays on their own after completing the Launch. Many students opt to extend work with their coach through Feedback Sessions or E-Feedback, which can be used for top-to-bottom revision of drafts or for planning additional essays.

What Clients Are Saying About The Supplements Launch

Almost every other supplement I wrote stemmed from the ideas we found for that first essay!
Student, Cambridge, MA