macalester college supplemental essays
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Macalester College Supplemental Essays 2023-24

Students applying to Macalester College will be faced with an important decision: should I complete the Macalester College supplemental essays? Without a doubt, the answer is yes! The Macalester essays are a great way to enhance your application and show Macalester’s admissions team exactly why you want to attend.

Macalester College is a private liberal arts institution located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is widely considered one of the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1874, the urban 53-acre campus is now home to more than 2,100 undergrads who can choose from 39 unique bachelor’s degrees in a wide variety of subjects.

In this guide to the Macalester College supplemental essays, we will walk you through everything you need to know about the Macalester essays and the Macalester requirements for admission. First, we’ll take a closer look at the Macalester College essay prompts. Then, we’ll give you writing tips so you feel confident crafting your responses. Later, we’ll discuss some important Macalester need-to-knows, including why your Macalester essays are so important.

So, ready to get started? Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to write the best Macalester essays and how to get into Macalester College!

Macalester College Admissions: Quick Facts

Macalester College Admissions Quick Facts

  • Macalester College Acceptance Rate: 28% – Macalester’s acceptance rate makes it a selective school.
  • Macalester College Essay Requirements: 
    • 1 required (~650 word) personal essay via the Common App OR 2 required (~800 word/~500 word) personal/topical essays via the QuestBridge application 
    • 2 optional (~300 word) Macalester supplemental essays 
  • Macalester College Application: Students may submit their Macalester application through the Common Application or QuestBridge Application. In addition to your Macalester supplemental essays, you’ll need to submit your high school transcript and two letters of recommendation to complete your Macalester application. 
  • Macalester College Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 1
    • Early Action: November 1
    • Early Decision II: January 1
    • Regular Decision: January 15
  • Macalester College Supplemental Essays Tip: Your Macalester College supplemental essays have to stand out if you want to gain acceptance. Although they are not included in the Macalester requirements, we highly recommend taking the time to write skillful and polished Macalester essays. That way, you can help the admissions team get a better understanding of who you are and what you can contribute to the campus community.

Does Macalester have supplemental essays?

macalester college supplemental essays

Yes, the Macalester application allows prospective students to respond to two optional Macalester College essay prompts. Firstly, it’s important to note that each of the Macalester College essay prompts allow for a 300-word response. So, it is important to convey your response clearly and concisely. Here are the optional Macalester College essay prompts.

Macalester College Optional Essay Prompts

1. Macalester is one of few highly selective liberal arts colleges located in the middle of a metropolitan area. Students benefit from the strong sense of community on campus and opportunities to engage in academic, social, and civic engagement options in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Have you thought about how Macalester’s location might impact your experience? If so, in what ways?

2. Four values permeate Macalester’s mission and purpose: academic distinction, internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. Guided by this mission, Macalester is a learning environment that affirms different identities and experiences and prepares graduates to work toward a more just and peaceful world. In what ways do your lived experiences, perspectives, or hopes for your college education connect with Macalester’s mission/learning environment?

Why School Essays

Both of these Macalester College essay prompts are what we call why school essays. Why school essays are a common supplemental essay prompt required for college applications. The why Macalester College essay prompts require you to explain why you want to attend Macalester College. These Macalester essays should demonstrate what specific academic program, extracurricular opportunities, values, or qualities have drawn you to the school. On top of that, they should give Admissions a clear sense of how you might fit into the campus community. 

Nevertheless, make sure that in these Macalester essays, you are not just listing off what you like about the school or restating information that is readily available on their admissions website. Your Why Macalester essays should express exactly what has drawn you to Macalester College and why you are a good fit for their campus.  

Although these Macalester College supplemental essays are optional, they can play a pivotal role in your acceptance story. Therefore, you should invest adequate time and energy into writing a compelling response to both optional Macalester essays to give yourself the best chance of impressing Macalester Admissions. 

Furthermore, the application also gives students the opportunity, if necessary, to explain extenuating circumstances like disciplinary violations or contextualizing significant changes in grades. So, if there is something in your application that may work against you in the admissions process, you can address it. If applicable, be sure to take the time to craft an explanation (not an excuse) for the discrepancy and how you plan to move forward! 

How many essays does Macalester require?

macalester college supplemental essays

The only required Macalester essay is the Common Application personal statement. Here, you’ll choose one of seven essay prompts provided by the Common App and respond in 650 words or less. The full set of essay prompts for 2023-2024 is as follows:

Common App Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Remember, your personal Macalester essay introduces you to admissions officers. Use this Macalester essay as an opportunity to tell a unique story about yourself. Explain to the admissions team where you have been, where you are, and where you are headed.

You will notice that each of these personal statement prompts requires you to be reflective. Consequently, it matters less what you write about and more what deeper meaning the topic at hand communicates. All of these prompts have the power to be great Macalester College essay prompts. The important thing is to choose topics that demonstrate your unique passion.

Looking for more inspiration on how to tackle this type of essay? Read these resources on how to start your personal statement and examples of exceptional Common App essays

As previously stated, although the Macalester College supplemental essays are not required, they can still boost your chances of admission. Ultimately, the purpose of your Why Macalester essay is for the admissions officers to learn more about you and what you hope to gain from attending their college. This involves being clear about your goals and how Macalester, in particular, will aid in getting you there. Up next, we’ll give you some tips for writing your Macalester essays.

How to answer Macalester supplemental essays

macalester college supplemental essays

Writing your Macalester College supplemental essays can be a daunting task at first. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared! With our tips and tricks, you will be writing outstanding Macalester College supplemental essays that beat the highly selective acceptance rate in no time!

Now, we’ve discussed the Macalester College essay prompts and what kind of essays are required of you as an applicant. But, if you are struggling to find a topic for your Macalester College supplemental essays, there’s no need to panic. Instead, consider looking at the Macalester College supplemental essays as the ideal platform to write about your extracurricular activities. Essentially, consider exploring and sharing other aspects of yourself beyond your grades and academic achievements. 

Exploring your extracurriculars

Your Macalester College supplemental essays should demonstrate the importance of your involvement in extracurricular activities. When you think of extracurriculars, don’t limit yourself to school-sponsored activities. These can include sports teams, community activities, or job experiences. Here are some questions you can answer in your Macalester essays regarding your extracurricular activities, passions, and interests:

  • What distinct or complementary interests have you developed outside of the classroom? 
  • How have your extracurriculars impacted you and your path to higher education?
  • In what ways have your extracurricular activities developed your character, values, or passions? What examples can you give?

When crafting your Macalester essays, make sure to describe your personal connection to your activities. Discuss your specific relationship to it and what you have gained and learned from your involvement.

Show don’t tell

For most types of college admission essays, we recommend utilizing the “show don’t tell” writing style. And that includes your Macalester College supplemental essays. Stories are more effective at explaining your qualities and passions than statements. Use creative writing in your Macalester essay to give life to certain traits or beliefs you have. This is often much more captivating and effective than simply stating you have them. “Show” writing paints a vivid picture and engages the reader by telling a story with specific details. This creates more impactful and memorable Macalester College supplemental essays that will capture your reader’s attention while also providing evidence for your argument. 

Remember, your Macalester College supplemental essays should showcase any positive character traits you possess. These can include excellence in specific skills, values cultivated through involvement in your community, and strong passions or intellectual interests. These qualities are precisely what Macalester College admissions officers expect prospective students to contribute to the campus community.

Start with research

Another piece of advice for approaching the Why Macalester essay is to do your research on Macalester College. Your Macalester College supplemental essays should be full of school-specific details and demonstrate how the school’s campus culture will help you achieve your personal and career goals. You should attend a college that meets all of your needs. So, spend time learning more about their campus, offered majors, and student activities and organizations. 

Use your research to your advantage when writing the Macalester College supplemental essays. By doing so, you can show Admissions that you’ve invested time and energy into finding the best college for you. Submitting a well-informed and persuasive application can be pivotal in your admissions story. Compared to another applicant with strong grades and extracurriculars, compelling Macalester essays could be what puts you over the edge and solidifies the admission’s team decision to admit you.

As we mentioned above, research specific aspects of Macalester College that align with your educational and career goals. Then, use your research to craft a compelling Macalester essay that demonstrates what your goals are and how Macalester College, specifically, will help you reach them. 

Are these essays really optional?

macalester college supplemental essays

Technically, yes – the optional Macalester College supplemental essays are not a technical requirement of the application. However, your Macalester essays are the best way to make your application stand out among the other highly competitive applications. The more Macalester essays you write, the more the Macalester admissions team gets to know about you. Use the Macalester College supplemental essays to showcase aspects of yourself that may not have had a chance to shine through in other portions of your application. 

Furthermore, taking the opportunity to write Macalester College supplemental essays demonstrates the extent of your interest in Macalester College. Your willingness to go above and beyond the requirements shows the admissions team how dedicated you are to continuing your education at Macalester.

Simply put, the Macalester College supplemental essays are not really optional if you want the best chance at getting into Macalester. Undoubtedly, the highly selective acceptance rate requires you to stand out in every way possible. That means taking advantage of the opportunity Admissions has given you to write Macalester College supplemental essays. 

Does Macalester care about essays?

The Macalester admissions team practices holistic admission review, meaning all components of the application are thoroughly reviewed by the committee. This includes academic performance, recommendation letters, essays, leadership experience and potential, and extracurriculars. By considering more than just grades and test scores, Macalester aims to enroll a diverse class of well-rounded and multifaceted students. 

So yes, the admissions team does care about your Macalester College supplemental essays. Your Macalester College supplemental essays are a vital part of your application. They grant you the opportunity to speak directly to the admissions team about yourself and control the narrative of your application. Use your Macalester College supplemental essays to persuade Admissions as to why you’re a good fit for the Macalester community. 

Additional information about Macalester College

macalester college supplemental essays

Macalester College is a liberal arts school that prides itself on inspiring personal, social, and intellectual growth. The campus boasts a close-knit community with the benefits of being in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolis area. Being in the Twin Cities affords Macalester students a variety of opportunities to expand their education through community-based learning in an urban setting. 

Clearly, it is important to consider a campus’ location when building your college list. Remember, the best college towns in America for you are determined by your unique passions, interests, and career goals. Things you should consider when visiting and applying to colleges are campus and class size, location, and campus culture.

Additionally, Macalester College offers 63 areas of study and 100+ clubs and organizations for students to explore. Without a doubt, you’ll find no shortage of student opportunities, like the Outing Club, Mac Bike, or their student-run radio station WMCN 91.7FM. The majority of students (90% of their 2019 graduates) also get involved with some type of civic engagement while at Macalester. And, students get to live on campus for part of their undergraduate experience.

If it seems like Macalester College could be the place for you, you can take a virtual 360 tour, schedule a campus visit, or connect with admissions officers. That way, you’ll be sure to have plenty to discuss in your Macalester supplemental essays. 

Macalester College Supplemental Essays: Final Takeaways

Now, let’s review what we have learned about the Macalester College supplemental essays and how to get into Macalester. Macalester is a highly selective school with a low acceptance rate. This means your Macalester supplemental essays have to be pristine if you want to gain acceptance. 

Your grades and test scores are essential elements of your application. Nevertheless, your Macalester College supplemental essays have the power to make you stand out in the competitive applicant pool. Use your Macalester supplemental essays to add depth and individuality to your application. Share something the admissions team won’t find in any other parts of your application.

In general, your Macalester College supplemental essays should have your own, personal authentic voice. Furthermore, they should touch on your personal experiences, values, passions, and goals, and how these have impacted your personal growth. Strong essays will have a clear narrative structure, utilize storytelling techniques, and include school-specific details. In addition, be sure to tailor your response to the prompt and to answer the questions entirely. Some things you may want to avoid in your essays are generic or cliché responses and repetitive information. Remember, every word counts so use them wisely!

All in all, we know the writing process can feel daunting. So, be sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind when writing your Macalester College supplemental essays. 

Tips for writing your Macalester essays

  • Start early and make a plan.
  • Brainstorm, draft, revise, repeat. Never turn in a first draft of your Macalester supplemental essays.
  • Reflect and research. First, think about your motivations for applying and why you might be interested in applying to Macalester College in particular.
  • Show don’t tell. Sharing personal stories in your Macalester supplemental essays is more effective than making statements. Make sure to use pertinent evidence to back up your arguments.
  • Be clear and concise. Remember, clarity counts for more than creativity of vocabulary, especially with the limited word count of the Macalester supplemental essays.
  • Finally, proofread your Macalester supplemental essays and get feedback from others!

We hope this guide has helped you better understand the Macalester requirements, how to write better Macalester essays, and how to get into Macalester College. Moreover, feel free to refer back to this guide when you begin your Macalester College application and essays. Last but not least, remember our advisors are always here to help! For more individualized guidance, you can schedule an appointment with one of our advisors here. Happy writing!

macalester college supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by Bailey Bennett. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.