So we’ve been getting a whole bunch of questions about this portion of the Bennington Supplement to the Common App. (It is coming up on application time.)
This is not something that is worth pulling your hair out over.
We give you guidelines to help you put your best foot forward and send us a great piece of analytic writing, but that’s at the core of what we’re looking for: good analytic writing.
Do you know how to develop an original thought (thesis), articulate it, and then back it up with solid evidence? Anddd do it elegantly and concisely? (This sounds like a lot to ask, and it is, but that’s what you should be stressing over, not whether or not the paper you’re really proud of and is a great example of your writing skills exactly fits our guidelines.) If the paper you’re really proud of is actually a poem, we want to read that too (and there are parts of the supplement where you can submit that), but this is your opportunity to get into the nitty gritty academic argument stuff.
As far as the “graded” part is concerned, we’re not going to judge you based on whether or not your teacher thinks you’re brilliant, we’re just interested in getting a deeper understanding of your high school experience, so do you generally get an inexplicable A- at the bottom of your papers, or do you get a paragraph of feedback for every paragraph you write.
Stress begone! We can’t wait to read whatever you decide to send us.