10 Amazing Colleges Without Supplemental Essays

Conventional wisdom claims that college hopefuls should apply to 12-15 schools to best increase their chances of getting into an institution that is a good fit for them. 

But it can be difficult for a lot of students to imagine pulling that off without such a process requiring months of laborious application crafting. 

Why? So many schools require their applicants to write pages upon pages of supplemental application materials. 

On top of this, many students won’t know what college they want to go to until they hear back from several schools regarding different scholarships and opportunities available to them. 

With some estimates showing that up to 55% of high school students feel unprepared for college, and up to 50% of college freshmen are undecided about their major, uncertainty is widespread during the college application process. 

It is only natural, then, that such a big decision would be made easier if students were able to compare and contrast many options after casting a wide net.

In trying to cast that wide net, some might think that the best schools must have the longest applications. But that isn’t always the case. 

This article breaks down 10 amazing schools that don’t require that students spend extra hours crafting an unnecessarily large number of supplemental essays. The following schools may require personal statements, but nothing beyond that. 

In laying out this list, this article shows that it’s a misconception that good schools must have time-consuming applications. 

As students begin to create their wide nets, any one of these schools would be fantastic additions that require little extra time spent on application-crafting.

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

University of Minnesota
August Schwerdfeger, University of Minnesota East Bank from Riverside Plaza, CC BY 4.0

The University of Minnesota is the flagship institution of the Minnesota university system. Ranked 24th in academic and research excellence in the 2021 Shanghai Ranking, this campus, nestled within the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, has produced 26 Nobel Prize-winning alumni, 3 Pulitzer Prizes, 25 Rhodes scholars, and about 130 Fulbright recipients. 

The University of Minnesota has an especially impressive Ecology department, ranked second globally, alongside the world’s 10th best Management department, and the 11th best Biotechnology department. 

The University of Minnesota is also home to institutes specifically designed for the study of Law and the Environment, Cognitive Sciences, Translational Neuroscience, Environmental study, Population studies, and more, assuring that students interested in these fields of study have a home on campus.

University of Denver (Denver, CO)

The University of Denver is a private research university in Denver, Colorado with incredibly strong Creative Writing, Astronomy, and Study Abroad departments. 

Denver is home to one of the nation’s oldest Creative Writing programs, founded by renowned novelist John Edward Williams in 1966. 

Their English department is also home to one of the most respected college literary magazines in the country, The Denver Quarterly. 

For students hoping to study abroad, Denver has one of the most robust study abroad programs in the world, with some classes having up to 71% of their students being offered the chance to study abroad. 

Finally, students interested in studying the heavens will have an unparalleled experience at Denver, as they have the 11th highest telescope in the world in terms of altitude at the Meyer-Womble Observatory

Furman University (Greenville, SC)

Furman University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Furman University is the oldest university in South Carolina, and is frequently ranked as one of the top universities in the Southern United States. 

Students hoping to work towards a more sustainable future will find a home at Furman University. Furman University, lead by the Shi Institute for Sustainability, has won several awards for its sustainability initiatives, including Furman being ranked by the AASHE’s Sustainable Campus Index as being the 10th most sustainable campus for all baccalaureate institutions. Furman also received the AASHE’s National Campus Sustainability Achievement Award in 2016.

For those looking to experience the serenity and beauty that a college campus can often provide to best enhance the overall student experience, Furman is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world, with USA Today ranking Furman as 4th in the nation in 2016.

Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA)

Juniata College
Public domain photo by Jason Jones via Wikimedia Commons

Juniata College offers its students a truly one of a kind experience by having its student not declare a major, but instead, a “Program of Emphasis,” through which students have the opportunity to create their own, self-designed major. 

Students may choose from a set of pre-planned Programs of Emphasis or create their own. 

In this way, Juniata gives students unique opportunities for academic exploration due to its more flexible curriculum requirements. 

Nearly forty-five percent of Juniata students design their own program of emphasis.

Furthermore, Juniata has truly unique college-wide events which give the school a charming feeling of community. 

The Madrigal Dinner, for example, features up to 700 students tenting outside Ellis Hall for up to a week for the chance at being the first in line for a massive, campus-wide feast. 

Juniata has several unique celebrations of this sort, and a wonderful community atmosphere.

Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)

Skidmore College
Peter Flass at English Wikipedia, Skidmore College Jonsson Tower, CC BY 3.0

Skidmore College is considered one of the nation’s “New Ivies.” Ranked as the 38th best liberal arts college in the United States, Skidmore College earns its reputation as one of the most prestigious in the nation. 

Skidmore has one of the most robust Student Media infrastructures in the country. With the Salmagundi, a literary journal that has published the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Seamus Heaney, The Skidmore News, The Skidmo’ Daily, SkidTV, and more, those hoping to get hands-on experience with media production will have all the tools available to them to succeed at Skidmore. 

With a focus on promoting creative thought, Skidmore provides its students state of the art artistic facilities via multi-million dollar theaters, music halls, and art galleries, so that those interested in honing their creative abilities can experience some of the absolute highest quality artistic institutions in the country.

Northeastern University (Boston, MA)

Northeastern University
Edward Orde, Krentzman Quad, Northeastern University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Northeastern University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, which is second to none in enhancing their students’ education via internships, academics-related jobs, and career services.

Regularly ranked #1 in the country for Best Co-Ops/Internships by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review, and ranked as having the best career services department in the nation by the Princeton review, those hoping to kick-start their career with on-the-ground employment/experience will be in wonderful hands at Northeastern.

Northeastern has one of the world’s largest and oldest co-op programs. In a co-op, students alternate between a semester of study and a semester of relevant work/internship experience, which is typically paid. 

While working, students do not pay tuition, and thus many students at Northeastern stay five years so that they can graduate with several years of work and academic experience under their belt.

Connecticut College (New London, CT)

Connecticut College
Beyond My Ken, Plant and Branford Houses Connecticut College, CC BY-SA 4.0

Connecticut College has maintained a truly distinctive tradition for over eighty years. All students, faculty, and staff at Connecticut College operate under an Honor Code, a promise all college members make to uphold a standard of mutual respect, excellence, and communal values. 

The Honor Code is taken so seriously that the college has an Honor Council, which litigates violations. 

As such, it is no wonder, with a strict code of mutual respect that fosters community and cooperation among college members, that Connecticut College is ranked 25th among all liberal arts colleges for its contribution to the public good, as measured through the degree of social mobility a school provides, the service it does for the nation, and the good an institution’s research does.

With award-winning library systems, rigorous academics, and a slew of notable alumni, this college promises its students the chance to achieve both academically and as upstanding citizens. 

Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)

Seton Hall University
Joe829er, Presidents Hall at Seton Hall University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Seton Hall is a private, Catholic research university in South Orange, New Jersey. As one of the nation’s largest religious universities, Seton Hall is ranked as the #29 Catholic university in the nation by Niche. 

Seton Hall produces the Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, one of the largest diplomatic journals in the country, which promises students the chance to experience the forefront of international relations and diplomatic thought while studying at Seton. 

Related to this, undergraduate students produce the Diplomatic Envoy, a weekly newspaper regarding foreign relations, further demonstrating the kinds of projects students interested in international relations can engage in while at Seton. 

Furthermore, as an NCAA Division I, Big East Conference member, Seton Hall promises its students the full range of wonderful college athletics experiences to its students. 

Colby College (Waterville, ME)

Colby College
Public domain photo by Nick Kline via Wikimedia Commons

Colby College is another “Little Ivy” school, and is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 17th best liberal arts college in the nation, and the 5th Best Value school. Colby received an A+ from Niche in terms of academics and value, and an A for diversity.

Colby College is a model for sustainable institutions globally, as Colby is the largest college to have net zero carbon emissions, and is ranked as the most sustainable college in the country by Second Nature

Colby is ideal for students wanting to pursue research or major projects, as Colby follows a 4-1-4 course schedule, where students take 4 classes in the Fall and Spring, and then take a single, intensive, “Jan-plan” class in the winter.

In this way, Colby allows students to dedicate themselves to one project, area of research, or specialization in the winter—a truly unique educational opportunity.

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

Case Western Reserve University
EurekaLott, Mather House, CWRU, CC BY 4.0

Case Western Reserve University, a private research university in Cleveland, Ohio, is truly one of the nation’s best.

Ranked as the #42 best university in the country by U.S. News and World Report, this university has it all, from the 18th best Theatre program in the world according to The Hollywood Reporter, to the world-renowned Electrochemistry and Electroengineering departments which recently received a grant of $10.75 million dollars from the U.S. Department of energy.

With over a hundred “centers” dedicated to the investigation of subjects ranging from Growth Studies to Nonprofit Organizing, any student in just about any discipline will find a center on campus specially designed for their area of study.