Optional essays really optional
First things first: make sure that the essay is, in fact, not required of you. Stay tuned for the remaining elements. Take advantage of the opportunity and write both. Check your prospective institutions policies in this area prior to submitting but as a general rule of thumb, small liberal arts colleges are far more likely than large state universities to a accept a writing sample; and b actually consider it in their admissions decision.
Not only are you taking advantage of another opportunity to sway the admissions decision in your favor, you are also demonstrating a proactive and determined attitude toward your application.
The reality is that most everyone is diverse in one way or the other, so get creative and demonstrate how you are different from every other face in the crowd. Some schools have strict policies against including unsolicited supplementary materials; others welcome them.
What you do or say is entirely up to you. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Whether with a member of the admissions committee or an alumni interviewer, this one-on-one conversation is a chance to show the college of your dreams that you are a flesh-and-blood human being with innumerable intangible qualities. Join us on social media for regular updates. For tips on how to best shine in front of an admission rep, check out our piece entitled Acing the College Interview. Here's the prompt: Other parts of your application give us a sense for how you might contribute to Northwestern. While that may have been excellent in hindsight, but it does show up as a year long or longer break in your career. In this essay, you may tell us more about your particular life experiences with an emphasis on how the perspectives that you have acquired would contribute to the intellectual community of the Law School. You poured your heart into the Common App essay and then refined the heck out of it to squeeze under the word limit. Upload it to an easily accessible website and provide us the URL. Let us investigate various situations that may require the optional essay, when to write them and some tips on what to have. Prepare a one-minute video that says something about you. What is the best advice you ever received and have you followed it? One quick way to distinguish is to look at the nature of the optional essay question. This is not a big blemish but giving it a positive spin assuming it was so for you can help have a good discussion if it comes to that.
Make sure to contact the college to see if adding something like this to your application is appropriate. Think beyond the normal and make the words count. And if the optional essay question is not a "Why Us" essay prompt, submit something only if it's a strong piece of writing AND it says something about you that isn't already demonstrated somewhere else in the application.
My college essay
The University Of Pittsburgh offers a full-blown smorgasbord of optional essay topics, nine in total, from describing an influential person in your life to sharing a talent that was otherwise not noted on your application. But we also want to consider how Northwestern will contribute to your interests and goals. At other times, a medical emergency or something untoward in the family may have distracted your attention leading to low performance for a period. Check your prospective institutions policies in this area prior to submitting but as a general rule of thumb, small liberal arts colleges are far more likely than large state universities to a accept a writing sample; and b actually consider it in their admissions decision. Likewise, leaving optional fields blank on college applications, especially at competitive institutions, will undoubtedly decay your prospects of winning the admissions game. You may have room to state that you were the captain in your senior year, but not have room to lay out how you gradually climbed the ranks beginning in freshman year. Your response should be limited to words. There is literally a topic for every conceivable applicant and while not explicitly stated, it is fully expected that students will avail themselves of the opportunity. For Georgetown, they offer applicants an opportunity to write both a diversity statement as well as one of the five optional essays above. In this essay, you may tell us more about your particular life experiences with an emphasis on how the perspectives that you have acquired would contribute to the intellectual community of the Law School. How do you figure out which optional essays are truly optional, and which ones are actually must-do's?
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