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'Optional' Essays

sara0023sara0023 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2008 in College Essays
when colleges have essays that they claim to be 'optional', do they hold it against you if you choose to not do them?? Does it in anyway imply that you are not interested in their college or that you are simply to lazy to bother with them?
Post edited by sara0023 on
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Replies to: 'Optional' Essays

  • goyanks193goyanks193 Posts: 112Registered User Junior Member
    As much as they may deny it, those essays are not optional. Whom would you accept? The one who took the time to do the essays or the one who appeared to be too lazy to do so.
  • roxxyroxxy Posts: 475Registered User Member
    I know people who got into schools with optional essays and those who got in without.

    The way I see it, go for it if you feel like you can show them another side of you that isn't seen in the rest of your application. If you feel like you'd only be repeating things, then don't.
  • cory123cory123 Posts: 1,825Registered User Senior Member
    i think its always in your best interest to do the essay. unless its just terrible, it can only help
  • bigreddawgiebigreddawgie Posts: 2,120Registered User Senior Member
    ill only do optionals if i have time before the jan 1 deadline
  • 99cents99cents Posts: 1,088Registered User Member
    Harry Bauld, former admission officer from Brown stated in his book they are not really optional. So you must write them. Don't be fooled by the therm optional.
  • cecils15cecils15 Posts: 134Registered User Junior Member
    i didnt do the penn and tufts optional essay, i will tell you how it all turns out in april.

    p.s. if it isn't optional, why do they label it as such?
  • phonyreal98phonyreal98 Posts: 1,969Registered User Senior Member
    see who will go the extra mile to get in?
  • jrparjrpar Posts: 2,083Registered User Senior Member
    Every year a few kids will get in without writing the "optional" essays. The general rule of thumb is that you should write them. It's an incredibly competitive year for selective college admissions. Honestly I can't imagine not writing an "optional" essay in this environment.
  • DalDal Posts: 291Registered User Junior Member
    I hear a lot that if its optional, then do it. This however is NOT always true. I know for a fact that James Madison University says they prefer that you do not do the optional essay if your sure your going to get in anyways, because then they don't have to spend the time reading it. They stressed it really was optional, but if you are a borderline candidate, then they take the optional essay into account. That was to be the only real time they took it into consideration.

    At Virginia Tech, the essay is held extremely lightly. Guidance Councilors in the state of Virginia tell students not to go out of their way to write their optional essay because they hold it so lightly it really isn't going to matter in terms of acceptance.

    Therefore its best to call the school or ask someone with years of experience with the school if you want to know if you can get away with not writing the essay. IF your scared they'll write your name on some post it note somewhere to remember you as a slacker, then just don't give them your name =P. Sometimes, you can get away with not writing the essay.
  • nhsharvardnhsharvard Posts: 1,947Registered User Senior Member
    Only write the optional essay, if you think you need the optional essay.
  • inspiration08inspiration08 Posts: 341Registered User Member
    optional essays tend to ask for information that isnt anywhere else in your application that you feel they need to know, etc. i wrote ONE essay about a passion/hobby that falls under the category of "what i do for fun" rather than EC, and submitted it as my optional essay to all the schools that ask for one. that meant i only had to write the one essay, and it went to all the schools that asked for optional essays. sweet.
  • ethanrtethanrt Posts: 153Registered User Junior Member
    Maybe I should've written one or two for Harvard, but I really felt that the tone of their explanation discouraged doing so, so *shrug* We'll see how that turns out.
  • La_La123La_La123 Posts: 22Registered User New Member
    Schools like Duke, Tufts and the like, I would advise writing the essay, and make it a well written one too..but for other less competitive schools, especially if you are average/above average for tests scores/gpa/etc, I don't think it would be a huge deal.
  • chronicidalchronicidal Posts: 709Registered User Member
    p.s. if it isn't optional, why do they label it as such?

    several possible reasons. 1) so their application looks easier and more people apply. 2) so really well-qualified candidates don't waste their time, while it may be advisable for borderline applicants. 3) so recruited athletes and development cases don't waste their time.
  • jerzgrlmomjerzgrlmom Posts: 1,245Registered User Senior Member
    I thought my son made a mistake not doing the "Why Duke" essay. He had submitted one of the other optional essays and felt his "Why Duke" essay would sound like everyone else's. I disagreed, saying it would imply disinterest. He was accepted. Go figure.
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