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Do optional teacher recommendations or essays make a difference?

emptynestof1emptynestof1 0 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
I have noticed that some colleges state that a teacher recommendation or personal statement are optional but not required. Does it help your chances for admission if you do the additional recommendations and personal statements?
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Replies to: Do optional teacher recommendations or essays make a difference?

  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't think a strong letter or essay can possibly hurt your chances. So if you end up on the cusp of being admitted, either of those might be the thing that makes the difference.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28777 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    They can. If you can add strong ones, it’s that much more of a chance to bring attributes and contributing issues to the AO’s attention. It can also reinforce the opinion that you have a blasé app
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1953 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I wouldn't pass up the chance to submit an "optional" essay. All else being equal, if a hypothetical decision comes down to a person without the essay and the person who took time to write a careful essay on why the college is a great match, who would you expect the college to pick?
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    They are the only things that separate your application from that of another kid with identical stats. They allow "YOU" to shine out of the app.
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  • ClassicMom98ClassicMom98 126 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    If you can add strong ones, then yes. But if not, don't be afraid to skip them. When S16 applied to Duke, the optional essay had something to do with being a minority or bringing diversity to the campus. He tried to write about being a minority in his HS, but it didn't come across well. Ultimately, he left it blank. We were surprised when he was admitted. He was waitlisted to the other Ivies/top 20s.
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