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Are "Optional" essays really optional?

compSciLovercompSciLover Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
Harvard has an optional essay with no word limit, and I think submitting any extra information might hurt my chances of acceptance. However, it's Harvard, and I think they still expect it. Should I do it?

Also, does anyone else have examples of schools that have optional essays and know what admission stats are like for them?

Replies to: Are "Optional" essays really optional?

  • Materof2Materof2 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    Nothing is really optional. If there’s an “optional” essay, spend the time to write a tailored, awesome essay. If you can submit an “optional” resume, then spend the time to create a knock-their-socks-off resume. Same is true with interviews and letters of rec. Good luck to you.
  • compSciLovercompSciLover Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    @Materof2 Thank you for the advice. I'll spend some time and write a good one then hopefully
  • Materof2Materof2 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    And I realize that Harvard doesn’t ask for all the things I mentioned above, but many schools do. The point is, tailor every application, and maximize every opportunity within the application. You’ll do great! Good luck to you. :)
  • compSciLovercompSciLover Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    @Materof2 Thank you!
  • camiruthcamiruth Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    Simple answer: no. The "optional" part tends to just help a school see who is lazy/doesn't really want to go there.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,972 Forum Champion
    Also think: It's decision day and you didn't get into Harvard. Do you think "I wish I did that essay...then I know I did everything possible to try to get in."
  • compSciLovercompSciLover Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Yes I agree. Thank you all for the advice! I have written the optional Harvard essays and I've submitted a research portfolio as well
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