DS? Why X?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
fruittree57
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:44 pm

DS? Why X?

Postby fruittree57 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:47 pm

I would be grateful if I could get some advice on whether I should be writing supplemental essays.

I have strong numbers (180, 3.66) and am planning to apply to most of the t14. I've already submitted applications to some schools (Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, UVA, GULC), but have not yet submitted to Michigan, Penn, Cornell, Duke, because I've read on the boards that it's difficult to get in without writing a Why X? essay. Would I be an obvious candidate for YP if I don't write one for these schools? Or is better to submit as soon as possible? (I ask because I'm a very slow writer, so writing one for all of these could potentially take a couple weeks)

Second, since Penn requires a supplemental essay, I was going to try writing a diversity statement. I'm half-Mexican, but it has never been a big part of my life - I don't know my mom's side of the family and have never been to Mexico. So I was going to write about how my parents brought me up and what was different about it - I think I can write a decent piece about this. My questions about the diversity statement are 1.) If you are a minority, is it appropriate to write one without bringing up your ethnicity? 2.) If I do end up writing one, should I submit it to schools other than Penn? Or will it look like I'm stretching the parameters of the DS and harm my application?

Thanks for any advice.

tourdeforcex
Posts: 428
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:19 pm

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby tourdeforcex » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:10 pm

i'm not an expert on YP but for michigan and penn, i don't think you're an obvious candidate for YP. i would still suggest submitting. in the end, a why X essay should take less than a week.

as for your DS questions: if you are a minority, it is appropriate to write one w/o bringing up your ethnicity. as most of the schools emphasize, your diversity might stem from something outside your ethnicity and that is just as legitimate. if you do end up writing one, submit it where you think it will help and contribute to your app. your numbers are very impressive, so it's not like you have no chance if you don't write one.

also, i think writing on how your upbringing was different is a fine topic.

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby bdubs » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:29 pm

Without a Why X (or required supplemental essay in the case of Penn), you will be a prime candidate for YP. You are a relative splitter in that your LSAT is as high as it can be, but your GPA is below median for almost all of the T14. Some strong candidates who are above both medians get in to Michigan, Penn and Duke without writing a Why X but it is unlikely for you.

Basically, all of the lower T14 are going to assume that based on your numbers you are going to CCN and will probably waitlist you unless you write a Why X telling them that you really are interested in their school as something more than a safety.

Also, write a DS about being half-mexican. It will only help your application.

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Dany
Posts: 11580
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:00 pm

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby Dany » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:52 pm

bdubs wrote:Also, write a DS about being half-mexican. It will only help your application.

This. (Assuming you can write well.)

justadude55
Posts: 963
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:23 am

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby justadude55 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:16 pm

if you got a 180 and you are URM, you should be in HYS. i'd focus on these 3, and take your time to make your app strong. u seem like the exact applicant they're waiting for.

fruittree57
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:44 pm

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby fruittree57 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:57 pm

Thanks for the input everyone.

I guess I'll try to write the Why Xs? for the lower t14 - I feel I'm kind of an in between candidate: don't have the WE or softs to get HYS and have a strong chance of being YP for MVP.

I still am conflicted about the DS. I don't think I can really write a compelling story of how my ethnicity has informed my perspective and do think that I could write about how I would contribute diversity in other ways, but am afraid whether it might just be better to avoid it altogether. The main reason I was going to write one in the first place was because Penn required a supplemental essay.

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: DS? Why X?

Postby bdubs » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:09 pm

fruittree57 wrote:Thanks for the input everyone.

I guess I'll try to write the Why Xs? for the lower t14 - I feel I'm kind of an in between candidate: don't have the WE or softs to get HYS and have a strong chance of being YP for MVP.

I still am conflicted about the DS. I don't think I can really write a compelling story of how my ethnicity has informed my perspective and do think that I could write about how I would contribute diversity in other ways, but am afraid whether it might just be better to avoid it altogether. The main reason I was going to write one in the first place was because Penn required a supplemental essay.


Did you ever feel "weird" as half-mexican with fairly disconnected cultural ties? Schools will love if you can write coherently about the challenges of being of mixed cultural descent and how that made you feel different from your majority peers. Consensus is that a DS doesn't have to say "I am super involved in the culture of my race through X, Y, and Z" it just has to talk about how you bring a different perspective because of your race/ethnic status.




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