When to add supplementary essays?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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erikjc
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When to add supplementary essays?

Postby erikjc » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:10 am

Are we able to submit a "Why ___?" essay for any school, regardless of whether they require it or even suggest it as an option? Same goes for diversity statement. It's hard to know what the apps on LSAC will look like until they're actually online, so anyone who has experience with this might be able to answer. Thanks!
Last edited by erikjc on Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rinkrat19
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:14 am

You are able to upload however many files (usually word docs) you want and it combines them into one file, along with your academic summary report and the actual application, that gets sent to the school. Obviously you don't want to annoy the adcomms into rejecting you by sending them a 50-page novel, so you want to choose wisely what to include.

Some schools want 'Why X' essays, sometimes a 'Why X' is a good idea to convince them you're really interested if you think you might get yield-protected (if your numbers are high for a school and they think you're applying as a safety and won't attend), and sometimes a 'Why X' sent later on with a LOCI can get you off a waitlist.

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erikjc
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby erikjc » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:57 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:You are able to upload however many files (usually word docs) you want and it combines them into one file, along with your academic summary report and the actual application, that gets sent to the school. Obviously you don't want to annoy the adcomms into rejecting you by sending them a 50-page novel, so you want to choose wisely what to include.

Some schools want 'Why X' essays, sometimes a 'Why X' is a good idea to convince them you're really interested if you think you might get yield-protected (if your numbers are high for a school and they think you're applying as a safety and won't attend), and sometimes a 'Why X' sent later on with a LOCI can get you off a waitlist.

Thanks, that's helpful. This might be a dumb quesiton, but do you think it's always best to submit a "Why" essay with the app, or is there a strategy in anticipating possibly being waitlisted at a particular school and saving the essay for later? I think I read that somewhere.

duckmoney
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby duckmoney » Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:07 pm

erikjc wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:You are able to upload however many files (usually word docs) you want and it combines them into one file, along with your academic summary report and the actual application, that gets sent to the school. Obviously you don't want to annoy the adcomms into rejecting you by sending them a 50-page novel, so you want to choose wisely what to include.

Some schools want 'Why X' essays, sometimes a 'Why X' is a good idea to convince them you're really interested if you think you might get yield-protected (if your numbers are high for a school and they think you're applying as a safety and won't attend), and sometimes a 'Why X' sent later on with a LOCI can get you off a waitlist.

Thanks, that's helpful. This might be a dumb quesiton, but do you think it's always best to submit a "Why" essay with the app, or is there a strategy in anticipating possibly being waitlisted at a particular school and saving the essay for later? I think I read that somewhere.


Getting off the waitlist is a crapshoot. Launch all your missiles at once.

Although, it might be prudent to wait and see if you get a first-round acceptance. All schools issue acceptances before rejections. If you see other posters got accepted, and you didn't, THEN might be a very good time to send the essay. Although I think would send it all up front anyway.

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Xifeng
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby Xifeng » Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:10 pm

Certain schools like seeing Why X essays (such as UVA and Michigan, and Penn has their supplemental essays that you should definitely spend time on). TLS generally thinks you don't need to write Why X essays for YHSCCN because they know why you want to go there.

Definitely send in a Why X essay at the beginning, and then if you get waitlisted send a letter of continued interest. Definitely don't jeopardize your chance of scholarship $$$ by not sending in a Why X essay at first (scholarships are also on a rolling basis).

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cinephile
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:48 pm

It's also fine to send a diversity statement to schools that don't request them.

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Ernert
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby Ernert » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:30 pm

This is great info, and it made me think of a couple of related questions:

1) For schools that you are not submitting a "Why X" statement, do you generally tailor your personal statement to include some "Why X" type of information?
2) Is it generally considered fine to submit "Why X" statements to as many schools as you please (i.e. all of MVP + others if you feel so inclined)? Obviously without saying the classic, "If I get in, I will attend," but simply emphasizing that you have done your homework and have a legitimate reason to attend beyond just a high ranking.

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cinephile
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:34 pm

Sheehan wrote:This is great info, and it made me think of a couple of related questions:

1) For schools that you are not submitting a "Why X" statement, do you generally tailor your personal statement to include some "Why X" type of information?
2) Is it generally considered fine to submit "Why X" statements to as many schools as you please (i.e. all of MVP + others if you feel so inclined)? Obviously without saying the classic, "If I get in, I will attend," but simply emphasizing that you have done your homework and have a legitimate reason to attend beyond just a high ranking.



I did #1 for every application.

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erikjc
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby erikjc » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:47 am

cinephile wrote:
Sheehan wrote:This is great info, and it made me think of a couple of related questions:

1) For schools that you are not submitting a "Why X" statement, do you generally tailor your personal statement to include some "Why X" type of information?
2) Is it generally considered fine to submit "Why X" statements to as many schools as you please (i.e. all of MVP + others if you feel so inclined)? Obviously without saying the classic, "If I get in, I will attend," but simply emphasizing that you have done your homework and have a legitimate reason to attend beyond just a high ranking.



I did #1 for every application.

Is it overkill to submit a Why X essay and briefly target the school in the personal statement?

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rinkrat19
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:55 am

erikjc wrote:Is it overkill to submit a Why X essay and briefly target the school in the personal statement?

No, as long as you're not using the same stuff for both. If you have a LOCI's worth of sincere-sounding "I <3 your school!" and some left over to work into your PS without repeating yourself, by all means use it.

Personally, I did the ill-advised "name-dropping" in my PS where there's one generic sentence with the school's name, changed for each essay. I don't think it killed me, but it's generally not recommended to do that.

I was actually glad, later on, that I hadn't used up all my school-specific info in my PS, because I ended up needing all that "I <3 NU" stuff for my letter requesting a 1-year deferral.

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erikjc
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby erikjc » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:40 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
erikjc wrote:Is it overkill to submit a Why X essay and briefly target the school in the personal statement?

No, as long as you're not using the same stuff for both. If you have a LOCI's worth of sincere-sounding "I <3 your school!" and some left over to work into your PS without repeating yourself, by all means use it.

Personally, I did the ill-advised "name-dropping" in my PS where there's one generic sentence with the school's name, changed for each essay. I don't think it killed me, but it's generally not recommended to do that.

I was actually glad, later on, that I hadn't used up all my school-specific info in my PS, because I ended up needing all that "I <3 NU" stuff for my letter requesting a 1-year deferral.

On a similar note, is name-dropping more appropriate for a targeted LOR? I wouldn't think the adcom would expect school-specific details in a LOR, unless the recommender has some connection with the school. Otherwise it would seem to repeat what I've already said in my statements. Am I right?

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rinkrat19
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:52 pm

erikjc wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
erikjc wrote:Is it overkill to submit a Why X essay and briefly target the school in the personal statement?

No, as long as you're not using the same stuff for both. If you have a LOCI's worth of sincere-sounding "I <3 your school!" and some left over to work into your PS without repeating yourself, by all means use it.

Personally, I did the ill-advised "name-dropping" in my PS where there's one generic sentence with the school's name, changed for each essay. I don't think it killed me, but it's generally not recommended to do that.

I was actually glad, later on, that I hadn't used up all my school-specific info in my PS, because I ended up needing all that "I <3 NU" stuff for my letter requesting a 1-year deferral.

On a similar note, is name-dropping more appropriate for a targeted LOR? I wouldn't think the adcom would expect school-specific details in a LOR, unless the recommender has some connection with the school. Otherwise it would seem to repeat what I've already said in my statements. Am I right?

I wouldn't have the LOR writer put the name of the school in at all, just write a generic letter, unless they did have something specific to say about the school. Having them write multiple "name-dropper" school-specific letters just seems like a pain the ass for them with no benefit to you. They're already doing you a favor, don't make it any more onerous than it already is.

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cinephile
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby cinephile » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:12 pm

erikjc wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
erikjc wrote:Is it overkill to submit a Why X essay and briefly target the school in the personal statement?

No, as long as you're not using the same stuff for both. If you have a LOCI's worth of sincere-sounding "I <3 your school!" and some left over to work into your PS without repeating yourself, by all means use it.

Personally, I did the ill-advised "name-dropping" in my PS where there's one generic sentence with the school's name, changed for each essay. I don't think it killed me, but it's generally not recommended to do that.

I was actually glad, later on, that I hadn't used up all my school-specific info in my PS, because I ended up needing all that "I <3 NU" stuff for my letter requesting a 1-year deferral.

On a similar note, is name-dropping more appropriate for a targeted LOR? I wouldn't think the adcom would expect school-specific details in a LOR, unless the recommender has some connection with the school. Otherwise it would seem to repeat what I've already said in my statements. Am I right?


I agree with the above that it's overkill and tedious for your recommender to do a targeted LOR for every school. However, it could be wise to do so for your top choice, or a school where your recommender is an alum.

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erikjc
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Re: General question about application essays

Postby erikjc » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:18 pm

cinephile wrote:
I agree with the above that it's overkill and tedious for your recommender to do a targeted LOR for every school. However, it could be wise to do so for your top choice, or a school where your recommender is an alum.

Yeah that's what I had in mind. This professor is a Columbia alum and can really see me there, so she would have no problem writing a sentence or two about that. I also figured it wouldn't hurt to do a targeted letter for my top choice (Stanford), just to make it clear that I made the effort to have the letter tailored accordingly, even if it's just a name drop in one letter. That's the furthest I'd take it, it would definitely be a nuisance beyond that.




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