Penn optional essays - how important?

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rob91
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 1:28 pm

Penn optional essays - how important?

Postby rob91 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:41 pm

Penn is one of my top choices. For their optional essays I wrote one explaining my GPA, and I'm wondering if I should write on one of the other three topics. Am I putting myself at a disadvantage by not doing so?

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Penn optional essays - how important?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:49 pm

It depends in part on your numbers (are they high enough that you should get T6 offers?), but generally, yes, the other essays are important. Much more so than your GPA addendum.

willmendel
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:07 pm

Re: Penn optional essays - how important?

Postby willmendel » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:46 pm

Ti Malice wrote:It depends in part on your numbers (are they high enough that you should get T6 offers?), but generally, yes, the other essays are important. Much more so than your GPA addendum.


Is this still true if you, say, don't think you have a good reason to write a diversity essay? My understanding was that they are important insofar as they are viewed more positively than not IF they are written for a legitimate reason, but they're not "important" in the sense that they need to be done. i.e. if you don't have a good reason for a diversity statement, don't write one just because you think it's "important".

But they're not useless, if you have a good reason to write one.

Is this right? or am I way off....?

rob91
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Penn optional essays - how important?

Postby rob91 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:14 pm

I have no diversity to speak of, so that essay is out. Of the remaining two the only one I would consider writing is the Why Penn. Maybe I just have a mental block about it, but I have trouble writing beyond the generic "Penn is a great school with a lot of opportunities" and "we share the same kinds of values," and I can't imagine how that would meaningfully impact my admission decision.

Also, is it too late to tack one of these on if I've already submitted the app? (sent in roughly five days ago).

Edit: And my numbers aren't a lock for the top ten, so I imagine the essay would be helpful.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Penn optional essays - how important?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:41 pm

I should have been more specific. The "Why Penn?" essay is the one that really counts. I didn't mean for my comment to apply to diversity statements at all.

It's fine to submit it apart from the app, though you obviously don't want to wait too long. But be aware that you need to be at or above one of the medians to have a chance (if non-URM). If that's not the case, I'd suggest not wasting your time.




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