Why X Essays

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ScroogeMcDuck

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Why X Essays

Postby ScroogeMcDuck » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:58 pm

Hey guys,

I am currently writing Why essays for the upcoming cycle. I was just wondering if it is advisable to write a Why essay for each school to which you are applying. Furthermore, do all schools allow for a Why essay and if they do not, should I add one as an addendum? Also, how long should Why essays typically be? I am leaning towards two or three short paragraphs, as it seems schools appreciate being concise.


Thank You,

McDuck

lsataddict242

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby lsataddict242 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:07 pm

I am interested in this question as well. :)

StopLawying

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby StopLawying » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:13 pm

Why X essays really help I think for reach schools. Gives them an extra reason to accept you. Typical length should be one page. And if there's no separate section on the application, you can definitely add it as an addendum.

For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.

Schools where a why X really helps: Michigan, Penn, Berkeley, Cornell, and Georgetown

Lastly, make sure your why x is tailored to each school. Admissions officers are really good at knowing whether you're essay is a generic one and that you're just replacing the school name. Phrases like " collegial feel, clinical opportunities, etc. should be avoided. Make it as specific as possible, it'll let them know you really spent the time.

joeytribbiani

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby joeytribbiani » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:34 am

StopLawying wrote:For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.



I'm definitely no expert on the topic, but not sure this is always true. There's a difference between writing a Why X essay that shows your interest in specifics about the school and therefore the research you've done about them and a Why X essay saying "this is my number one choice school and I'm coming for sure if you let me in."

StopLawying

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby StopLawying » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:51 am

joeytribbiani wrote:
StopLawying wrote:For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.



I'm definitely no expert on the topic, but not sure this is always true. There's a difference between writing a Why X essay that shows your interest in specifics about the school and therefore the research you've done about them and a Why X essay saying "this is my number one choice school and I'm coming for sure if you let me in."


This is a good point, and I should've made that distinction. Thanks for clearing things up.

rowdy

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby rowdy » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:16 am

StopLawying wrote:Why X essays really help I think for reach schools. Gives them an extra reason to accept you. Typical length should be one page. And if there's no separate section on the application, you can definitely add it as an addendum.

For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.

Schools where a why X really helps: Michigan, Penn, Berkeley, Cornell, and Georgetown

Lastly, make sure your why x is tailored to each school. Admissions officers are really good at knowing whether you're essay is a generic one and that you're just replacing the school name. Phrases like " collegial feel, clinical opportunities, etc. should be avoided. Make it as specific as possible, it'll let them know you really spent the time.


Is it bad to hit two pages? I have a lot of reasons.

StopLawying

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby StopLawying » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:37 am

rowdy wrote:
StopLawying wrote:Why X essays really help I think for reach schools. Gives them an extra reason to accept you. Typical length should be one page. And if there's no separate section on the application, you can definitely add it as an addendum.

For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.

Schools where a why X really helps: Michigan, Penn, Berkeley, Cornell, and Georgetown

Lastly, make sure your why x is tailored to each school. Admissions officers are really good at knowing whether you're essay is a generic one and that you're just replacing the school name. Phrases like " collegial feel, clinical opportunities, etc. should be avoided. Make it as specific as possible, it'll let them know you really spent the time.


Is it bad to hit two pages? I have a lot of reasons.


No, it's fine.

etramak

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby etramak » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:59 pm

I need to start writing these as well. Could be a good warmup for the personal statement. As far as I think I know, these T14s take inclusions of Why essays relatively seriously:

UVA (I recall looking at a TLS spreadsheet from a couple years ago, it looked like a Why essay could make the difference between an acceptance and a WL)
UPenn
Michigan

Feel free to add to that list.
This is just me talking out of my ass, but I think it'd be dumb not to include an addendum essay if you're truly interested in a particular program or feature that the school has to offer (Kernochan Center at Columbia, Harvard Labor and Worklife, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at Chicago, etc.). Especially if your previous WE or ECs align with said programs

Slippin' Jimmy

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:29 am

etramak wrote:I need to start writing these as well. Could be a good warmup for the personal statement. As far as I think I know, these T14s take inclusions of Why essays relatively seriously:

UVA (I recall looking at a TLS spreadsheet from a couple years ago, it looked like a Why essay could make the difference between an acceptance and a WL)
UPenn
Michigan

Feel free to add to that list.
This is just me talking out of my ass, but I think it'd be dumb not to include an addendum essay if you're truly interested in a particular program or feature that the school has to offer (Kernochan Center at Columbia, Harvard Labor and Worklife, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at Chicago, etc.). Especially if your previous WE or ECs align with said programs

UT essentially requires one for out of state applicants, and it is very helpful at Duke.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:57 am

joeytribbiani wrote:
StopLawying wrote:For schools you know you'll get into, do not write a why X. It'll hurt you with scholarship $. If you want to go there really badly, a school might think it doesnt need to offer you the $ your numbers typically get.



I'm definitely no expert on the topic, but not sure this is always true. There's a difference between writing a Why X essay that shows your interest in specifics about the school and therefore the research you've done about them and a Why X essay saying "this is my number one choice school and I'm coming for sure if you let me in."

I also think people here have talked about schools that want to see "why X" essays as a guarantee against yield protect.

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The_Pluviophile

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Re: Why X Essays

Postby The_Pluviophile » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:23 pm

As mentioned above, writing a why X essay is a good strategy to avoid yield protection, from what I understand (this is coming from someone who didn't write any why X essays and got (presumably) YP'd several places...). They're not just for reach schools.



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