rachelwang712 wrote:Thank you for the input. I think I will write one and try to polish it as much as i could.
btw, as far as i know, Mich is the only school that puts special weight on why X essay. right? For eg, if I dont have much to say about other schools such as Duke, it is ok I dont submit the essay. correct me if it is not the case.
It seems that of the typical "Why X?" schools (Penn, Virginia, Michigan, Duke), the order of importance is Michigan > Virginia >> Penn >>> Duke (feel free to disagree. this is a very inexact, anecdotal, unverifiable assessment). Also there are nuances... Michigan seems to want you to put forward a good reason, while Virginia seems to just check whether you wrote one to see whether you will be wait listed or not.
rachelwang712 wrote:and a quick question, how long should the Why Mich essay be? one page? or less?
yes, one page or less
I disagree with this. There are only two hard and fast rules: concision is always valued, and obey the explicit limits placed by each school.
For instance: Penn says less than a page, so you should really never exceed that one page. Michigan and Duke, however, say "about a page." You should always try to be concise, and probably shouldn't even be at 1.5 pages, but 1 page + 3 lines is consistent with their parameters, and if you think your essay needs that much space, then go for it.