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Siena's Admissions Team Answers: "Should I Write the Optional Essay?"

Posted By Jim Eaton | November 29, 2016

If  you didn't already know, this year we made the essay on our application optional. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should absolutely skip it over. Our admissions team has a few suggestions for why you may or may not want to consider writing it.

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YES, YOU SHOULD IF…

...You’re looking for one more reason to stand out. Sometimes your grades and test scores can be similar or equivalent to other prospective students. Is there something else from your life or high school career we should know about that separates you from the rest? Maybe you spent a summer living in another country learning about a brand new culture. Or have you been perfecting a skill since your childhood that's become one of the main things that defines you? We want to know what makes you you, so fill us in on something we can’t gather from your application.

...You have something to say that may not be properly reflected in your application. Was there a period during high school where your grades were been lower than normal due to an unforeseen family issue? Telling us how you’ve grown from a situation that may have affected your studies can be helpful for us to know about during our reviewing process. We understand that life happens, and we're all ears to listen.

...You want to go more in depth about your extracurricular activities. While we always hope you’ve been keeping a strong focus in the classroom, we’re also very aware that so much happens outside of it, too. Did you lead a sports team to an outstanding championship, or spend countless hours crafting the school yearbook? Perhaps you had a life-changing volunteer experience or a job that helped you discover a new passion. Even if it’s a minor instance that altered your perspective or knew was worth congratulating yourself over, fill us in! We want to know you’re proud of your accomplishments. 

NO, YOU SHOULDN’T IF…

...Your application speaks for itself. Don’t give yourself more work if you don’t have to, especially if you want to be spending your free time doing research and visiting the campus again. If you’re confident in the rest of your application, it’s okay to give yourself a break and not overdo it. And, if you didn’t know already, Siena will also gladly accept a graded English or history paper from either your junior or senior year, if you really do want to showcase your best work without too much effort.

...You don't have enough time to spend on it. We understand that you have plenty to do, including gathering everything you need for the rest of your application and still focusing on finishing up the school year. We wouldn't want you to rush through it just to add it to your pile of work. Remember: it's an option, which means if it's not something you need to do (or have enough time to make it perfect), that's okay.

Feeling like you want to get started on the optional essay? We’ve come up with a quick reference guide with helpful tips to make it a bit easier for you. You can also check out three essays that worked for us. Good luck!

Apply today

TOPICS: Admissions Info & Advice

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