Did you know when you apply to Siena the essay is optional? Seriously!
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should skip it. The essay is a great option for students who want to give a more full view of themselves than what can be seen on a transcript and application. Maybe you feel like your transcript doesn't tell your complete academic or personal story. In that case, an essay can give your application a big boost.
So if you do decide to write the optional essay, here are a few things to avoid.
Picking a topic that you don’t really connect with. There are going to be a number of subjects you might feel like you should write about. That time you scored the winning goal in your JV soccer game. That time you saw the Grand Canyon. If those are moments that really are resonant to you, definitely take them on! If not, go for something that you really feel feelings about. The people reading this essay want to hear your voice and see your personality, so avoid topics that don’t allow you to be you.
Skipping the proofreading process. We know. By the time you’re finished writing your essay, you’re pretty much ready for it to be over and done with. But taking another hour or two to have someone read and proof your work—writers often can't see their own mistakes!—so you can fine-tune, clean up and sharpen your essay will signal to the college admissions staff that you’re careful, thoughtful and serious about your application.
Not having fun while writing. Writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone—at least not at first. But the trick to great writing is to relax. Write your essay as though you were instant-messaging with a friend (but with, you know, more complete sentences). Don’t use a thesaurus, don’t try to “sound smart” and don’t panic. All this essay is is a little showcase for you, so have fun with it. If you’re having fun, so will your reader.
Keeping it too general. If you’re writing several essays for different colleges, cutting and pasting will be an easy-seeming solution. But the schools you’re applying to want to see your interest in them, so feel free to be economical with what you’re writing—there’ll be plenty you can use in multiple essays—but be sure to include a paragraph or so that’s specific about your desire to go to each respective college.
What do you think? Are you ready to apply to Siena? Go for it.