STYLISTIC TIPS for the Optional Essay

Similarly, don't twist yourself into a pretzel writing a phony-baloney diversity essay if you don't have something meaningful to say about yourself on that subject. You can and should think of diversity broadly. Admissions officers are trying to put together an interesting mix of incoming 1Ls, all with different life experiences and backgrounds. Of course they are interested in underrepresented ethnicities, but they are also going to take note if your background is interesting for non-ethnic reasons. Maybe you have lived and worked abroad, or are a national or world class athlete, or come from the art world. Those are all elements that would mix things up in the incoming class. But that's not *sufficient* to justify submitting an optional diversity essay. You also have to be able to say something meaningful about that particular element of your background, and how it has shaped you in a substantial way. It's not enough to identify that you have that background; you have to explain why and how it matters. This piece also needs to be personal rather than abstract. If you can't discuss that part of your background in a meaningful, personal, well-written way, showing not just the "what" but also the "so what" (why it matters to you), don't submit the essay.

-Admitted student to 1st choice, Top 15-ranked Law School (with optional essays!) (with 151 LSAT)

Some topics are not as straightforward and in these cases, we suggest you run your ideas by someone you trust. In some situations, what you consider a weakness might not be an issue and writing about it in an optional essay might draw more attention to something that wasn’t even noticed. A few common areas that we get questions about are college suspensions, trouble with the law, or marginal grades or GMAT scores. Fortuna’s co-founder, Matt Symonds, even published a recent article in Forbes, called “”. In this article he discusses common admissions concerns and advice for how to handle them. In these situations, we take the time to understand the circumstances and help our clients make the best decision. Overall, we suggest that you be judicious around what you include or omit in an optional essay since this can send a signal to Admissions about your personal judgment.


And finally, how NOT to use the Optional Essay:

You’ll want to skip the optional essays.

The essay readers were experienced and trained high school and college teachers. See how we score the new College Board New Sat Essay SAT or learn about the optional essay.


'Optional' Essays - Page 5 — College Confidential

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To score the new SAT Essay, scorers will use this rubric, which describes Responses to the optional SAT Essay are scored using a carefully designed process

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Get SAT dates and info on College Board New Sat Essay fee waivers, IDs, the essay option, policies, and College Board and Khan Academy accounts for a personalized SAT practice plan.