Optional: To Do or to Not



Updated June 8, 2022

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We’ve noticed that some universities also include optional sections in the application, which generally manifest in two formats:

  • making a video introduction

  • writing an essay on diversity.

Every component of your graduate school application is an opportunity for you to reflect on your past and ponder upon your future. Your resume, recommendation letters, and transcripts reflect what you’ve accomplished so far. Your test scores signify how hard you have been working for the past few months. Your statement of purpose is an opportunity to answer critical questions related to your future.

Last but not least, the optional parts of your application test whether you go the extra mile or not.

In this chapter, we will briefly talk about the best practices you can follow to make a video and write essays on topics related to diversity.

Making a Video

Your video is a condensed, visual depiction of your story.

The admissions committee can gauge a lot from a few minutes of hearing you talk: your proficiency in English, presentation skills, and intent in pursuing the degree.

danger You don’t need to put yourself in front of the camera if it feels too unnatural or if you feel you won’t be able to put your best foot forward by doing it. It’s OK to skip this part of the application, since it’s optional.

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