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The Requirements: 1 essay of 300 words
Odds are that this isn’t the first “diversity” essay prompt you’ve come across this year. If it is, however, please read on. Vassar wants to accept students from a range of backgrounds who will contribute to inclusivity and diversity on campus, so tell admissions about what makes you you and how you will be a meaningful addition to the Vassar student body. Think about times when people have been intrigued by or curious about your identity, upbringing, or background. Maybe you were raised practicing Buddhism and you hope to spread some wisdom and mindfulness on campus next year. Perhaps you were raised in a wildlife sanctuary and have a very special relationship to all living things (plants, animals, people, etc.) around you. What do you hope to share with others about your lived experience? Show admissions that you’re eager to expand your horizons, learn about different cultures and points of view, and engage with a diverse range of people next year at Vassar.
This is a classic community essay, through and through. Admissions officers want to know not only that you value community, but how your background and community have made you into the person you are today. Where do you come from? What has influenced you as a young adult and how has that made your perspective unique? What you address can be reflective of larger cultural constructs or a trait specific to your nuclear family. Consider why your particular background or experience will be useful in an academic setting. How will it help inspire and/or inform others? Were you raised in an immigrant community near the border? Do you come from a blended family? Have you competed nationally in a lesser-known sport? What has influenced your identity? What do you believe and how will your experiences mold you into the kind of person that cares about others and collaborative problem solving?
While this section is also optional, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it! If you have a more detailed or prettier resume/CV than what the Common App can accommodate, why not upload it here? For students in good academic standing, this is a freebie. On the other hand, if you have some gaps in your resume or blips on your transcript, consider this an invitation to tell your side of the story. You might consider writing what we call an “additional info essay” where you shed light on the personal circumstances (like an illness or family emergency) that may have caused these inconsistencies.
Creative types will likely already have a few portfolio pieces saved up for just this type of question. Visual art, writing samples, expertly coded spreadsheets, and music clips are just a few of the basic forms your submission could take. Your submissions, like your essays, should represent you to admissions: they should reveal something new or provide a deeper understanding of something you have listed as an activity. Select one of your best works and share a limited sample. And if you’re not sure you have anything that fits, no worries! This is also the perfect place to recycle a supplemental essay that reveals more about your character, background, or interests.