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The Requirements: One essay of 300 words; two optional uploads
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 have lived with a physical disability for as long as you can remember, and the ways you move through the world and take up space impact how you interact with your surroundings and vice versa. What do you hope to share with others about your lived experience? Show admissions what makes you unique and how these aspects will guide and enrich your interactions 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 also how your background and community have made you into the person you are today. Where do you come from? What you address can be reflective of larger cultural constructs or a trait specific to your immediate family. Consider how your particular background or experience will help you contribute to Vassar’s campus community. How will it help inspire and/or inform others? Maybe you come from a vibrant immigrant community, where every member looks out for one another. How has this shaped the way you think about extended family or engage with other people who may occasionally feel like a fish out of water? Perhaps you come from a long line of fishermen, who have taught you the virtue of patience. How have you applied that lesson to other aspects of your life? Do you foresee fishing as a non-negotiable part of your future? What has influenced your identity? What do you believe and how havewill your experiences molded you into the kind of person who champions open inquiry 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, links to web apps, and music clips are just a few of the basic forms your submission could take. Your submissions, like your essays, should reveal something new about you or provide a deeper understanding of something you have listed as an activity. Think about what you like to do in your free time: maybe you learned calligraphy while watching TV during the pandemic and have a sample to send in. Perhaps you started a baking charity with your grandma and can send in a recipe along with a photo of the final product. 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.