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PD Soros Optional Exhibits

Applicant Guide: Optional Exhibits

If you’ve started your application for The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships then you may be familiar with the “Optional Exhibits” section at the end of the application. While completely optional, this is a space for you to provide the selection team with any supplemental material that you think would help them better understand you, your work, or a different side of you. Exhibits can complete the picture of who you are, and don’t have to be strictly related to your graduate studies.

Examples of Types of Optional Exhibits

  • Relevant newspaper and magazine articles.
  • A link to a YouTube or Vimeo video, or a SoundCloud link of a relevant performance or piece of work.
  • Artwork or visuals from a portfolio or a past project.
  • Excerpts of creative writing.
  • Research articles or papers.

How to Organize Your Optional Exhibits

While there are a myriad of ways to use the optional exhibits, it’s important that you carefully curate and organize what you do decide to include, if anything at all. That’s because the exhibits are considered supplementary to the rest of your application. Selection team readers may fully review one of your exhibits, but only skim or note other exhibits that you’ve included. They are not required to read, watch, or listen to all of your exhibits.

There are different ways to upload your optional exhibits. If you have different documents, you can upload each of them separately. If you want to use images or links, you can put them together in one document and upload them as a PDF. If you provide documents, images, or links, make sure that they are labeled. In some cases, it may be helpful to write a one or two sentence descriptor about what you are providing and why if it may not be entirely self-evident to the reader. Keep in mind that there is a 2 MB size limit for each file upload.

What Not to Include in Your Optional Exhibits

The exhibits section is not an additional essay and should not be treated as such. This section is also not a place to include an additional letter of recommendation. If you feel that your essays, resume, and recommendations speak for themselves; there is no need to include exhibits that may not enhance your application.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Exhibits Section

I am applying to more than four graduate programs and can’t list them all in the application. Can I use the exhibits section to list all of the programs that I’m applying to?

You should list the 4 schools/programs you are most likely going to attend in the spaces available in the application. You can then upload a full list of your programs and schools as an exhibit. Be sure to include a brief explanation with the list.

Can I submit an exhibit if it’s something I made with other people?

Yes, but you should provide some context on why you are including the exhibit and what your contribution was to the project.

Do I need to explain why the exhibit is important? Can I use one of the exhibit slots to write up a brief document explaining the importance of the other exhibits?

It is sometimes helpful to include a sentence or two about why you are including an exhibit, and what it shows about you. If it is obvious why you included it, this may not be necessary. You can upload the brief descriptions as a separate document, or on each exhibit.

I had an extremely tough time personally during one of my semesters in school. My grades suffered as a result. Can I include a brief explanation in my exhibits?

If you feel that an explanation will help the selection committee better understand and assess you and your work then a brief statement about this can be included in your exhibits. Alternatively, you may want to discuss this in one of your essays.

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