Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last-Minute MBA Admissions Essay Tips

This week many of our clients are working hard to finish up their Round One business school admissions essays. If you’re in that boat, then we’d like to offer a few last-minute tips to help you perfect your essays:

  • Step Away from Your Essays – If you are your own primary editor, the best thing you can do is to give yourself some time between reviews of each essay. When you’ve written the prose yourself and are knee deep in it, it’s too easy to skim over a sentence and read what you know you meant to say, rather than what the words actually put down on paper. This unfortunately makes it very easy to miss basic mistakes . Step away from your essays for at least a few hours (ideally a couple of days) before reviewing them again.

  • Don’t Let Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen – When it comes to feedback on your essays, more is not always better. We all have friends and relatives who are decent writers and are willing to loan you their eyeballs, but don’t feel compelled to act on every piece of unsolicited advice that you receive. Where your friends can help you the most is in catching errors that you missed or in letting you know when a certain passage in confusing. Beyond that, you should probably ignore most of their suggestions on style. It’s too late for that now!

  • Recycle with Care – It’s very tempting to recycle your MBA admission essays, especially if you’re rushing to meet a deadline. And it’s okay to re-use a story in more than one application – after all, we all only have so many stories of a time when we demonstrated leadership, made a tough decision, faced an ethical challenge, etc. But, above all, make sure that the essay you’re using appropriate answers the question being asked. You’d be surprised at how often we see applicants fail to do this seemingly simple thing. And, for the love of God, don’t say, “I really want to attend Wharton” in your Stanford essay!!

  • Make Sure Your Essays Fit Your Overall Application Story – You may be so focused on making each essay great that you’ll miss the bigger picture: For each school, do your essays fit in with your overall application story? Don’t get so hung up on making your individual essays so dynamic that you forget to tie them together in one overarching application theme. Are you a techie who wants to build his general management chops? A finance person who needs to get better at marketing? Ideally all of your application components will be consistent with that theme.

If you're stuck, take a look at these sample MBA essays. If you would like some more help in polishing up your essays, take a look at Veritas Prep’s MBA essay editing services. Our essay evaluators won’t write your essay for you or put words in your mouth, but they will help you clearly and concisely articulate your application story in your essays. If you need one last pair of professional eyes to look over your essay, give Veritas Prep's essay services a look.