Tell us why you’d be a stellar policy candidate despite your previous studies being in something unrelated. But sometimes there is nothing for them to take into account as a whole, if you are the only one who can provide the information and don’t do it.
We realize that the questions of whether to answer an optional essay and, if so, what to say are ones that loom large for many MBA applicants at this time of year.
While we’ve been offering a great deal of school-specific essay advice over the past few weeks, we wanted to take some time to suggest a few considerations that applicants might want to take into account when making this call.
Your objective should be to provide as complete a picture of your candidacy as possible within the framework of a school’s required essays (as these are a good indication of what a given program is most interested in hearing about) and to only introduce information in an optional essay that you could not have covered elsewhere without sacrificing something more essential.
As many schools have reduced the number and length of their required essays over the past several admissions seasons (and thus reduced the opportunities applicants have to offer information about their backgrounds), it has become increasingly acceptable to use an optional essay to showcase one’s strengths and potential to contribute to the community.
If you’ve said all you need to say about yourself as a candidate and you don’t have it in you to write more, that’s totally understandable! And don’t feel guilty about being relieved that you don’t have to read the rest of this post.] So why answer a question that hasn’t been asked?
Because I think it’ll give some of you an advantage in your application.We are looking at the of your application, if you will.This is where the optional essay – and knowing what the Admissions Committee is looking for – comes in.I’m choosing to tell y’all about something that has NOT been asked about, which is the optional essay.[Before you get too far: You are not required to write this!This is what the optional essay is in the application for: An opportunity to discuss something you weren’t able to address elsewhere; OR, an opportunity for you to explain a situation that needs more detail. Our candidates come from more than 100 countries around the world, with a variety of undergraduate and graduate studies, career backgrounds, expertises, and aspirations.We value this diversity immensely because these differences enrich the class experience for everybody.Use the optional essay to explain any discrepancies or unique situations that you weren’t able to address anywhere else in the application.Is there something that you want to tell the Admissions Committee because it will add to you as a whole?Most schools do request that applicants use an optional essay to address certain issues, such as a failing grade in a degree program or the absence of a recommendation from one’s current direct supervisor.In spite of the technically optional nature of the question, it’s very important to follow directions and provide this information if a school requests it.