Five Tips to Keep in Mind When Writing Your Essay

You’ve noted your educational background, provided your work experience, and shared your test scores. Next comes the essay. Essays offer applicants a unique opportunity to make an impression. What you say and how you present it conveys to admissions officers your personality, ambition, and diligence—so make it a great read. Here are five tips to consider as you compose your statements.

1. Use your own voice. Authenticity is key. Yes, you’re applying to business school, so you want to show your varied vocabulary as best you can, but admissions wants to see how you write, how you speak…and you should want to enroll in a school that appreciates your style.

2. Obey the word limit. No matter how much you have to say, admissions officers prefer you to be concise and stay within a certain word count (ours is 500). Write as much as you want at first, then go back and edit until every sentence matters. Ask yourself: Did I answer the question? What are the key points?

3. Focus on the how and why. Tell us how you will accomplish your goals, why you’re driven to be successful. We’ve seen your resume; now’s your chance to elaborate.

4. Prove your interest in the school. Did you visit campus, talk with alumni, and attend information sessions? Rather than regurgitate the website, share your first-hand observations and what resonated for you when indicating your reasons to apply. We love hearing that you’ve done your research and know, without a doubt, you’d be a good fit for our school, culture, and community.

5. Enlist proofreaders. You’re applying to graduate school; no matter how meticulous you may be, it is smart to ask others for help. What they should look for: genuineness (does it sound like you?); professionalism (does it show personality and maturity?); answers (do you actually address the question?); and of course, typos and grammatical errors.

We could go on—there’s no shortage of essay tips out there—but these are what we’ve found to be the most valuable. Now all you have to do to get started with writing a brilliant essay is begin the application.