Can Essay Offer Advice

Going to business school – especially in a full-time program – means uprooting your life, becoming a student again, and investing lots of time and money. Considering how to respond to various application essay questions is an opportunity to contemplate your motivations, the schools in question, and what you bring to the table. “Every candidate will have different strengths, and even those of you with similar backgrounds may have vastly different goals or different reasons why Columbia is a good fit for you.” Schools want to get to know the real you. They’ve been at this a long time, so they will see through hyperbole, or flat out lies, designed to make you look better.

You should look at the essays as a blessing, rather than a hindrance.“Essays are more than just a box to check on the application,” says Emily French Thomas, director of admissions at Columbia Business School. Forget about telling them what you think they want to hear.

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Having time gives you the chance to avoid making silly errors.

Talk to anyone in admissions, even at top business schools, and you’ll learn of everyone’s big pet peeve – applicants who never answer the question.

Each program asks a different question in the essay portion of the application.

“A great essay is one that you could show to your mom or a close friend and they would recognize you in it,” says French Thomas.

While this advice is sound, also consider asking for a second opinion from someone who isn’t so close to you, someone who can offer a completely objective opinion.

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