Doh! This post was supposed to go up BEFORE yesterday’s!
When we give feedback to a BSer in the Essay Decimator process, sometimes they come back with questions of “Why?”
Like, “Why do I need to do that, when I’m already doing this?”
A common one is when they ask about our recommendation to lay out enough details of their work history so that the reader doesn’t have to pull up the resume. They say, “But I only have so much space in the essays. All of this is already on the resume. It seems repetitive, and I’d rather use that space for something else.”
Or, when we suggest integrating evidence of their outreach and contacts with the school’s community, and they go, “Why? They already ask for that in the app. Why do I need to repeat all of that here?”
Yes it’s true. The schools seem to be asking for the same information in multiple places. However a strong strategy is to take advantage of each opportunity to present yourself to them.
Don’t repeat the same stuff in multiple essays.
Don’t assume your current resume is ready to roll as an asset in the context of your MBA apps.
But DO use each application component as its own opportunity to maximize your message.
A BSer specifically asked us this not long ago:
Do I really need to mention, who I contacted from the school, if this is an extra question in the application form ?
Yes, you do. Besides the fact that you should strive to make the essays standalone and complete, you should also do it for strategic purposes in terms of messaging and positioning. You’ll want to include everything that we’ve laid out in our feedback to you as a way to pitch the adcom on why you want to go there, and help convince them why you should be admitted. (In other words: We don’t make suggestions just to fill space. We make ALL of our suggestions in our critiques because you should do them.)
The questions the schools ask in the fields of the online app are mostly for their reporting purposes in helping them with their own marketing efforts. Saying something in a field in the app is NOT the same as saying something in the essay. Yes, it’s info being communicated, but the essay is a pitch. You can’t rely on the adcom reviewer to note and remember all of those details from the individual app fields as they’re going through the essays themselves. The datapoints about how you’ve made an effort to research the school are crucially important to communicate to many* of the programs. All of your outreach is important to emphasize since it’s part of the evidence of school fit that you’re offering.
Hope that makes more sense now!
*Not all. But the school that this BSer was applying to cares a lot about culture and school fit. That’s why we belabored this point with them.