This is in the category of ‘unforced error.’
There are plenty of ways to muff up an essay but it’s always a shame to see a BSer muff things up in content that they aren’t even being asked to write about.
Take Wharton essay 1:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?
The adcom has not actually asked for a long-term goal.
Should you include a long-term goal?
Well sure, if you have one that makes sense and is meaningful and you have space to include it without sacrificing something else that’s important.
But if you choose to include it, make sure it makes sense!!
If you toss out a very ambitious goal, and there’s not enough discussion of it to back it up, well, you’re not helping yourself, are you.
It’s kind of like when the security guard stops you in the 7-11 and you blurt out, “I don’t know who stole the case of Snickers bars but it wasn’t me.”
And he looks at you and says “I just wanted to let you know that your shoelace was untied. But why don’t you let me see what’s in your backpack.”
Tossing out a L/T goal when the adcom didn’t ask for one is not going to be additive unless that L/T goal is positioned appropriately and conveys meaning as part of the essay. If you include it when it wasn’t asked for, you may be complicating things unnecessarily.
This is another argument for answering the question.
Which means you need to read the question — nay, STUDY the question.
You really need to pay attention to these things.
Just because one school has asked for one thing does not mean that any other school will care about it.
The classic example is Yale; we ranted about a BSer’s questioning the question here in case you are curious.
So to reiterate:
We’re not saying not to include a long-term goal in the Wharton essay or any other.
We’re saying that if you choose to go beyond what a school has explicitly asked for in their essay question, then make sure you’re doing it for a reason, and that everything you’re saying is justified, and fully supported, and deserves to be there.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with your essay. Pay attention to what they have asked for, and deliver that.
Coloring outside the lines sometimes can work in an MBA app, but usually when we see that happening, it’s a tip-off that someone is not paying attention.
Here's what others have said about this:
I’m writing my Georgetown Essay right now, and the question doesn’t ask for any “Why Georgetown” or “ST/LT Goal” stuff. Should I be including that in there even though the question is pretttty specific? The only other essay they have is a 1 minute video essay introducing yourself. I think I will include ST goals in there, but as for Why Georgetown, I might only get to have a sentence or two. Thanks for the help!
If the question doesn’t specifically ask for that stuff then it’s safe not to include it at all! We’d also be reluctant to advise any goals related content in an ‘introduce yourself’ essay — 1 minute is REALLY short and your goals don’t say anything about who you are as a person, so that’s not really the type of content that’s going to be memorable or impressive or important for the adcom to know in that context. Can’t recall offhand if Georgetown does it but many schools have a short goals question or dropdown in the app, and that’s why they’re OK with not having a formal essay prompt about them. Even if Georgetown does not, we’d strongly suggest sticking to exactly what they asked for in the essays themselves. The main exceptions are things like a career goals essay (like what Columbia asks in essay 1) where they have not asked for ‘why Columbia’ but it’s a natural part of the discussion when you’re discussing the goals.
Yep, makes total sense. Thanks again!