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Stanford continues to have one of the toughest essays in all of MBA admissions.  Here are our tips on how to attack it. 

What matters most to you, and why? (750 words)

  • The best examples of Essay 1 reflect the process of self-examination that you have undertaken to write them.
  • They give us a vivid and genuine image of who you are—and they also convey how you became the person you are.
  • They do not focus merely on what you've done or accomplished. Instead, they share with us the values, experiences, and lessons that have shaped your perspectives.
  • They are written from the heart and address not only a person, situation, or event, but also how that person, situation, or event has influenced your life. 

My favorite responses to Stanford’s What Matters Most question are always the ones where the candidate really digs down deep and reveals a personal journey that he or she went on—one that created change in his or her life and the lives of those around them. 

The setting? On or off the job—it doesn’t matter. Why? Because the personal always affects the professional and the professional always affects the personal. They are inextricably linked and anyone who says otherwise has simply never been what I like to call “a 24-7 leader”—and that’s what Stanford GSB, or any top business school, is looking for.

Leadership is a way of being, something you come to through a challenging experience that you take on despite your fears or even because of them. And that’s how you zero in on what to write about for Stanford’s prompt:  What Matters Most to You and Why?

Search for SPECFIC moments in your life wherein you had to:

1)   Step Up—formally or informally, elected, chosen or volunteered.

2)   Stay the course -- despite everything falling apart around you or working against you.

3)   Race against the clock—be it three months, three weeks, three days.

4)   Organize and motivate a group—not just something you did all by yourself, because managing others is key.

5)   Leave something behind -- Change the way things go from now on with that circumstance. 

Out of these comes what matters most to you.  (Don’t forget to write “what matters most to me is…” You’d be surprised by how many people leave this crucial line out. Even if it’s obvious, writing these words in your response says “I respect the admissions committee enough to be clear and to the point.”) 

In short, my favorite—and most successful—“What Matters Most To You and Why?” responses are always based on a defining moment in your past that changed the way you think about yourself and the world. Then the essay pivots from that story to how the insight you gained from that defining moment has driven some recent accomplishment—personally or professionally.

Why Stanford?  (350 words)

  • Please explain why Stanford is your first choice of MBA program, and how you will make use of the unique opportunities it provides.

This is a classic 'why our school' prompt -- check out our previous blog on how to answer these questions concisely and effectively.

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Chicago Booth has only one essay for first-time applicants this year, and it is their traditional open-ended question.  How should you approach it?

Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas.  This is us. Who are you?  There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length.  We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.  Acceptable formats are PDF, Word and Powerpoint.

Give Booth some credit.  Before the 'no-page-limit', 'open-ended' prompt was adopted by HBS (and suddenly, shockingly became all the rage) they firmly held to this approach year after year.  Other essays would come and go, but Booth's open-ended essay has been around for a long time.

That's not to say there have not been changes.  Booth used to constrain the length to 4 Powerpoint Slides or pages, which naturally gave rise to a certain kind of storytelling (Stern still does this).  Now, of course, since Booth has eliminated this requirement, it would be a bad idea to repurpose a Stern essay for Booth -- too obvious.  Likewise, just because HBS has you writing open-ended essays now does not mean that you can just reuse the sentiments (or worse yet, the entire essay) for Booth.  Quite frankly, Booth and HBS are not concerned with the same things, and a fit for one school will not be the same as for another.

Also, do not underestimate the value of a good multimedia presentation!  Most people look at multimedia as 'a lot of work' or 'not in their wheelhouse'.  Well, yeah, that's exactly the point.  By going that extra mile, securing some help with your multimedia component, and putting together something well thought out that takes good advantage of the medium, you will already be setting your candidacy apart from dozens of others in your bucket.  You want differentiation?  This is your chance.

Don't be shy! Schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you.

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Forster-Thomas takes a peek inside this year's LBS application and gives you insight on how to answer their questions.

By Ben Feuer

What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

This is a textbook 'goals' essay. Check out our previous posts on goals, or our book, for a sense on how to approach this. 

How will you add value to the London Business School community? (300 words)

This is another part of the same goals essay, focusing on your contributions to the school. Read our previous posts, and remember to use specific stories drawn from your life to support the points you make about yourself.

Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (400 words)

The prompt is completely open-ended, which means you can discuss anything you have not discussed elsewhere.  One strong approach is to focus on a 'defining moment' and how it shaped you as a person – it can be something that happened on the job, but often the strongest examples of these essays come from digging deep and getting personal – talking about real, meaningful challenges you face with family or friends. You can also consider using this for additional leadership material, or discussing diversity experiences, or talking about your values.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Duke Fuqua 2014-2015 Essay Prompts with Analysis

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Duke's essays maintain their distinctive flavor this year -- here are some tips on how to attack them.

By Ben Feuer

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions. For each short answer question, respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).

1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA? 

2. What are your long-term goals?

These are standard goals essays.  See any of our previous posts on goals, or our book, for a sense on how to approach this. 

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

This question is unique to Fuqua.  Simply put, they are testing how adaptable you are to change if your goals do not work out exactly the way you want them to.  There are two great ways to answer this question.  The first way is to focus on the same long term goal, but find an alternate short term path to arrive there -- a different kind of interim position, or a different field.  The other way to approach this prompt is to create a completely new long term goal and explain how you would go about achieving that from scratch.

First Required Essay – Answer the following question – present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may only be a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

1. The "Team Fuqua" spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of "25 Random Things About Yourself." As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire's professional and academic background, so learning these "25 Random Things" helps us get to know someone's personality, background, special talents, and more.  In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of "25 Random Things" about YOU. 

This essay has been around for years -- frankly, it's one of our favorites here at Forster-Thomas.  We find it is often very revealing, and a lot of fun to read and to write!  The approach couldn't be simpler -- list random things about yourself.  You can and should draw from every aspect of your life, personal, professional and extracurricular -- be diverse!  You should list more than 25 initially so it is easy to cut a few.  They should vary in length and complexity -- here are two examples, one short, one long.
SHORT: my favorite food is salmon.
LONG: One time I wanted to surprise someone by jumping out of their trunk when they got back to their car, but they never opened the trunk so I was locked in there as they drove home.
Some should be funny, some should be serious -- show a range of unconnected facts about yourself.

Second Required Essay – Choose only 1 of the following 2 essay questions to answer. Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

This is a why school essay with a twist -- namely, that your friends, family and colleagues are asking you why you want to go to Duke.  This means that you should spend at least some time discussing your friends and family -- what do they want for you?  What are their primary concerns as far as your development goes?  Maybe your aunt is only concerned about money.  Maybe your wife is concerned with work life balance.  Maybe your uncle is a former college quarterback and wants to know about fun athletics opportunities.  Use the essay both to demonstrate your interest in the school, and to tell Duke a bit more about the important people in your life.

The Team Fuqua community is as unique as the individuals who comprise it. Underlying our individuality are a number of shared ideas and principles that we live out in our own ways. Our students have identified and defined 6 “Team Fuqua Principles” that we feel are the guiding philosophies that make our community special. At the end of our 2 years at Fuqua, if you were to receive an award for exemplifying one of the 6 Principles listed below, which one would it be and why?  Your response should reflect the research you have done, your knowledge for Fuqua and the Daytime MBA program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.

Authentic Engagement: We care and we take action. We each make a difference to Team Fuqua by being ourselves and engaging in and supporting activities about which we are passionate.
Supportive Ambition: We support each other to achieve great things, because your success is my success. The Success of each individual member of Team Fuqua makes the whole of Team Fuqua better.
Collective Diversity: We embrace all of our classmates because individuality is better and stronger together.
Impactful Stewardship: We are leaders who focus on solutions to improve our communities both now and in the future. We aren’t satisfied with just maintaining the status quo.
Loyal Community: We are a family who looks out for each other. Team Fuqua support you when you need it the most.
Uncompromising Integrity: We internalize and live the honor code in the classroom and beyond. We conduct ourselves with integrity within Fuqua, within Duke, and within all communicates of which we are a part. 

First, choose one (and only one!) of the six principles listed below.  Pick the principle that you feel you best embody.  Use about 2/3rds of a page to tell a few stories about previous experiences and accomplishments you have had that highlight why you represent this quality.  Then use the rest of the essay to talk about what you plan to do and take advantage of at Fuqua that will allow you to win this award, using the usual "why school" principles to guide your decisions on what to include.  An essay like this is all about your ability to 'give back' to the school, its clubs and programs -- and in order to explain how you would give back, you have to understand some of what the clubs and programs would actually need from you.  Be specific!

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Tuck's two prompts this year are fairly standard-issue.  Here are some strategies to help you attack them. 


Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We encourage applicants to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay. Please double-space your responses.

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?

A standard "goals" essay -- see any of our previous posts on goals, or our book, for a sense on how to approach this. 

 2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

A standard "leadership" essay -- see any of our previous posts on leadership, or our book, for more detail on how to attack this question.

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The Spanish b-schools have released their applications, and with them, their essay prompts. Forster Thomas gives them the once over.

By Ben Feuer, photo by Yaniv Yaakubovich

IESE -- University of Navarra

1. "Tweet" your post MBA goals (280 characters)

In an attempt to be 'hip', a few business schools have recently reframed their short answers as 'tweet' essays.  Don't take the bait.  Seeing as IESE apparently doesn't know that a tweet is only 140 characters, they surely don't want your hashtags and abbreviations either.  Answer this as you would any other short term goal short answer question, focusing on practicality and immediate-post-MBA aims, given your past work history.

2. Describe a recent professional situation (1-2 years ago maximum) that demonstrates your fit with IESE's mission and values(300 words).

Developing leaders, strengthening organizations, improving society.  These are three primary facets of IESE's mission statement.   To answer this prompt, tell a short-form leadership story, ideally one that shows you transforming or improving an organization through communal effort.

3. I wish that the application had asked me... (200 word limit)

This is an open-ended prompt with a tiny word count.  As such, it might make sense to approach this as one might a "getting to know you" or "one thing to know about you" prompt, focusing on one intriguing, memorable aspect of your history or personality that is not covered anywhere else in the application, then finding a question that solicits that answer.

ESADE -- Ramon Llull University

Personal essays (each question is limited to 2000 characters including spaces, 30 lines approximately)
What makes you YOU?

Today there is a growing need for outstanding business leaders who excel in their field and adapt quickly to the changing needs of the market.

Companies look to us for future leaders - people whose expertise and entrepreneurial abilities are flexible and suit a variety of leadership roles. Your drive and motivation and the individual qualities that you bring to the table are your best selling points and are what will enrich your team members most.

It is this individuality, together with the diversity at ESADE and our commitment to leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship that make us what we are: a talent pool for the business leaders of tomorrow.

The following questions are designed to help us get a more complete picture of who you are and the impact that you will have both here at ESADE and on society after completing your MBA.

Please respond openly, explaining what makes you the person that you are and who you will become.

1. Which aspects have you improved on during your academic and professional career so far? Which tools or values have helped you achieve this?

This unusually worded prompt focuses on growth and learning, emphasizing the lesson as heavily as the story you intend to tell.  Begin by telling an important academic or professional story (including an extracurricular leadership story) and then take time to explain what important lessons you learned, and where you were able to apply them later on.

2. How will your background, values and non work-related activities enhance the experience of other ESADE MBA students and add to the diverse culture we strive for at ESADE? (Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished)

This is a background/diversity essay.  Successful responses to these types of prompts highlight important moments in your personal development (note that they ask that you avoid accomplishments and work activities), like a key relationship with a family member or a personal struggle of some kind.  It is also reasonable to discuss background, beliefs and upbringing in an essay of this kind, particularly if they show you to be a uniting influence of some kind.

3. What are your motivations in pursuing a full-time MBA at this point in your life? Describe your mid-term and long-term visions for your post-MBA career path. What is it about ESADE you think will help you reach your goals?

A standard "goals" essay -- see any of our previous posts on goals, or our book, for more of a sense on how to approach this.

4. Complete two of the following four questions or statements (1000 characters per response)
   a) I am most proud of...
   b) People may be surprised to learn that I...
   c) What has your biggest challenge been and what did it help you learn about yourself?

   d) Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Note that the limit here is 1000 characters, not 1000 words.  These are short responses.  A is natural fodder for a leadership story, B is another open-ended 'getting to know you' prompt (see above), C is a different approach to leadership, either through a setback or a failure, and exploring how you grew as a result of that setback or failure -- as with all stories of this kind, it is important to authentically 'own' and take responsibility for the setback/failure, and the potential impact on the organization, but it is also important to show how you have grown as a result of it.  Answers to D should use the historical figure as a jumping off point to discuss ways you seek to emulate that person, using concrete examples from your life, rather than focusing on the figure him/herself. ----

5. Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include gaps in employment, your undergraduate record, plans to retake the GMAT or any other relevant information.

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 Here are MIT Sloan's essays for this year, along with our tips and tricks to help you ace them.

By Ben Feuer


Essay 1: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice. Discuss how you will contribute toward advancing the mission based on examples of past work and activities. (500 words or fewer, limited to one page)

This is a leadership essay, an opportunity to use specific stories from the past (three years) to talk about how you are preparing yourself to be an innovative leader, improving the world and advancing management practice.  It is worth noting that MIT asks for stories, plural, but only offers 500 words to write the essay, so your best bet is to focus on two stories. Remember that you do not have to limit yourself to talking about your job.  Do you have any interesting extracurricular stories to add?  Any personal leadership stories? When you write your essay, try to be specific with names, dates and places for clarity’s sake, and avoid jargon or heavily functional stories (the time I singlehandedly overhauled our backend system for handling orders) – focus on leadership, influencing and motivating people.

Essay 2: 

Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself.  Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)

How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?

How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?

Please give an example of the applicant's impact on a person, group, or organization.

Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.

Which of the applicant's personal or professional characteristics would you change?

Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

All right, so there’s an obvious reason this prompt exists, and let’s get it out of the way right away – Sloan doesn’t want you writing your own recommendations on behalf of your supervisors.  Fair enough.  But you weren’t planning to do that anyway, were you?

As an essay, this is an unusual opportunity to ‘stand in the shoes’ of your current supervisor – literally.  You are supposed to ‘be’ your supervisor to answer this essay, by the way, not just some ‘generic’ supervisor.  Focus on finding specific stories and specific moments that highlight things you did exceptionally well.   If you do it right, this essay can be a fantastic complement to your actual recommendation, going into detail on things your supervisor did not have the space or inclination to highlight, and vice versa.

Optional Question

The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.

First of all – this is NOT a conventional optional essay.  Every candidate should answer this question.  This is an ‘open-ended’ essay, a prompt with no particular guidance, like Harvard’s and Booth’s.  Although you are free to write about whatever seems best to you, think carefully about this essay in the context of your overall application.  What is interesting about you, or important to you, that you have not had the chance to write about so far in your application?  Another clue to help you – since multimedia is an option, is there something you do or care about that have a visual component?  Finally, some simple warnings – avoid writing about travel or sports (especially so-called extreme sports like skydiving) because almost everyone applying will have a lot of these stories.  And don’t neglect the personal!  Essays about family experiences are often the most distinctive and revealing.



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By Ben Feuer

Wharton, like most schools, has trimmed its essay offerings this year.  They are down to just one, and it is a variation on the time-honored goals essay.  Some things about Wharton from previous application years still apply in this one, though -- campus visits can still be a difference maker, as can any demonstrated interest in the target school.  Wharton wants to know why if selected, you will attend.

Required Essay Questions:

  1. What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

This is a lot to cover in just 500 words.  First and foremost, in order to properly answer this question you must identify what your professional goals are, and the way to do that is by starting off with a goals essay.  Write (briefly) about your short (immediately after business school) and long (~5 years after graduation) goals, but do not get bogged down in the details, and do not waste a lot of space talking about why you are a super qualified to attend, or all the awesome leadership experience you have had, or any of that -- Wharton didn't ask for it.  Instead, the second half (or more than half) of the essay should be focused on Why Wharton is the ideal fit for you.  Do research and campus visits, reach out to alumni and current students, whatever it takes to get interesting information about Wharton -- then tie those tidbits to your goals and ambitions.  And don't forget while you are doing this that Wharton asked about your personal goals as well -- don't shortchange those.  Talk about friends, family, and any social benefits you expect from your two years at Wharton.


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By Ben Feuer

Kellogg has finally released its essay prompts for this year, and you can read them right here on our website.  As with almost every other school this year, Kellogg has trimmed both word count and essay count.  The trend is shorter and sweeter, or as Kellogg admissions prefers to frame it, "a nice amount of space for an applicant to give a well thought out answer but not to feel constrained".  We will let you be the judge of that.

One other useful tidbit -- although the questions are different this year, Kellogg stresses that the themes are the same.  They still view team skills and resilience as very important qualities in developing leaders.  So when you set your pen to paper to answer that first prompt about a challenge you have faced, remember that the size and intensity of the challenge really matters if you are planning to craft a compelling response.

The video essay also survives for another year -- once again, candidates will have twenty seconds to prepare a response, but this year, they will have only sixty seconds to answer.  But don't worry, you are not supposed to feel constrained there, either.  For more information on how to ace the video essay, check out this great video from Forster-Thomas interview skills expert Tom Locke.

1. Resilience.  Perseverance.  Grit.  Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character.  Describe a challenging experience you’ve had.  How were you tested?  What did you learn? (450 words) 

This is what we at Forster-Thomas call a "setback" essay.  It's a kissing cousin of the "failure" essay, which you can read all about in our book.  In fact, you could answer this prompt by writing a failure essay as well, and for certain candidates (particularly those that come across too shiny and well-manicured in their resume and professional experience) it can be really nice to have that humanizing element, especially for a more socially adept student body like Kellogg's.  Just remember the two most important elements of a failure essay -- that you own the failure and take responsibility for it, and that you show us how you learned from it going forward.

But back to the setback essay.  Setback essays are about something you were trying to achieve, be it personal or professional, when ONE SPECIFIC obstacle came up and prevented that from happening.  That obstacle can be concrete (a hurried deadline) or more ambiguous (your boss's controlling attitude stifling innovation), but in order to answer the question, you must write about how you RESPONDED to the crisis -- or as Kellogg puts it, how were you tested and what did you learn?  And of course, you finish up by telling the reader what happened to the project or relationship.  Did it work out?  How?  Are there any relevant metrics?  Was the achievement a first of its kind for that setting?

2. Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others.  Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people.  What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

This is a standard 'leadership' essay (covered in our book), meaning that the focus should be on a specific, single event that took place over a well defined period of time (a month, two weeks, et cetera) where some organizational goal needed to be achieved.  In the best leadership essays, the candidate identifies the problem, finds a solution, lobbies to have it implemented and then sees it through to a successful conclusion, creating legacy going forward.  The bigger and more diverse the team, the more important and powerful the leadership experience.

Please note that Kellogg asks you to focus on professional experiences here.

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Intimidated by the 2014-2015 Common App Essay Prompts?  Don't be.

By Ben Feuer

So the common app has been out for some time now, but we continue to get questions on how to attack these prompts.  We posted the prompts themselves awhile back -- check here if you don't remember -- but now we have taken the time to go over these questions and offer some guidance on how to answer them.  Hopefully it'll be helpful!
And remember -- 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

1.  Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.   

To some extent, this is a so-called diversity prompt -- it is asking you to explain how your background, your life experiences, made you the person you are today -- one life experience in particular.  You could answer this question very effectively, and very legitimately, by simply focusing on that.  But the prompt is crystal clear that it is not ONLY referring to your background -- any kind of story that really defined who you are would do.  A story about your mother or father, or your best friend, or your worst enemy.  The hardest thing you ever tried to do.  The most amazing place you ever visited.  Whatever it was that really defined you.
Whatever you choose to talk about, write about it in a fast moving, narrative style.  Talk not so much about what happened as how you felt about what happened, and what you think about it now.  And leave enough space to give examples of how you have changed as a result of this -- prove that it really was an influential moment in your life.

2.  Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

To write persuasively about learning from a failure is a deceptively simple AND difficult thing to do.  Why is it difficult?  Because the first step, the step that most people are unwilling to take, is ADMITTING YOU FAILED and explaining the nature of your failure.  After that, you must highlight the COST of your failure; who you hurt (you don't count).
Then, once all of that is done, you can talk about how you did better the next time you were faced with a similar problem.  But if you don't explain the failure first, it won't be of much use.  Remember, the more honest and direct you are when writing this kind of essay, the better off you will be.

3.  Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Challenging a deeply held belief, yours or someone else's, shows character and leadership, and that is what you should focus on when you write about this topic.  Start by identifying what the idea was, then explain YOUR OWN thought process in understanding that the idea, whatever it was, was flawed.  After that comes the real meat of this kind of essay -- explaining how you went about challenging the idea.

Don't choose a topic where there was little or no conflict.  Avoid easy answers to easy questions.  I proved to my friend that racism is wrong.  Well, good for you, but everybody knows that.  Dig deeper.  Find a really challenging question and a really powerful answer -- or else choose another prompt.

4.  Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

This prompt is a bit of a trap.  By inviting you to talk about a place, and a pleasant place, at that, it opens you up to waste 500 words rhapsodizing about how pretty Walden Pond is in the summer.  Don't fall into that trap.  This essay, like every essay, is a chance for admissions officers to get to know YOU, and that won't happen if you spend all your time talking about some place they can see just fine from Google Earth.

Focus instead on the experiences.  Use them as a springboard to discuss your own growth, evolution, and maturation.  The place is just a place -- its meaning for you could be tied up in a loved one, or a key moment in your life where everything changed in some important way.  Ask yourself this simple question -- why am I choosing to write about this instead of anything else?  What does it say about me?

5.  Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

There is a term, bildungsroman, which came to be translated into English as "coming of age".  Three quarters of the books you were forced to read in middle school are coming of age stories, in one way or another.  To Kill a Mockingbird.  Lord of the Flies.  A Separate Peace.  Catcher in the Rye.  When you think about this prompt, think about those books.  How did their protagonists change, grow and evolve?  When was the moment that it happened?

You have had moments like this in your life.  All of us have.  The moment when you first understood that the world is not fair.  The moment when you first fell in love (or out of it).  The moment you realized your parents were only human.  The pride you felt when you earned your first paycheck.  Take one such moment and write an essay about it.  Knock my socks off.

Hopefully this was helpful.  If you have more questions, email us!

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