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It is simply an opportunity for you to address your situation(s) to the Admissions Committee that you weren’t able to in other parts of the application.For another perspective, here is an overview of the Optional Essay from a student who went through the application process. We are looking at the of your application, if you will.
Most programs signal their openness to “bonus” content in the wording of their optional essay prompts.
If a school invites applicants to use the space to share anything else they would like to convey to the adcom, then it’s appropriate to highlight material that supports your candidacy and might not have fit with the program’s required essay responses.
Meanwhile, if a program specifies that the optional response be used only to address extenuating circumstances or explain potential liabilities, it’s generally not advisable to stray from those subjects.
Once you’ve decided that a detail is relevant to your candidacy and merits mentioning in an optional essay, the next step is to think carefully about the way this information might be perceived and make sure that the impact it makes on your chances of admission is a positive one.
If you’ve said all you need to say about yourself as a candidate and you don’t have it in you to write more, that’s totally understandable! And don’t feel guilty about being relieved that you don’t have to read the rest of this post.] So why answer a question that hasn’t been asked?
Because I think it’ll give some of you an advantage in your application.
Also along the lines of what information is requested, it’s wise to think carefully about a school’s other essay questions before deciding to provide “bonus material” in an optional essay.
Each required essay response affords applicants a chance to introduce the information about their background and interests that they consider to be most important (within the confines of the prompt, of course).
We realize that the questions of whether to answer an optional essay and, if so, what to say are ones that loom large for many MBA applicants at this time of year.
While we’ve been offering a great deal of school-specific essay advice over the past few weeks, we wanted to take some time to suggest a few considerations that applicants might want to take into account when making this call.