Optional additional essay
I think the concept of an additional essay is great, that way I could give an explanation for possible weaknesses in my application. Do most schools offer an optional additional essay?
- Eric Allen expert Aaron, not sure how this slipped through the cracks. Most b-schools do have an optional essay. Frankly, if you have weaknesses, you should try to proactively address in your application and save the optional essay if you need it. Make sure you have clear mitigants to the weakness(es) and don't try to say any little thing that's a weakness. Hope that helps.
- Jay Mixter expert I would echo what Eric said and add that it's important to try and keep the points you make in an optional essay short, focused and non-defensive. If you are addressing a particular weakness or something that warrants explanation, be sure to be as factual as possible and avoid anything that sounds like you are making excuses.
- Joe El Rady expert Some thoughts on the "Optional Essay": In prior years, we recommended only writing the optional in order to explain extenuating circumstances. We also cautioned against writing it to explain circumstances that were not so detrimental (the last thing you want to do is to draw the admissions committee's attention on something they would not notice on their own). The latter advice stills stands. As for writing solely to explain extenuating circumstances, that advice has changed slightly. Now that programs have decreased the number of essays required, applicants are taking advantage of the optional essays to explain positive or otherwise unexplored aspects of their branding and candidacy. This is fine, as long as candidates remain judicious— writing only about important or very positive issues and remaining brief. But back to your topic— extenuating circumstances— there are a few key reasons to us to the optional essay to explain mitigating circumstances: * Poor academic performance (overall or in a specific classes, semesters) * Low test scores * Personal issues that may have caused the above. * Lack of a reference from direct supervisor due to desire not to disclose of departure, due to short tenure, or due to familial relationship (some people work with family members). We are planning to issue more final guidance about this on the site. Stay tuned...