When I was in the corporate world, my section was figuratively called “the pre-departure area.” People with work attitude problems were transferred to me to convey the message that their employment days are numbered if they don’t measure up.
It was a reputation I did not relish. But I pursued just the same because the health of an organization cannot be jeopardized by a few individuals who just cannot come to grips with the reality that working needs a personal paradigm shift.
So is applying for graduate studies. The moment you start preparing your application for entry into a business school, you need to bid goodbye to your old self and put on a new one.
You cannot pretend to do so but exert real effort to do so. Otherwise it will show somewhere along the way. It can even show in your admission essay.
They can manifest in the form of:
Nothing is more irritating than to see a misspelled word in any form of written media – formal or informal.
Unfortunately everybody does it, every now and then. Relying too much on a spell checker can be embarrassing. It can mean the demise of your MBA aspiration.
Admission committees are not very forgiving with misspelled words in your admission essay. They assume that you have no problems spelling everyday words and you are not a sloppy applicant.
Edit your essay to perfection – spelling wise.
I must admit that writing well is not for everyone. So if you slept through your English 101, try catching up before you attempt to submit your admission essay.
Admission committees find it abhorring seeing poor grammar in your essay. This includes the misuse of contractions and apostrophe s; a sign of laziness at best, ignorance, at worst.
Have your essay proofread countless times by friends. If their language skills are no better than yours, spend a little to have somebody do it for you. That’s a worthwhile investment.
Wrong usage of words:
Spell checkers are pretty dumb in this. So be careful in properly using the words loose and lose, affect and effect, to and too, or they’re, there and their, among others.
As an applicant to a business school, you are projecting an image of being intelligent, well educated and prepared for graduate studies.
Besides, as a future aspirant for a management position, you should be good in this aspect of written communication.
Being too informal:
Writing an admission essay is not writing to a close friend, nor is it writing to a lover. It is writing for business purposes.
Jargon or slang definitely turns a lot of people off, including admission committee members.
The use of contractions, if done too often or out of context, is also a no-no. You can get away with being humorous but not unnecessarily funny in your essay.
Strive for formality. There is no harm done if you do.
This is a not a “Dear Abbey” letter:
An admission essay should not be taken as an opportunity in opening up your entire self, i.e., frustrations, a detailed overview of your childhood, or whatever hang-ups you may have, to the admission committee members.
Take it like a strip show – tantalizing enough to titillate the imagination. It puts the admission committee on edge; to want to know you more.
Leaving them not much for their imagination will make them treat your application like “having seen this movie before.”
Writing for the wrong school:
This happens to applicants sending applications to various schools. There is no way Harvard is going to consider an application addressed to Cambridge.
Names and titles are very personal even if they apply to institutions. So be as careful in this part of your essay as you are with the above items.
This shows carelessness.
Don’t make excuses:
I’ve seen so many good promotion opportunities bungled because of untruthfulness and too many excuses.
Your admission essay is your single most important opportunity to convince any admission committee that you are suitable to take graduate studies, not an opportunity to cry on their shoulders begging for understanding.
Don’t let your poor GPA or marginal GMAT frazzle you. Rather than dwell on them, steer the admission committee’s attention to your sincerity, your potential, and things you do best.
Don’t sound too apologetic with your poor grades. Accept them with honesty and compensate with your good traits.