December for the Admissions team is when we have one foot in Round One, and the other in Round Two. This week we’re wrapping up our Round One interviews in preparation for the final decision release on December 19th. As many of you are busy preparing to submit your applications on January 8th for the Round Two deadline
, I wanted to offer my thoughts on how to prepare a great application – and still enjoy your holidays!
Don’t underestimate the power of preparation when it comes to your essays. You’ve heard us say it a million times – self-reflection is the absolute best investment for strong essays. Take the next couple of weeks to do some deeper thinking before sitting down to your keyboard. Great compositions can come in many forms, but all have at least these elements in common: (1) Spark – what gets you up in the morning? What do you love? How do you want to change? What motivates you in your career? (2) Clear goals – try not to speak in generic statements and maybes. Make sure your goals make sense and are achievable. Do you understand the industry you are striving to work in? Have done your research? (3) Fit – you have to know where Booth can fill in the gaps for you and what you can’t get anywhere else.
Don’t obsess about ‘standing out.' Many applicants are preoccupied by the idea that they need to be different and therefore they focus on being ‘remembered,’ rather than being authentic. Take a step back and make sure that the application accurately reflects YOU; your past, your aspirations, and your real personality. We are all distinct individuals with diverse paths, ambitions and ideas – that is how you will stand out. Yet at the same time, I ask you to not be shy in sharing things that help us to understand your path and how you will add to this community.
Think about how you will present your past work experience. In most instances you should assume your industry and/or company is well understood by those reading your application. But if you do something most of your friends have a hard time understanding, that can be an indication to be a bit more descriptive in the application or on your resume. Don’t get overly detailed, but use your best judgment – make sure we will understand what you do or what your company is about. It can be difficult and frustrating for the reader when we don’t – and quite frankly it’s a missed opportunity for you.
Don’t leave your recommendation letters to chance. Think about the best people to ask – those that know you best and can speak to your experiences. Then, give your recommenders enough notice before the deadline to write the letters. This means face to face time to chat about your goals and your past experiences, and enough notice before the deadline to write a strong letter. No matter how tempting, don’t write your own letter - your recommenders will always say it better.
Prepare for your GMAT or GRE. Booth accepts both tests and there is no preference for one over the other. Whichever test you have chosen to take, make sure you are prepared and can submit your personal best. While there is no minimum score requirement and your test results are just one small part of an overall evaluation, this is a competitive process and you owe it to yourself to present the strongest application you can.
Connect with the Booth Community. If you can, we encourage you to visit campus; it’s a great way to understand Booth and help you better understand and clarify your fit with Booth when sitting down to write your essays. If you do visit, make sure to register and to note our exclusion dates and abbreviated Holiday schedule. Over the Winter Break our students will also be holding our annual Student-Hosted Winter Events in cities all over the globe. Relax and chat with our students and learn more about The Booth Experience first-hand. Event dates, cities and registration information will be posted soon on our website.
I hope you enjoy the holiday season. We look forward to learning more about you and reading your applications in Round Two.