Mission Admission: Don’t Ignore the Short Answer Sections

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Many candidates will work painstakingly on their essays, prepare rigorously for their interviews and endlessly contemplate their choices of recommenders. However, applicants tend to leave the short answer section of their applications to the last moment, and some will simply paste in information from their resumes or from their applications to other schools.

The short answer sections—meaning the actual questions within the application about work and community experience, hobbies, etc.—should certainly not be ignored, and should be completed with the same spirit of diligence that you would bring to all the other aspects of your applications. We advise candidates to refrain from just pasting bullet points from their resumes into the short answer section, and to instead take time to truly contemplate the questions that are asked and write out the answers in full sentence form. (Further, bullets from a resume often lack the necessary context, so they rarely make effective answers for this portion of the application.) Although the information conveyed in the short answer section is important, we believe that what is really crucial is that candidates give care and thought to all aspects of their applications.

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