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One applicant we worked with had several “C” grades in analytical courses in college but she recently took additional quantitative classes through a continuing education program and received “A” grades to show that she can handle the rigor of coursework in a top MBA program.
You can – and should – take time to address the bigger picture. Being a bad test taker may be your reason for low scores, but if you chose to use your optional essay to explain a GMAT or GRE score, I recommend you set some context for your poor test taking skills/ability and provide some hard evidence. If you experienced a crisis, use this essay to explain, in a succinct and sensitive way, what we should know about it and its effects on you. Successes, awards, special recognition Although Babson, like many schools, has a section in the application in which you can enter awards and honors, you may like to describe in detail the honors and accolades you have received or the successes you have achieved.
The Committee would really like to read your answers, because they had these very questions after reviewing your transcript. For TOEFL/IELTS takers, this essay is a great place for giving examples of why your English skills are far better than your scores (case in point—the essay itself is an example of your English skills).
A few common areas that we get questions about are college suspensions, trouble with the law, or marginal grades or GMAT scores.
Fortuna’s co-founder, Matt Symonds, even published a recent article in , called “50 Shades of Admissions Grey”.
“Grey area” topics Some topics are not as straightforward and in these cases, we suggest you run your ideas by someone you trust.
In some situations, what you consider a weakness might not be an issue and writing about it in an optional essay might draw more attention to something that wasn’t even noticed.
When working in admissions departments at top MBA programs, some of the questions that we were asked each year were whether a candidate should write an optional essay, and what kinds of topics should be addressed in the optional essay space.
In the last few years, as many MBA programs have reduced the number of required essays and essay count, the answers to these questions are less clear-cut.
Overall, we suggest that you be judicious around what you include or omit in an optional essay since this can send a signal to Admissions about your personal judgment.
If you have questions about your own presentation and how to approach your optional essays or other admissions questions, we are happy to provide a free 30-minute consultation.