Survey Says MBA Essay Trimming Trend Hasn’t Spread

Last week, Kaplan Test Prep revealed the results of its 2014 business school admissions officers survey which found that the vast majority of U.S. MBA programs don’t plan on cutting the number of admissions essays they require applicants to submit.

While programs such as those at Yale School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School made headlines last cycle by eliminating essays and reducing word count, Kaplan notes that just 13% of the 204 surveyed business schools had cut the number of admissions essays for this cycle, compared to 2013; and just 3% of schools say they plan to cut the required number of essays for the next application cycle.

“While it’s true that some of the most competitive business schools have cut the number of admissions essays or reduced the word count, our survey finds that the overwhelming number of MBA programs continue to see value in applicants submitting more information about themselves,” says Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

Some applicants may have a harder time with fewer essays and the lower word count, Carlidge notes, because it forces them to be more succinct. However, the essays are perhaps the most important element of the application as they provide candidates with the opportunity to show the admissions team why they are a good fit for the school in a way the GMAT score, GPA, and work experience cannot, he adds.

The streamlined trend is still one to watch, though, Carlidge says, pointing out that several years ago only a handful of schools allowed applicants to submit a score from the GRE instead of the GMAT, but now it’s something almost all schools allow.


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