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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

November 24, 2008

Warning: Stanford Online Application Essay Page

I just wanted to let all Fall 2009 Stanford GSB Applicants (Click here for my full analysis of Stanford GSB MBA Essay Questions for 2008/2009), for 2nd and 3rd round, know that the online application question page does a awful job of presenting the Essay C questions. It states the following:

"Essay C: Please answer two of the questions listed below.
  1. Tell us about a time when you built or developed a team.

  2. Tell us about a time when you felt most effective as a leader.

  3. Tell us about a time when you tried to reach a goal or complete a task that was challenging, difficult, or frustrating.

  4. Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined, established, or expected."
However, the online application does not include an important constraint on the question which is explained in the online application instructions:

"When answering two of the questions in Essay C, please tell us not only what you did, but also how you did it. Tell us the outcome and describe how people responded. Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years."

Applicants have to take the statement "Please go to the 'Application Instructions' on the left menu for detailed information," located at the top of the Essay page literally. If one simply wrote essays on the basis on the online application essay page, it would be quite reasonable to unaware of this last three year limitation on the C essays. Of course, applicants who read the questions on the Stanford web page will already be aware of this three year requirement, but their seems no reason to not put on the essay application page. While most applicants will hopefully read the great content that Stanford has on this web page regarding their essays, GSB certainly has got a very user-unfriendly approach to handling this crucial limitation on their online application. This is clearly just a real good example of why it is always important to read the instructions closely. Or at least my essay analysis.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see my recent post on "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant." If you are interested in my graduate admission consulting services, please click here.
-Adam Markus
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