The Optional Essay

 

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optional essay for B-school admission

Apart from the compulsory essays, there are other types of essays, also called as optional essays. They are purely optional, and writing an optional essay will depend on a candidate. If, one feels that his or her, profile requires an optional essay, then the candidate can proceed further, and write an effective optional essay.

How would I know, if I would require an optional essay?

Before we understand the situations that require an optional essay. Let us begin with the relevance of an optional essay.

According to The Columbia Business School, “An optional fourth essay, will allow you to discuss any issues, that do not fall within the purview of the required essays”.

The Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has similar view point on optional essay.

As per the Business school- If you feel, there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them, in an optional essay.

When should you write an optional essay?

You can write an optional essay for unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent, or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application.

In other words, option essays give you a second chance, but writing your optional essays, will require a certain set of skills, because you are trying to convince the admissions officers, by giving reasons for a negative situation, or a weakness in your profile.

Let us discuss the various situations that may require an explanation.

  • An undergraduate disciplinary issue, like, getting expelled from the junior college.
  • Academic issues like, low GPA, or CAREER GAPS.
  • You can give an explanation, for a non-representative, or a low GMAT score.
  • If your supervisor denies, to write a letter of recommendation, then you need to give appropriate explanation, by writing an optional essay.
  • Firing by your previous employer, will require an explanation.
  • Similarly, if you were arrested, or convicted, then you will need to write a strong optional essay.
  • Addressing any of these situations, requires a certain level of honesty and directness.

The optional essay, is meant for discussing a problem, and that is it!

You must not use it as an opportunity, in hopes that it will score you a few extra points. Rather, you must consider an optional essay as a medium to make up for your past activities.

Now, you must have understood that, writing an optional essay can be tough and challenging.

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