Be Careful Not to Start Every Sentence in Your Essay or Personal Statement with “I”

Admissions committees want to learn about you, but be careful that it does not sound like bragging. There is a fine line between confidence and overconfidence or cockiness. A narrative about some experience you have dad might make your application stand out, but be careful not to inflate the importance of what you have done. Be honest as well as modest. 

 This post is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.


Cornell Johnson 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips


This Cornell Johnson 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at My tips for answering Johnson‘s essay questions are in blue below.

Cornell Johnson 2011 MBA Essay Questions

The essay portion of your application gives you the opportunity to candidly demonstrate your attributes and your compatibility with our rich and vibrant program. We require three essays and provide the option for completing an additional (fourth) essay. All re-applicants must complete an additional essay regarding improvements in their applications. Please observe the 400 word limit for each essay.

Essays Required for All Applicants:

1) Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you added value to your organization. (400 word limit) 

Your greatest achievement needs to have had impact – saving money, raising revenue, increasing prestige, adding clients/customers, or contributing to the achievement of some organizational goal.

As you answer this question, keep in mind Johnson‘s general management, team, and project orientation. I am not saying that sitting in a lab in isolation and elegantly solving a long-standing mathematical problem won’t help you at all. But I suspect that working with multiple stakeholders on a marketing plan that resulted in gang-buster sales would have more punch.

2) What career do you plan to pursue upon completion of an MBA degree and why? How will the Johnson School help you achieve this goal? (400 word limit) 

Goals question. Try to choose an achievement for #1 that can be a cornerstone of your future career, demonstrate your talent for it, or at least relate to it. Doing so will save you precious words when answering the “why” of this question. You still need to discuss your reasons for your goals, but if #1 partially answers the question or provides context, then most of #2 can focus on what you want to do and why you want to attend Cornell Johnson.

3) You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the table of contents for the book.
Note: Approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity. (400 word limit)

Have a little fun with the question. You can reveal something about your youth, influential experiences or people, challenges, hobbies, interests, passions… It’s Your Life Story. 

Essay Required for All Re-applicants: How did you strengthen your application since you last applied to the Johnson School?(400 word limit)

This is the key question for all MBA re-applicants. Why are you a better applicant now than you were when they rejected you last time?

Optional Essay: Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School. (400 word limit)

Given how little Johnson requests, I encourage you to write the optional essay. Just make sure you are submitting an informative optional essay that complements the required essays and adds to the reader’s knowledge of you and your qualifications.  If you do not have something to explain, this optional would be a great place to explore in depth a non-professional interest or commitment of yours.

If you would like help with your Johnson, application, please consider’s MBA admissions consulting and essay editing and specifically our Cornell Johnson School Packages.

REMINDER: Cornell Johnson’s Stacey Thomas will be Accepted’s guests at an admissions chat on October 21st at 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET/ 5:00 PM GMT.

Cornell Johnson 2011 MBA Application Deadlines

Round Application Notification
Round 1 October 5, 2010 December 21, 2010
Round 2 November 9, 2010 February 15, 2011
Round 3 January 4, 2011 March 22, 2011
Round 4 March 22, 2011 April 21, 2011


*Submission of your application must occur by midnight on the application deadline to receive consideration in a specific round.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Columbia University’s Application: Tips to Compel

When I was a high school student, my parents agreed that I could apply to any colleges I wanted, with the exception of those in California and New York City.  Consequently, I didn’t set foot on Columbia’s campus until more than a decade later.  Among both fellow Ivies and its New York City brethren, Columbia stands out.

The integration of a strong campus center (the vast majority of students live on campus for four years) with the accessibility of the city as well as Columbia’s commitment to its core curriculum give this college a feeling that is unique from others.  With so many distinguishing features, you should be able to convey to the admissions committee your interest in Columbia.  For applicants to the Fu School of Engineering, there is also a question which asks about the roots of that interest.   In both cases, take a sentence or two to relate your own experience to the strengths of the college.   If you are struggling with this question, consider attending one of Columbia’s evening programs which are held throughout the country.  

The questions about your interests, which ask you to list books, concerts, media that you have enjoyed over the past year are looking for fairly straightforward responses.  The commitment to the arts, which is a large component of the Columbia College Core Curriculum, is evident from the application question about concerts and art exhibits.  As an academically engaged student, there should be plenty of media and arts which have captured your attention in the past year.  Share both the mundane and the more interesting.  If you have a strong interest in a subject area, chances are your reading interests at least peripherally relate.  

Columbia is a member of the Common Application, and does offer an early decision program for students who are confident that Columbia is their first choice.

 By Whitney Bruce, who has worked in college admissions since 1996. She has served as an Senior Assistant Director of Admissions (Washington U), Application Reader (University of Michigan), Assistant Director of College Counseling (private prep school in St. Louis), and an independent college counselor. She is happy to advise you as you apply to college.

Interview with QS TopMBA Connect recently interviewed Liz Fitt from QS TopMBA Connect.

QS TopMBA Connect enables individual meetings between MBA applicants and admissions directors around the world. This weekend TopMBA connect will be in New York City and Washington, D.C. followed by Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (through December). You can connect with QS TopMBA Connect online to set up your meeting. What is your role with Connect 1-2-1?

Lizz Fitt: I am the Operations and Marketing Manager for TopMBA Connect 1-2-1 What is Connect 1-2-1?

Lizz Fitt: TopMBA Connect 1-2-1 is an exclusive event providing those who would like to go to business school with a quick and easy way of gathering all the information they need to make well informed decisions on where to apply. The events consist of a personally tailored schedule of 30 minute one-to-one sessions between candidates and Admissions Directors that we put together for each attendee. What is the primary benefit to applicants of Connect 1-2-1?

Lizz Fitt: It’s a chance to find out all about what these schools can offer you, while making a good impression on the Admissions Directors and gaining inside tips on what makes a successful application. The upshot of which is, for many candidates a place on a program that is the perfect fit for them. I have many examples of happy candidates who have successfully applied to schools they met at Connect 1-2-1 events around the world. How do you recommend MBA applicants prepare for their Connect 1-2-1 meetings?

Lizz Fitt: Because we pre-match you, according to the admissions criteria of the schools and your own requirements, you know exactly who you will be meeting with before the event. So, in order to make the most of this, it is important that you’ve done at least basic research on each school you will see on the day –It would be a shame to only ask questions you can find the answers to on the web, so use your research to formulate questions that will really be of use to you in developing a shortlist of schools to which you would like to apply. Personally I feel that it is ideal to enter into Connect 1-2-1 events with a view to exploring exactly what each school has to offer you, while having a clear perspective on why you want to do an MBA – some questions to consider are: What do you intend to do with your MBA once you graduate? What do you have to offer these business schools in terms of experience, expertise, your own achievements? (Really sell yourself, they are looking for the best) And what can each school offer that makes them stand out from the rest for you?


By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Interview with ZoomInterviews interviewed ZoomInterviews’ founders Alon Karmiel and Misha Medvedev. ZoomInterviews provides interview preparation videos to help you prepare for your MBA interview. How did you come to start ZoomInterviews?

Alon: The inspiration for came primarily from my personal experience during the admissions process. While other parts of the application were quite clear, what to expect in the admissions interview remained a mystery.  My first interview with Wharton wasn’t very successful. So following this experience and knowing what to then expect during the interview, I invested  a significant amount of time preparing for my new upcoming interviews. All of the remaining interviews went very well and I was accepted to a number of top business schools including Chicago Booth, from which I graduated. It was during the preparation process when I realized how crucial it was for applicants to know what to expect and how to perform well during their admissions interview. What do you see as the primary benefit of watching the ZoomInterviews videos?

Alon: Delivery means a lot in the admissions process and in the business world in general. Through the interview business schools will derive conclusions about an applicant’s ability to manage business related conversations and present him/herself in a positive, structured and succinct way. It is also very important to establish a good fit with the school. ZoomInterviews provides applicants with an insider’s view to the interview room. Through watching our videos applicants will be able to see how admissions interviews are conducted and how establishing a fit with an institution is important  for making a strong positive impression. Our  mock interviews are researched in-depth and simulate what could happen in the real interview. This translates into an opportunity for applicants to learn from top MBA students and alumni with significant interviewing experience.

Misha: There are hundreds of various online resources and tools dedicated to MBA admissions interviews and interview preparation in general. After doing some research and browsing through dozens of those websites, MBA applicants might get a pretty good idea of what they have to say. But it’s only through watching other successful MBA students and alumni that applicants can actually see how they should craft their message in the most effective way. Watching videos provides applicants with an exceptional opportunity to compare different behavioral models, analyze the performance of different candidates and develop their own strategy, one that reflects their unique personality. Looking through a continuous stream of our clients’ feedback, we also realized that what applicants value the most is the ability to compare their personal interviewing skills with others. This either gives them extra confidence about their readiness for interview day or serves as a signal to polish certain areas that need to be improved. So it’s a win-win situation really and many applicants realize that. How do you recommend that applicants prepare for their MBA interviews – in addition to watching ZoomInterviews?

Alon: It is very important to be prepared for the interview and there are several key elements in the preparation process: 

- Research what the most frequently asked interview questions are for a given school. Almost all schools will ask you to talk about your background, why an MBA, why in this specific school and why now. They also will ask you to talk about your leadership and team work experience to be sure that you have leadership potential and can be a good team member during your MBA program and beyond. You must be prepared to answer these core questions. You can find a complete suite of admissions FAQs on our website

- Learn what the interviewing format of each school is and who your interviewer will be (student, admissions officer or alum). The style of the interview will vary depending on the type of interviewer you get. For instance, interviews with alumni usually will be longer and less formal. You will need to adjust to these differences in the interviewing style. 

- Prepare in advance 5-7 stories which exemplify your achievements, leadership and teamwork experiences and can be used for answering a variety of behavioral questions.  These usually start out as “Can you tell me about a time when…” or “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated…” Make sure to structure your answers to emphasize your actions and the results of those actions.  We recommend using the SOAR framework (Situation, Obstacle/Opportunity, Action and Result).

- Research your target schools, their teaching methods, culture, values and what they are looking for in the applicants.  Become familiar with the characteristics schools universally look for in all candidates (e.g. high GMAT scores, solid work experience) and characteristics that are unique strengths to you. You should tailor your answers to demonstrate fit with your target schools.

 - Prepare 2-3 intelligent questions to be asked at the end in of the interview. Your questions should not be obvious, but at the same time not too complicated, so that even the interviewer will not know the answers. Your questions should show that you did your homework about the school and are genuinely interested in the program.  This is a subtle way to impress your interviewer without trying to coming across as trying too hard.

Misha: So you’ve done your research, you crafted your story, you’ve watched the interviews videos, you learned about  your schools… now, what’s next? Practice, practice, and more practice. That’s exactly what will bring you to the next level and will make you stand out during your admissions interviews. Many applicants find it useful to arrange mock practice interviews with their friends or with experienced MBA admissions consultants. It’s important not to misjudge your own performance, so anything from practicing in front of a mirror to Skype-ing with a friend or, even better, doing a mock interview with a professional admissions consultant, will benefit a lot here. What do you think is the overarching purpose of an admissions interview?

Alon: We believe that in the interviewing process business schools want to see that applicants’ paper applications are aligned with reality and that the applicant is a good fit with the school. Business schools want to be sure that they accept mature and socially adaptable individuals whose communication style and past behaviors will allow them to be successful in their studies and in the recruiting process. Interviewers also want to market their schools and have a chance to answer any questions which applicants may have.

Misha: Applicants can convey their candidacy through different aspects of their application, such as test scores, essays and their carefully chosen letters of recommendation, but it’s really in the admissions interview where schools have an opportunity to see how your personality shines through and if you will be a good fit for the school. It’s also your opportunity to show them why you’re a great fit for their program.

Accepted’s Interview Resources:

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Employers Favor State Schools: Perspective on the WSJ survey

When I worked in college admissions, not only was I counseling students and sitting on the admission committee, but a portion of my job was sales and recruiting as well. That’s right, while the ‘sales’ part was definitely non-traditional and not something ever stressed by the institution, I needed to convince families to spend more than $100,000 on an experience.  I could offer no guarantees of a job, or of future success.

It was with interest, then that I read the Wall Street Journal article this week about job placement and college graduates.  After interviewing recruiters from a number of companies, the Journal found that state universities often came out on top, besting universities whose graduates might have higher test scores and a more prestigious label on their resume.  

Should this article impact your college search?  It goes without saying that for many students, one of the goals of a college education is to find a meaningful, and paying job in your field upon graduation.  For this reason, the survey touched upon majors that give students discrete skill sets upon college graduation — accounting, engineering, and computer science.  There are excellent programs in these areas at a number of universities throughout the country.  If you pursue such a major, it is often easier to articulate your career goals, and to match your resume with specific companies and job positions.

For a liberal arts graduate, the job market can be a different story.  It’s not that liberal arts graduates (which many graduates of small colleges and highly selective colleges are) lack in skills, but they bring to the table skills that are less quantifiable: the ability to think critically and creatively, to communicate well, and to argue a point.  If anyone has ever asked you, “What are you going to do with an English/anthropology/political science/women’s studies major,” you know that there are many open options, and fewer prescribed paths.

While it is always important to think about your future, it is key to think of college as an experience in itself, and not simply a stepping stone to a specific job or graduate program.  Students who make the most of their college years, by taking courses of interest to them, pursuing research with faculty members, undertaking real world internships, and yes, visiting the career center are the ones most likely to be at the top of a recruiters wish list.

 By Whitney Bruce, who has worked in college admissions since 1996. She has served as an Senior Assistant Director of Admissions (Washington U), Application Reader (University of Michigan), Assistant Director of College Counseling (private prep school in St. Louis), and an independent college counselor. She is happy to advise you as you apply to college.

Whitney recently presented Ivy League Applications that Sparkle, a free webinar. To view or download the webinar please click here.

MIT Sloan MBA Admissions: Interview with Rod Garcia

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Rod Garcia, Director of Admissions at the MIT Sloan School of Business. He was kind enough to provide an update on MIT Sloan admissions, and insight into Sloan’s evaluation process. What’s new at MIT Sloan? Is there anything new in MIT admissions?

RG: We offer a relatively new specialized Masters in Finance, which is now in its second year. It started out with 25 students; this year that number has more than doubled with 59 matriculated students. The program has attracted star faculty members, including Nobel Prize winner Bob Merton, who recently retired from Harvard Business School.

This year MIT Sloan also offers a new EMBA program. Jonathan Lehrich is heading up the program, and he’s already received over 200 applications. There are currently no other top players in this region in the EMBA market, and we are filling a real need in this area.

Another recent development is our new building. The goal is to bring the entire faculty into one place, though it will also have some classrooms. Furthermore, the building was designed to accommodate interaction, so it will become the locus of activity at Sloan. Officially, the building will have a soft opening September 16th, but the real inauguration will be next year during the 150th anniversary of MIT. What do you anticipate in terms of application volume this year and in terms of hiring for the Class of 2011? How is your crystal ball looking?

RG: I have been saying for several years that application volume should decline, and fortunately I’ve been wrong. Application volume at MIT Sloan has increased cumulatively 57% over the last three years. It was up last year too. I told the deputy dean not to expect increases this year, and that we’ve already seen the high water mark.

We received just under 5000 applications last year. I’ve been at MIT for 22 years and have never seen anything like it. I do still think that the number of applications will start to decline for all schools.

Regarding hiring: This year was better than last year, and I anticipate continued improvement. Now people know what’s ahead. There are no false illusions of MBAs making hundreds of thousands upon graduation. I think the financial crisis acted as a reset button, resetting expectations of MBA applicants. Not bad at all.

Right after ‘87’s steep stock drop, we still saw people applying for degrees in finance. Then, and now, it’s the people who REALLY want the field and the industry. They’re not just going for it because it’s “sexy” or because they are dazzled by visions of large salaries. The last two years saw a similar resetting of expectations and weeding out of the peripherally interested.

And the students now know they have to work harder for their jobs. They know they need to do their share. Days of easy, multiple offers and big signing bonuses are over. People need to be (and are) much more realistic. MIT’s Sloan Fellows program and its new EMBA program are both geared toward middle managers who want to move into senior management, usually people with more than 10 years of work experience. Does MIT Sloan prefer that candidates with more than 10 years of full-time work experience apply to one of these programs and not to the full-time program?

RG: Not necessarily. We do have people with 10+ years of experience apply to the full-time MBA program. One difference between the Fellows program and the full-time program is that many Fellows are sponsored. The Sloan Fellows program has a relationship with companies/sponsors who still frequently sponsor students. What if you have a 35-year-old who is not sponsored, where should he or she apply?

RG: An MBA is better for career switchers. The Fellows program doesn’t have the same career services. If they want a broader, longer program, then they should apply for an MBA. If they want an intensive program with peers, then the Fellows program is more appropriate. In an interview with MBA Podcaster you emphasized the importance of above-average career progression relative to one’s peers. How can an applicant show career progression when in a flat organization or self-employed?

RG: Through the essays and recommendations. When we evaluate work experience, we look at work success relative to peers. Are you ahead or behind the curve? We want ahead of the curve. A good resume should show progression through increased responsibilities.

Recommendations show it too and are important. The application is not just what a candidate is asserting; we need assertions to be backed up by recommendations.  We want to see growth and ideally a comparison to peers, like “In top 2% of peers” or a similar comment.

Length of experience doesn’t make someone more competitive if that person has stagnated.

How can early career applicants show that kind of progress?

Early career applicants are encouraged to apply. MIT Sloan has admitted a handful of applicants straight from college. Really outstanding applicants. We look at internships, community service, and activities at school. You can see the path. They have sought opportunities and internships. They have been really involved, sometimes entrepreneurial. They are academically outstanding and also outstanding in the opportunities they have sought. How do you read an MBA application? What do you look at first and then how do you go through it?

RG: There’s no hard rule for this. Some do a quick scan of hard numbers: GMAT, grades, work, the resume. Some like to start with the recommendations. Some like to start with the cover letter. Some read resumes from the bottom.

I personally do a quick scan to get an idea of who the person is. Then I like to read the recommendations because it gives me an idea of the candidate before he gets to paint his or her own portrayal.

Sometimes it’s frustrating when a recommender does a great job of describing the candidate and then the applicant does a poor job of describing himself or herself. After reading the recommendation, I have a level of expectation and it’s disappointing when they fall flat. After the recommendations, I read the cover letter, resume, and essays.

Message: Don’t take things for granted. An application has to be consistently good. You don’t know what the adcoms are going to pick up first or what they’ll end with.

Also, coach your recommenders. Educate them as to why you are applying so they can do a better job. What makes an applicant come alive for you through his or her application?

RG: We had one international applicant who had graduated from a liberal arts U.S. college and was working as an analyst for a large corporation. He left his job and went back to his under-developed home country to work in a social enterprise entity. That entity combined his hobby, his passion for helping the poor make a living, and his knowledge of business. Then he applied to Sloan, and he stood out by virtue of his initiative and entrepreneurship, and willingness to take a well-analyzed risk, pursue his hobby, do something he loves, and help the poor. His passion, energy, and commitment really stood out.

People need to follow their passion. This guy did, and got in. What is a real turn-off in an application or in applicant behavior?

RG: Turn-off in applications: People recycling essays from other schools, especially when they haven’t proofed their essays and you see other schools’ names. It’s just laziness.

Also, a lot of people don’t know how to write letters—no date, no address, no closing. They don’t know how to use a professional format. Career development folks say such details still count.

Turn-off in behavior: Some applicants are very rude on the phone or they’re discourteous to secretaries or receptionists. That is unacceptable behavior. They don’t seem to be aware. What is the one program at MIT that you wish more people knew about?

RG: I wish they knew more about the work we’re doing in distributed leadership, especially the work of Deborah Ancona. She’s the head of MIT’s Leadership Center. For example, today we hosted 30 students from Norway, part of a BU program. Someone asked about teams—what kinds of people should you seek on a team? Deborah Ancona teaches that there are four key areas of leadership: visioning, relating, sense making, and inventing. If you are strong in one area, you want team members who are strong in the areas that you are weak in. Distributed leadership implies that leadership is important at all levels, not just for the person on top. In fact, the success of the person on top is built on the successes of people on the bottom and everywhere in between.

People load up on courses in finance, econ, and strategy while pursuing the MBA. They leave and move up the corporate ladder. Then they realize they didn’t take any soft courses. I hear constantly from the alumni who wish they had taken the soft management courses like leadership, negotiation, etc. What is the one attribute of the MIT Sloan community that people tend to appreciate only after they arrive?

RG: The down–to-earth nature of the student body, the faculty, and the deans. People are really surprised by that when they come here. People are generally a little intimidated by MIT, but it is really a very friendly place. I remember walking down the street, and saw someone ask a faculty member for directions. If only the asker had known that the person he had stopped was a Nobel Prize winner…. People at MIT take the time to help. I know that once someone visits, they will choose to attend if accepted. 

Interested in more information about MIT Sloan, check out Accepted’s MIT Sloan Bschool Zone.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Being a bridesmaid is not an extracurricular activity and giving blood once a year is not a volunteer activity…

…and surfing the Web is not a hobby. Be careful about the impression that activities like this will make on members of the admissions committee. They are looking for substantial, quality experiences that tell them something about who you are and the things that you are passionate about. The activities that you list should reflect your interests and serve as a possible indicator of how committed you are to service work, how well you work with others, and how well you manage your time. 

If you consider giving blood once a year a volunteer activity, then you had better get out there and get some additional volunteer experiences. Although this is a good start, it really does not say enough about your dedication to serving others and your drive to be a physician. It is viewed as “the right thing to do” but is not going to be enough to prove your dedication to serving others. 

 This post is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.

Interview with ACTprep

We have a guest in today’s post. Rebecca Masinter, head of an innovative online approach to ACT Test prep, answers a few questions to help those of you taking the ACT, especially the science ACT. What is the main difference between the science ACT and the subject SAT exams in the sciences?

Rebecca Masinter: There are two main differences between the ACT and SAT science subject exams.  The first is simply how colleges use them.  The ACT or SAT I is required for college admissions at most colleges while SAT II subject tests are optional at many colleges and are often used for academic course placement.

The second main difference between them is that SAT II science tests measure a student’s scientific knowledge in a specific subject while the ACT science test measures scientific reasoning and data interpretation.  This means that the ACT science does not test or reflect a student’s scientific knowledge but a skill set that allows them to effectively interpret graphs and experiments in a short time period.  Since the test requires applied scientific reasoning instead of scientific knowledge, many students who excel in their science courses are shocked by their low ACT science scores.  This distinction also explains why effective tutoring can raise students’ scores on the science ACT with less preparation than subject tests require. What is the biggest challenge in the ACT as a whole and the science ACT in particular?

Rebecca Masinter: For many students, completing the ACT test within the allotted time period is a big challenge.  Timing difficulties are compounded on the science ACT test as each of the seven passages presents scientific information unfamiliar to most students, (the test includes data from all branches of science and is not correlated to a high school curriculum).  Unless students have a method to move through the data quickly, they will find themselves without enough time to finish the ACT science test. What do you feel is particularly effective in preparing for the ACT as a whole and the science section of the ACT in particular?

Rebecca Masinter: All students should take a practice ACT early on to determine their weakest subject area so they know where to direct their energy.  Our approach is to focus on the science section because it is the lowest scoring section for many students and, in our experience, the easiest section to raise ACT scores significantly by applying specific techniques.  The skills and confidence students gain while preparing for the most intimidating section will carry over to other ACT tests as well.  After students have learned the strategies to master the test, they should practice diligently until the techniques are deeply ingrained so that even under the stress of a timed test, they will be able to apply them effortlessly. What is the focus of’s videos and webinars?

Rebecca Masinter:’s videos and webinars are designed to boost students’ scores on the science portion of the ACT test, in the shortest amount of time at a reasonable price.  The webinars (web based seminars) consist of an introductory four hour course that can be combined with an additional three hours of practice using sample ACT passages.  (The supplementary practice webinar can also be used on its own as a review or reinforcement for students already familiar with ACTPrep’s method.)  The webinars are taught live over the internet allowing students to interact with a tutor by asking questions and solving problems in the website’s virtual classroom.  The videos on-demand are a lower priced alternative to the live classes.  The videos teach the same strategies but without student interaction and using fewer examples.  The website will shortly have additional practice passages and review sessions available in video format in order to provide even more practice for students. provides live online tutoring and pre-recorded videos to prepare students for the ACT.  The company’s initial courses are focused exclusively on the science section of the ACT, but will eventually cover all subjects of the test.  ACTPrep leverages the efficiency of the Internet to provide students across the country with direct access to experienced teachers and a proven methodology at competitive rates. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

CMU Tepper 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.


CMU Tepper 2011 MBA Essay Questions

This CMU Tepper 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at My tips for answering Tepper‘s essay questions are in blue below.

A. What are your short term and long term goals? How will a Tepper MBA help you achieve these goals? (Please include any information regarding what steps you have taken to learn more about Tepper.)

Straight-forward goals question. What do you want to do immediately after earning your MBA? What do you want to do 5-10 years down the road? Yes your longer term goals can be fuzzier, but you should be able to show clear direction. Then discuss how Tepper’s program (not ranking, reputation, or other generalities that apply to all top programs) will help you achieve your goals.

As you do your research, attend info sessions, and visit campuses, look for the distinctive pieces to any MBA program that appeal to you. Then use that data to demonstrate how well you know the program and what a great fit you are for the given school.

Regarding CMU, you may want to refer to its mini-semester structure or its MBA tracks and cross-campus curriculum . Explain how any or all of these elements will help you achieve your goal. If Tepper professors are prominent in your area of interest, discuss how their research jives with your professional interests. Your ability to connect these details and your goals contributes to a stellar goals essay.

B. The Tepper School’s culture relies on all members to be active contributors to our community. With your values, experiences, and interests, how will you make a unique contribution to the Tepper community? Your examples may include: classroom interaction, student activities, career development, community service, etc.

Show how you have contributed actively in the past to your team at work or on the field, to your community, club, class, or church. Did your suggestion enable the team to finish the project on time? Did you inspire and unite your teammates and lead them to unprecedented victory in college? Then, how will the qualities, values, and interests you developed or utilized during this experience enable you to contribute to Tepper’s community?

C. Please answer two of the following three questions or statements. Please clearly specify which questions you are answering. Your two answers should equal a total of two pages or less.
1. Describe an obstacle you have faced in your professional or academic life. How did you overcome this obstacle and how did it foster your development? 

2. Describe a time in which your ethics were challenged. How did you deal with the situation and what did you learn from it?

3. One thing people would be surprised to know about me is . . .

Choose the two questions that will best allow you to present yourself while complementing the required questions. You want each essay to present a different perspective on you and your talents. For more on this, please see “MBA Essays: You’ve Got Options!”

D. Is there anything additional that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? Note: If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application.Note: You must complete this essay if you answered ‘yes’ to either of the ‘additional information’ questions above.

Use this optional essay, or lose a great opportunity to provide even more reasons for Tepper to admit you.

If you would like help with your CMU Tepper MBA application, please consider’s MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or a CMU Tepper School Package.

CMU Tepper 2011 MBA Deadlines

App Submitted By: Notification:
Oct 25, 2010 Dec 20, 2010
Jan 3, 2011 Mar 14, 2011
Mar 7, 2011 April 29, 2011
Apr 25, 2011* May 27, 2011
Jun 1, 2011** Rolling


* The April 25th deadline is reserved for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as all Flextime and Flexmode applicants.

** Reserved for FlexTime and FlexMode applicants

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of