If you face multiple essay questions on an application, how are you going to choose which one(s) you should answer and which one(s) you should skip? What factors should you consider when choosing the best essays for you?
Appreciate Your Options!
First, options are good! But they do force you to think (a task we’re not always so excited to do). If a school makes you choose one out of three or three out of four questions to answer – how do you know which one(s) to pick?
You want to choose the questions that allow you to portray yourself at your best – to present your most impressive qualifications and talents, and to demonstrate to the adcom that you’re top applicant material.
How to Choose the Best Questions
Here are two tips for selecting the questions that will help you best portray yourself:
• Think complimentary AND complementary
Choose topics that complement the other topics that you have discussed (or will discuss if you haven’t written any yet), and that complement the information you’ve provided in other parts of your application (like your resume/CV, letters of rec, transcript, etc.). For example, your resume presents your work history, but can’t go into any depth. Your essays can go into depth and can discuss experiences in greater detail, as well as non-professional experiences that didn’t make it into your resume.
• Write what you’re comfortable writing about
If you feel uncomfortable writing about a certain topic (like if a question asks about your career vision, and your career goals are still fuzzy), then that’s another reason to choose (or not choose) one question over another.
In short, figure out what you would like the admissions board to know about you, and then choose essays that will do the job and minimize repetition.
You’ve got options – and opportunity!