Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Why would your peers select you to become a member of the Kellogg community? (600 word limit)
That’s Kellogg’s Essay 3 this year. It’s the resurrection of an earlier essay, and one that effectively replaces the “How would you contribute to Kellogg” essay from years past. Note also that Kellogg has (finally) stipulated word counts, rather than those ambiguous spacing and page limits, which often prompted my clients to ask me if it was okay to use 1.5 spacing and 9-point font to fit in their 1200-word essays (it wasn’t).
So how should you handle this one?
First, consider that there’s no more Contributions essay, so this essay pulls naturally for information on how you will enhance Kellogg’s community. Don’t brush that off. Second, as always, approach it with a nice, clean structure and rich specifics.
Structure: You have some options here. One would be to talk about the specific areas in which the admissions committee member can see your contributions: your unique and relevant professional experience, your leadership at work and beyond, your deep experience with community service. And so on. But perhaps an even more effective structure would mirror the one I advise my clients to use in answering the “How can you contribute?” question when it comes up in interviews: discuss how you would be a highly valuable member of the Kellogg community inside and outside the classroom. Let’s use that one to talk about specifics.
Specifics: So you’ve laid out a structure with something like this: “A student member of Kellogg’s admissions committee would hopefully perceive the many ways I could contribute to the school’s community both inside and outside the classroom.” Now fill it in with rich specifics. The “inside the classroom” part is arguably less important here, as you’ve already discussed work experience briefly in the Goals essay and, frankly, because Kellogg can fill its class many times over with individuals with great scores, grades, and professional experience. But talk briefly about your unique functional and leadership experience at work—the super complex financial models you developed, the high-profile HR taskforce you were selected for, the analyst group you led on a key marketing initiative. And link those to a few specific Kellogg classes and/or team assignments. Then move on to the “outside the classroom” part. Here there are several potential areas to emphasize: social enterprise, cultural groups, travel, hobbies, sports. Talk about specific achievements (especially leadership) within this and, as with the earlier part, link them to specific Kellogg activities. Will your time spent with the Peace Corps in South America help you lead a GIM trip to Brazil? Sure it will. Will your experience establishing a soup kitchen be relevant to leading Net Impact? Sure it will. Will the six triathlons you’ve completed help you start a Kellogg Triathlon Club? Not a chance. I mean, sure it will. You get the idea.
I hope this makes clear that the new (old) Kellogg essay is more or less a “How will you contribute” question in new (old) clothing. They want to know if you’ll be a dynamic, involved, unique contributor to Kellogg’s all-important student community. Show them that’s exactly what you’ll be. My fellow editors and I would be happy to help.