HBS has announced a new essay-optional application. But according to Businessweek, this “optional” question will be optional in name only. In other words, if you’re applying to Harvard, you’d be silly to pass on this singular opportunity to give Harvard more reasons to admit you.
To add to the buzz this radical step is generating, the question has no word limit and is a fairly open one:
“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”
According to Accepted’s very own Linda Abraham (who is quoted in Businessweek), “It would be a big mistake to say, ‘This is how this essay should be written,’ It should be personal. I’ve consistently said Stanford’s ‘What matters most to you and why’ is the toughest question. I think this may replace it.”
Linda is also quoted in a recent Poets & Quants article with the following: “The biggest impact will not be on the admissions consulting business. It will be on HBS application volume. Harvard is making the app easier and easier, and more applicants will say, ‘Heck, just one more essay, I don’t need a third recommender. I’ll give it a shot.’ It’s great for application volume.
“For our business,” Linda continues in the P&Q article, “there will be less editing-only for HBS, but more consulting on what to include. I also suspect that those essays will be longer than either one of the essays last year, but shorter than the two essays combined. A well-written essay still needs to be concise, and it’s harder to write concisely than verbosely.”
For more info, please see our recent blog post, Harvard Business School: There is Only ONE Essay Question.