One question we get a lot is “How do I shorten my business school application essays?”
With the trend towards shorter and shorter essays, business schools want concise and crisp answers. It is important not only for you to follow the word count limit, but also for you to effectively get your point across. So, how do you do just that?
Here are four ways to shorten your essays.
Take out adverbs
In school, you are taught to use adverbs to qualify or heighten the word you are describing (for instance, these are words like “highly” or “incredibly”). However, when it comes to writing condensed application responses, using adverbs just adds unnecessary words. Many adverbs end with –“ly.” As a result, as you review your essays and work towards cutting them down, consider removing the “-ly” words – for example, words like “really”, “completely”, “very”, “vastly” and “absolutely” do not add to your response.
Delete filler verbs
As an example, the verbs “to be” and “I am” are redundant, and you can save word count by cutting these out. For instance, “I am a great cook” is a more verbose way of saying “I cook well.” Here is another example: “She will be in third grade” vs. “She is a third grader.” Comb through your essays to see if you can delete filler verbs to reduce word count.
Use the active voice
Using the active voice will be more direct and to the point as well as less wordy; it will also help to make your essays more dynamic. In addition, it makes it easier for admissions officers to read your responses. For example, “A meal is going to be cooked by us tonight” is in the passive voice. “We will cook dinner” is in the active voice. Can you see the difference?
Remove filler words
Cut out words that are repetitive or don’t add to your response. For example, phrases – such as those in commas – can usually be cut out or shortened. Read your response with the phrase and without the phrase. Does it make a difference to your response to exclude the phrase? Is there a way to shorten the phrase or eliminate it altogether? Do you really need it? If you are still in double mind, get the opinion of a friend or family member; they are more removed from your work and can likely give you a more objective viewpoint.
Remember, business schools are looking for brevity. To that end, you should be able to cut down the number of words without losing the essence of your response. We know it can be tough, but this is one challenge that will benefit you not only in your MBA admissions journey but also beyond.
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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