Friday, November 14, 2003

Stanford Applicants: Check out this posting from Derrick Bolton (Stanford's Director of Admissions) on Wharton's Student to Student Message Boards. It offers some insight to the whole "what happens after I submit my application" process as well as his take on what some have dubbed as "the dreaded essay A" (What matters most to you and why?).

Writing essay A has actually been my favorite part of the application process. I truly wrote about what mattered to me, and exposed my soul on paper. I didn't focus on what I thought the Adcoms wanted to hear. I think its sooo important to be true to self to ensure you get into a school where you fit. One of the major reasons to go to business school (for me at least) is the experience, and who wants to spend two years where they don't fit in? The scary thing about presenting yourself to the Adcoms is that you are totally vulnerable. You're basically saying, "Here I am. Do you like me?" So the anxiety you feel when doing this is reminiscent of anxieties you had in junior high about being accepted by your peers. It's terrifying to be yourself when you don't know if who you are is acceptable and good enough to be a part of something you really want to be part of.

I particularly liked what Derrick had to say about how to handle "Submission Anxiety."

"I went through this process not so long ago, and I think I know how you're feeling now. This process can feel all-consuming. It's ironic, but after completing applications that ask you to think about who you are and who you want to be, many applicants still lose perspective in this process. I'm pretty sure that I did. Remember, when/if you wrote your Essay A for Stanford, you probably didn't say the thing that matters most to you is getting into the GSB. So I ask you to take a step back and remember that there's a lot going on in the world that doesn't concern business school. Please relax. Things will work out.

"You will have to accept that there are many factors in the admission process that are out of your control. You shouldn't waste your energy or time worrying about those things. The interview is one of them. The applicant pool - quantity and quality - is another. Focus your efforts in the admission process on the things that you can control: you have complete control over your essays and, to a lesser extent, your academic credentials and letters of reference. That's just my perspective, but I wish somebody had told me that when I was sitting where you sit now" - Derrick Bolton, Director of Stanford MBA Admissions.

Makes you feel a little better, right?

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