The Dean Talks Essays
Happy Friday! What’s everyone doing this weekend? Binge watching Homeland? Catching up on sleep? Working on some early applications?
I just looked at my calendar and realized that for all of you early applicants out there, this is the last full weekend to work on your applications before next Saturday’s November 1 deadline. (I’m sure that your parents and counselors may have subtly reminded you the same thing). I don’t say this to incite panic (though I may have gotten a little queasy with the realization that Application Reading Season is officially here)-instead it’s a chance to think back to all the work you have done to get to this point. Countless college visits spent listening to exuberant tour guides talk about Harry Potter and blue lights, meetings with teachers and counselors, deadline checklists, SATs..it’s almost all behind you. Now it’s time to finish this.
If I had to guess, I would say that the last piece many of you will be working on over the next 48 hours are essays, particularly the Supplement. While I have always found the “supp” to be the most personal part of the application, it doesn’t mean it’s the easiest. While I am sure that you have had more than enough advice on crafting the perfect essay up to this point, I thought I would offer up one last hint on how to tackle the Babson Writing Supplement.
First, let me tell you what I see as the difference between the Personal Statement and the Writing Supplement. The Personal Statement is meant to learn more about you, to get your story and make sure that the admission committee can get an idea of what you may contribute to a school. Since you will likely use it for more than one school, it’s typically written in a “one size fits all” style that can apply to many different institutions.
Now the Writing Supplement. When we ask you “to define yourself and tell us about what about Babson excites you?” we are simply looking for an answer to the questions “Why Business? Why Babson?” When did you realize that the thought of entrepreneurship made your pulse race? What is it about Babson that makes you want to spend four years learning about finance, marketing, social entrepreneurship or the multitude of other paths to business pursued by our students? Did you meet a student who talked about their FME business? Do you want to be able to learn a foreign language or study history as part of your business degree? Did you read a blog featuring a really cool business started by a Babson alum that got you thinking that that’s exactly what you wanted to do someday?
The biggest mistake I have seen prospective applicants make is to approach a Supplement as just another essay that can be applied to any school. I call these the horoscope essays, as they remind me of when I would check to see what me and thousands of other Capricorns needed to watch for that day. They usually start with a sentence like “I want a school that has a campus, but is near a city with great professors and plenty of clubs..oh and study abroad so that I can go to Australia.” These are all great reasons to apply to a school, but saying nothing about *why* you are applying to Babson in particular.
So as the countdown clock to November 1 runs down, take a look at your Writing Supplement. Did you answer the question? If I were to ask you today “Why Business? Why Babson?” would you have a good answer that applies only to one school? If so, then you’re on the right track. If you still need inspiration, we’ve put together a page of essays from the Class of 2018. You’ve got this.