Michelle: My Love/Hate Relationship with the New HBS Essay

Blogger MichelleLet’s talk about the HBS essay, or lack thereof. I’m still trying to decide if I love it or hate it, but it’s definitely different. For those of you that follow Dee Leopold’s blog, you probably already know what I’m talking about.

Harvard switched things up last year by chopping the essay count down to two, and simply asking for a story of something you’ve done well and something you wish you did better. On all of the online forums, people seemed to freak out about that change. This year, they’ve continued to go wild. We’re now dealing with one optional essay that can be about absolutely anything. There’s no suggested topic or word limit. An applicant could, theoretically, get into Harvard without writing a single essay (although I suspect that in reality very few people will opt out).

Anyway, my gut reaction is that this change is actually going to be beneficial for me. I’m a non-traditional applicant with a fairly unique background and set of goals. So, this is my chance to show the adcom what makes me different from the other 9,000 applicants and how my diversity can contribute to the HBS Class of 2016. Without the typical restrictions, I can truly highlight what’s special about me.

Granted, since we still have 3 months before the app is due and I don’t yet feel the pressure to come up with a brilliant topic, I can say all of this without freaking out.

My opinion may change once I start drafting the essay…

Michelle will be blogging about her application whirlwind from start to potential HBS meltdown to acceptance. Follow her journey right here.

My Personal Essay: A Big Story or a Small Story?