If you are reading this, you are probably now – or will soon be – editing your application essays and personal statements for business school. When Accepted consultants review and edit MBA application essays, they go through a process called the editing funnel. When you edit your own essays, you should follow a similar process.
Here’s how it works…
1. Start with the Big Picture (Top of the Funnel)
At the top of the funnel you evaluate your essay in the context of the application. Does it contribute to the reader’s overall knowledge of you? Does it introduce the reader to a dimension not revealed in the boxes, numbers, and transcripts? If you are submitting more than one essay in your application, does each one contribute something new to the bigger picture?
2. Then Begin to Narrow Your Focus (Middle of the Funnel)
Going deeper into the funnel, your focus should narrow to the individual essays. Check that each essay has a clear theme and logical structure. Do you support the theme with clear examples? Are you infusing the essay with the details necessary to bring it to life and make it as readable and persuasive as possible?
As you go through this iterative process, make sure that your essay addresses the question(s) posed. The easiest way to double check that you are going in the right direction is to paste the question at the top of the essay. Refer back to it OFTEN. You would be surprised how easy it is to get sidetracked.
Once you have completed this step, you should recruit a friend, family member, or an objective third party to review the essay for you. Don’t have them do a grammar check yet – just ask them to ensure that you are in fact answering the questions asked and that the essay is engaging to the reader.
3. Move to the Nitty-Gritty (Bottom of the Funnel)
At the narrowest part of the funnel, check writing mechanics: clarity, grammar, style, word usage, spelling, punctuation, and all the nitty-gritty details of writing. You may be a little bleary-eyed at this point and almost unable to view the essay objectively. To restore a little objectivity, put the draft away, preferably for a couple of days; if you don’t have that much time, then wait at least a couple of hours. When proofing your essay, read it out loud. Doing so will slow you down and allow your ear to catch some of the little errors that your eye may miss.
As you reach the end of the funnel process, it is appropriate to re-engage with your chosen essay reader so they can do a final proof of your essay as well.
If you want professional editing that saves you time and guides your essay through the editing funnel while maintaining your voice, check out Accepted’s professional MBA application essay editing services.
Linda Abraham is the founder ofAccepted, the premier admissions consultancy. She has coached MBA applicants to acceptance for over 20 years. The Wall Street Journal, US News, and Poets & Quants are among the media outlets that seek her admissions expertise
You've chosen your target schools and you've done your school research; now it's time to sit down and tackle those essays. To some degree, what you write about will represent who you are to the adcoms, which is why it's critical that you put your best foot forward in your MBA application essays.
The following resources will help you create clear, vibrant, and compelling essays that highlight your strengths, convey your skills, and convince the admissions readers that you are a person worthy of a seat in the next top b-school class. The writing techniques discussed in these resources are tried and true—follow these professional tips to create an application essay that will quickly secure its spot at the top of the admissions committee's pile.
School Specific MBA Essay Tips
- MBA Essay Tips for Top Business Schools
- Executive MBA Essay Tips for Top EMBA Programs
Common MBA Essay Topics
- Leadership in Admissions, a free guide
- Why MBA, a free guide
- Audio & Video in Admissions, a free guide
- Stand Out! A Critical Goal for Your Application, a podcast episode
- Different Dimensions of Diversity, a podcast episode
- Writing the Diversity Personal Statement, a short video
- Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them, a short video
- How to Demonstrate Leadership When You Don’t Have Leadership Experience, a short video
- Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays, a short video
- Approaching Short Essays
- Short and Sweet: Tips for Writing “Mini” MBA Essays
- MBA Essays That Earn an Automatic Rejection
- Those Creative Essays…
- Creativity Lessons from Pogue’s Wedding
- How Do You Deal with Criticism? MBA Admissions Committees Want to Know
- The Importance of Obstacles in Your Application Essays
- How to Write about Overcoming Challenges without Sounding like a Whiner
- What is Fit?
- Writing About Your Experiences Abroad
- How to Display Teamwork in MBA Essays
- What is an Accomplishment?
- 4 Things To Do If You Can’t Define Your MBA Goals
- Add Detail to Your Social Enterprise/Community Service Goals
- 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future
- MBA Admissions: Does Extracurricular Equal Extra Credit?
- Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!
- MBA Essays: You've Got Options!
- When the MBA Optional Essay is No Longer Optional
- Approaching the "Wild Card" Essay Questions
- 3 Tips for Showing Strengths in Your Application Essays
General MBA Essay Guidance
- 5 Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in Your MBA Application, a free guide
- Twelve Terrific Tips for MBA Applicants, a free guide
- From Example to Exemplary, a free guide
- 5 Ways to Make B-Schools LOVE You, a free webinar
- Roadmap to Bold and Brilliant Essays, a free webinar
- Essays that Stick, a free webinar
- 3 Valuable Lessons from Sample MBA Essays, a short video
- Choosing Topics for the B-School Essay
- 6 Tips for Answering MBA Video Essay Questions
- 5 Steps to Becoming Your Target B-School’s Valentine
- Solving the Puzzle
- Recipe for Disaster
- Do's and Don'ts
- Steve Jobs: 4 Lessons for MBA Applicants
- Making Your MBA Essays Do "Double Duty"
- Application Essays: A Balancing Act
- Essay Writing Tips from Genghis Khan
- What Should I Write About? Making a Difference
- Write Positive for Power and Clarity
- 4 Application Strategy Tips: Stand Out AND Fit In
- 4 Qualities Top MBA Programs Seek
- Generic-itis Prevention
- I’m About to Make Your Day…
- Being Yourself
- I'm Smart, Really I Am! How to Prove Character Traits in Essays
- Five Keys to Concreteness
- How to Give Your Application as Much Weight as Possible
- What is Passion in Admissions?
- How Personal is Too Personal?
- 4 Tips for Demonstrating Professional Growth in a Flat Organization