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UMichigan’s Ross School of Business Revises Essay Portion of Application

In a post yesterday to the Ross Admissions Blog, Director of Admissions Soojin Kwon shared the school’s planned changes to the essay portion of the application and the rationale behind them. Applicants for fall 2014 will find that one of the essays from last year has been adjusted, one has been eliminated and the others have remained the same. They will also find that they have 450 words fewer overall with which to answer the essays.

“Before we jump into the next admissions cycle, our team takes some time to reflect on how our application process worked for the past year and where we can make improvements,” Kwon wrote, noting that the process includes gathering feedback from application readers, student and alumni interviewers and even admitted students who decide to enroll elsewhere. Kwon’s team also confers with colleagues in Career Services, Academic Services and the MBA program itself to make sure the application is designed to best identify potential star students.

Revisions to the essay questions mean that Ross will no longer ask prospective applicants to share what they are most passionate about. “We enjoyed reading those essays, but unfortunately the responses just didn’t help us to differentiate candidates very well,” Kwon explained.

Two questions from last year remain the same, one that asks applicants to describe themselves to their future Ross classmates and another that asks them to share a time in their career when they were frustrated or disappointed.

Perhaps the biggest change is a new three-part question in which applicants will have 150 words each to answer why business school, why Ross and what career they plan to pursue after business school and why. “Essay 2 is thematically similar to last year’s essay, but we broke it up into three parts with the hope that it’ll help applicants be more focused in their responses,” Kwon noted.

Finally, applicants will still have an optional essay where they can discuss anything they haven’t shared elsewhere in the application, but in lieu of 500 words, they will now be limited to 300 words for this purpose.

“Overall, our total maximum word count has been reduced by 450 words, and hopefully you’ll be able to use that found time to craft the most compelling essays possible,” Kwon concluded.

In shortening the essay portion of the application, Ross joins a growing list of top schools that have revised their applications to include fewer essays overall and limit responses to fewer words. Others include MIT Sloan School of Management, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UC Berkeley’s Haas School and Spain’s IESE, just to name a few.

Read Kwon’s full post, including all of the Ross essay questions for fall 2014, here.