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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Stripping Down Barriers to Business School Admission
As the Wall Street Journal puts it in a headline this week "Applying to Harvard Business School Gets Easier". The article goes on to remind us that of over 9,000 applicants, Harvard accepts around 1,000. I suppose easy is relative.

What is happening--for the second year in a row-is that Harvard is shaving off some additional essay requirements. Business schools are famous for mandating a litany of personal statements, with often highly specific prompts.

Last year, Harvard cut the number of essays required from four to two. They added a "reflection" statement, but only for students who made it past the first round of interviews. This year, they are eliminating a recommendation letter requirement and chopping the essays down to a single one. There's some sense that the single essay won't actually be a requirement.

Business schools have been at the forefront in embracing new technology. Over the past few years, MBA programs have begun accepting tweets, videos and websites in lieu of essays.

The personal statement is designed to help the university get to know its prospective student. Using other mediums to make that introduction may be changing the face of the personal statement as we know it.

These changes tend to trickle down from schools like Harvard-ones that have the reputation and the wealth to shape new approaches to admissions. Ultimately, fewer essays may be a money and time saver for universities, but the elimination of essays may open up doors to more innovative mechanisms for weeding through applicants.

So is it actually any easier to get in? Probably not. But there may be less writing involved.


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