But isn’t it a bad idea to point out my application’s weaknesses? you may be wondering. Actually, it’s the opposite: Pointing out your application’s weaknesses, what you learned from your experiences, and what you’re doing about it turns your weaknesses into strengths. Think about it this way: You’re looking to buy a house. You go and view a house that you really like from the listing and as the realtor is showing you around, you realize the realtor has never shown you a bathroom. The realtor doesn’t say anything about the teeny tiny bathroom because he doesn’t want to point out the weakness in the house. Finally, you ask the realtor to see the bathroom, and he reluctantly shows it to you. At this point, you are disappointed (and maybe even slightly annoyed that you had to be the one to bring it up), and you’re just ready to get out of there. The realtor missed an opportunity to influence your perception of that teeny tiny bathroom. Instead of a too small bathroom, he could have emphasized how the small bathroom allows you to have a huge walk-in closet. Or he could have called the bathroom a cozy French-style water closet. Anything would be better than just ignoring it! Now, that wasn’t the best analogy but the point is that the admissions committee is going to notice about any weakness that your application has and pretending that it doesn’t exist isn’t the best way to go.
Here’s how to turn your optional essay into an asset to your application:1. Point out the weaknesses in your application. Here are some common culprits:
- GPA below 3.6
- GMAT score below 680
- C’s, D’s, F’s, or W’s on your undergraduate transcript
- disruptive family incident (death, illness, etc.)
- personal crisis
- lack of maturity
- overzealousness to join extracurricular activities
- working long hours while going to school
- To whom did you reach out for help?
- What did you decide to change or do differently?
- Did you learn better time management?
- Did you learn more about your boundaries and capabilities?
- Did you gain a key insight about your strengths and/or weaknesses?
- What personal resources will you use to address the situation if you find yourself in a similar predicament?
- What academic resources will you use?
- What other resources will you use?