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
2. Clearly and concisely explain why the problem occurred. Here are some common reasons:
- disruptive family incident (death, illness, etc.)
- personal crisis
- lack of maturity
- overzealousness to join extracurricular activities
- working long hours while going to school
3. Explain what you did to address the situation.
- To whom did you reach out for help?
- What did you decide to change or do differently?
4. Explain what you learned from the situation.
- 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?
5. Explain why you are now better prepared in case something like this ever happens again.
- 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?
6. End on a positive note reemphasizing your enthusiasm to attend the school. And that’s how you write an optional essay that turns your apparent weaknesses into strengths. Go above and beyond and write the optional essay if you have any part of your application that you are worried about. Keep the tone positive, proactive, confident, and humble and you’ll be well on your way to an optional essay that works.