Should College Essays Be Justified

Many of you have started work on your essays so we wanted to share the top 8 mistakes applicants make on their essays:

1. Not making Essay B specific to the GSB.
2. Choosing a topic for Essay 3A, B, C, or D that is NOT within 3 years.
3. Combining your 2 essay C's into 1 essay.
4. Cutting and pasting your essays from essays you've written for other schools. You risk not answering the question we're asking...and big risk of leaving the name of the other school in your Stanford essay!
5. Writing what you think we want to hear, instead of what you genuinely want us to know about you. Be yourself...corny but true!
6. Single-spacing your essays. Please double space--our readers are reading hundreds of applications.
7. Using too small of a font on your essays. Please use 12-point font. Remember, our readers' eyes!
8. Using an alternate font for essays. Use one of the recommended fonts: Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman to avoid legibility problems when your essays are downloaded on our end.

For more information about the essay questions for the class entering fall 2011 visit Essays

Good luck with your essays,
Allison Davis
Associate Director of MBA Admissions

Finding the Right Tone in Your College Essay

What do people mean when they talk about the ‘tone’ of writing? They’re talking about the attitude that is expressed, whether direct or implied. All writing has a tone. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to this aspect of your college essay and let your college essay help you convey a positive tone that demonstrates respect for the reader. While it is fine to include stories or anecdotes about less positive aspects of your personal, work, or academic experience, you will need to make sure that you are still maintaining a positive tone in your writing.

Although tone can seem like one of the more obscure aspects of writing, it is actually one of the most mundane. Every piece of communication has tone, and it helps us add meaning to our message. In fact, people use this all the time in our verbal communications to one another without any trouble at all. “You got it!” means something very different than “You got it?” The only technical difference between these two sentences is punctuation. However, nobody would be confused by these. They mean two completely different things. Why? Tone.

The Right Tone Lets Your College Essay Help You Be Viewed In a Positive Light

By ensuring that your college essay has the right tone, you send the message to the admissions committee that you are a positive individual. Even if you specifically asked to write about something such as a dilemma you have faced or a mistake that you have made in the past, tone can make the difference between an effective college essay and one that leaves the wrong impression on the admissions officers. Admissions officers want to see the best you have to offer in your college essay. Help them do this by using the right tone.

There is only one acceptable tone for a college essay: positive.This is not to say that your college essay should reflect obliviousness to the world around you, but it should show you as someone who has a positive view of themselves and the future. Writing about a negative situation does not justify taking a negative tone. Never blame others or the situation itself. Always show yourself taking responsibility. Most of all, demonstrate that you have learned and grown from all your experiences. Programs are seeking candidates who can gain from their experiences and integrate those experiences to reach new heights. For this reason, in your college essay help the admissions officers see you as someone who accomplished this in the past and can continue to do so in the future.

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