Here are a few pieces of advice on how to approach the application process:
1) Treat your application as a process of self-discovery.
You should know more about yourself after you complete our application than you did before you started it. Be open to this aspect of the process. If you approach the application with a spirit of discovery and introspection, you will get much more out of it.
2) Stay true to yourself.
Don’t try to be someone you aren’t just to get an advantage in the application process. Schools are not looking for any one profile, so trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t exist is futile. And your application will be stronger—clearer, more confident, more connected among its various elements—when it reflects who you really are rather than the person you think a particular school is looking for. Trust yourself, and trust the process.
3) Pay attention to what schools are asking of you.
Each school will ask you different (sometimes only slightly different) questions in their applications. Be sure to answer the school’s specific questions, rather than try to make your response to one school’s question “fit” into another school’s application. This advice is really a corollary of points one and two above—you need to invest in the process and approach it with sincerity if you want to yield positive results.
One aspect of point three that is of particular relevance is of course the essay question. Each school has at least one, and they tend to be roughly similar, but also different in key ways. Our essay question, for example, asks you to “describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.” It can be tempting to answer this question by trying to adapt your response to another school’s question, and that would certainly be a quicker approach, but it will result in a less effective essay that does not do justice to the application process. As I noted in a blog post announcing the essay question, we are looking for you to tell us about the behaviors that demonstrate this commitment—something that you may not address in another school’s essay, but that we care about quite a bit. So know what the schools are asking of you and treat each school’s application on its own terms.
I hope this advice offers a useful approach to thinking about the application process. You can get more specifics on Thursday, December 7, when our admissions officers host a live online Application Tips Panel. It will cover the various elements of the Yale SOM application and offer advice on how to address each of them. In addition, beginning this year we have embedded application tips into the application itself, so that you can get them in real time as you prepare your application. We hope that all of these resources allow you to present your best self to the Yale SOM Admissions Committee. Best of luck!
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center