UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Blog

Admissions Tip #1 – The Essays

November 27, 2012 By Kelly Lynch

Our second deadline is fast approaching on December 7th and we wanted to give you a few tips to put the finishing touches on your application – starting with your essay.  We know these can put a lot of stress on you as an applicant as you figure out what to say and how to say it.  So, we wanted to try and put you at ease with a few pieces of advice; straight from our admissions team:

  1. Tell your story:  A compelling, dynamic essay is always much more memorable than staccato, anecdote-free one.  We read thousands of essays each year, and it’s much easier for us to forget one that merely adds words to the bullet points on your resume.  Tell us a story that compliments the point you are trying to make.  It is much more plausible for us to connect with you in your essay if we can connect the dots via a personal story about why you want to come to Kenan-Flagler and how your past experiences distinguish you.
  2. Proofread, proofread, proofread: Though we are sure you’ve been told numerous times not to create a generic essay and simply change the school name… Do not create a generic essay and simply change the school name.  I cannot tell you how many times we have read essays saying how “not UNC Kenan-Flagler” school is the perfect fit for someone.  Woops.  Also, even if you think you have read your essays enough times to check for spelling and grammatical errors, read them again.  Punctuation errors are incredibly easy to make, but incredibly easy to fix, so make sure there aren’t any in your essays!  Finally, UNC’s business school is Kenan-Flagler.  Make note.
  3. Be yourself:  Though the best time to show us who you are is in the interview, don’t let that stop you from being yourself in the essays.  We want to read the essay and feel like you are talking to us, not a computer, so try to write it that way.  If, however, your voice feels like making the essay longer than the stated maximum, (either 500 words or 300 words), reel it in.  We have the maximums listed for a reason, so don’t ignore that and think, “oh, a few words over won’t matter.”  Stick to what’s listed or below.


This is the first in a mini-series of tips from our admission’s office.   Be on the lookout for our next post on recommendations and the resume.