Types of Admission Essays - UG, MBA, Scholarship & Gap-year Essays
Once you start your application process, you will come across a number of documents that you would need to submit along with your transcripts, financial documents, visa papers and application form. One of them is the Admission Essay. These essays are fairly easy to draft as the university has already provided you with certain requirements, word limits and guidelines you just need to write accordingly. Mostly, you will find that the university has provided a number of topics/titles/ essay prompts from which you can pick one option. Also, note that an SOP is not required if the university asks for an admission essay and vice-versa. However, it is important to know the difference between those essay prompts as different essay prompts are directed at different aspects of your life or personality. To know this demarcation between essays, we first need to understand the types of admission essays that are usually involved in the application process.
Essays specific to the programme/course
The primary way to distinguish admission essays is through the type of programme or course. These include mainly two types:
Undergraduate (UG) Admission Essay: An UG essay concentrates on your academic interest as well the amount of time you have dedicated to extracurricular activities.
Here are some examples of topics found under UG essay prompts:
- Tell us about yourself
- Your academic interest
- Activity essay
- Why this course/college/university
- Important current issue/s and how you would solve it/or views on them
- Amaze us with your cleverness and creativity
- Important risk or event in your life
- Your post-program goals
MBA Admission Essay: MBA essays generally focus on your professional experience, learning, leadership qualities, career growth, and future goals. Following are the types of MBA essay topics you can expect:
- Career Progression Essay
- Goals Essay
- Leadership Essay
- Why this Business School/ University
- Cultural Shock Essay
- Travel Experience Essay
- Diversity Essay
- Ethical Dilemma Essay
- Achievements Essay
- Failure Essay
- Situation Essay
The Nature of the Essay
The nature of the essay prompt will decide your response to the essay, i.e your answer will depend on the way the topic has been presented. This is not specific to any particular course or programme. For instance, if the essay prompt is a question then you need to take a stance and your answer should contain facts/ observations to support your answer. These types of essays are:
- Argumentative: For these essays, you would need to present your own opinion about the topic or statement and prove it with the help of facts or convincing evidence.
- Autobiographical: Written in the first person, you would need to present a short description of your own life. It mainly includes highlighting the personal, educational, professional, and social experiences of your life.
- Descriptive: You would need to provide a detailed description of a topic that will usually be based on your travel experience, any incident, cultural diversity experience, and so on.
- Narrative: Through a narrative essay you will be showcasing a course of events in a story-telling manner. In this essay, you can narrate a chain of events that describe your experiences and the learning you received from them.
- Persuasive: For such types of essays, an extract from an article, news clipping or literary work (related to your field/current affairs), would be provided to you and you will be asked to state your opinion about it. Your answer needs to be persuasive so as to convince the readers of your perspective.
Other Admission-related Essays
Apart from the above-mentioned types of admission essays, there are certain admission-related essays that might be required with your application. However, these are strictly conditional and should be only drafted and sent if the university has asked for them. These essays are:
- Scholarship Essays: Certain universities offer a number of scholarships. If you are eligible for any of them, then you would be required to draft a scholarship essay according to the university’s requirements. This may not be mandatory for all universities. The essay acts as your chance to explain, to the ADCOM, why you deserve to be chosen for the scholarship, over other students with the same qualifications and/or eligibility.
- Gap-year Essays: Ideally, gap-year essays are asked by universities for undergraduate applicants, who have a year or two educational gap years post their completion of schooling. In such essays, the student is required to explain his/her reason for the break, and what activities or courses he/she undertook during that time to make the gap worthwhile.