Kaplan Survey: Most MBA Programs Aren’t Cutting Their Number of Admissions Essays, Despite the Trend Among Some Elite Business Schools

Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews@KaplanGMATPrep

New York, NY (January 14, 2015) — According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 business school admissions officers survey*, the vast majority of MBA programs across the United States aren’t following the lead of top schools like Yale, Stanford and Wharton in cutting the number of admissions essays they require applicants to submit (http://poetsandquants.com/2014/07/03/yale-cuts-required-mba-essays-to-one/). Just 13% of the 204 business schools that participated in Kaplan’s survey say they had cut the number of admissions essays for this cycle, compared to 2013; and just 3% of schools say they plan to cut the required number of essays for the next application cycle.

“While it’s true that some of the most competitive business schools have cut the number of admissions essays or reduced the word count, our survey finds that the overwhelming number of MBA programs continue to see value in applicants submitting more information about themselves,” said Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “From what we’ve seen, the business schools that have cut their number of admissions essays are doing so to streamline the process, believing they can get what they need from applicants through fewer, more focused essays. While it may sound counterintuitive, some applicants may find fewer essays and lower word counts difficult as it forces them to be more succinct. We encourage all aspiring MBAs to put effort into their essays, no matter the number or word count, as this piece of the application gives them the opportunity to show admissions officers why they’d be a good fit for the school in a way that their GMAT® score, undergraduate GPA and work experience cannot.”

Carlidge points out that while relatively few business schools have cut back on their number of admissions essays, this is an important trend to watch. Several years ago only a handful of schools allowed applicants to submit a score from the GRE instead of the GMAT, but now it’s something almost all schools allow.

For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of business school admissions officers, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*For the 2014 Kaplan survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.

GMAT ® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council™. Kaplan materials do not contain actual GMAT items and are neither endorsed by nor affiliated in any way with GMAC.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services. Additionally, Kaplan operates new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

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