If you’re a prospective Haas transfer, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the supplemental essay – the one of three which makes up a whopping 35% of your application! I clearly remember the stress of scrambling to construct the perfect Haas essay, without a clue where to start. Hopefully, you’ve started working on it. But if you’re like me, you’ve probably written and scrapped about three drafts so far, and are about to rip your hair out from the pressure and anxiety and Oh-my-God-I-Don’t-Have-An-Essay feeling tornado’ing in your head.
If you are that person – it’s okay! Here are some tips I compiled with the insight of fellow Class of 2015 Transfer Enya Hsieh, which will hopefully help you out:
- Familiarize Yourself. Know the four defining principles – Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Beyond Yourself, and Students Always. If you haven’t already, search for articles explaining these in detail. Get to know these principles well – you’ll need to for the next step. As a quick reference, there is also this handy video featuring Dean Lyons briefly explaining each one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zszSEcA_lMQ
- Reflect. Now that you know the culture, consider how you align with it. Which principle resonates with you the most? It may help you to get organized by writing down each principle, and thinking of ways you’ve exhibited it. Think of past experiences and how they relate to the four Haas principles. Is there an experience you’ve had that stands out to you? That could be something to consider!
- Picture Yourself at Haas. What goals do you hope to accomplish if you were to get in? How your future aspirations relate to the Haas principles is something to think about, too. Also, look through the Haas curriculum, really immerse yourself in what it would be like to be a Haas student and what it would mean to you. Be enthusiastic, be excited. It’ll show through your writing.
- Don’t be a Broken Record. Tell your reader something they haven’t already seen elsewhere in your application. Keep it fresh, keep it unique, keep it you. Everyone who applies has a comparable GPA and some extracurricular activities, this essay is how you set yourself apart from the rest. So don’t be afraid to make it sound like you – that’s who your reader is getting to know. And I recommend not repeating a story you’ve already told elsewhere in your application, keep your reader interested by giving them something new.
- Own it. Express, don’t impress. Make this essay about you – who the reader wants to get to know. Not the generic applicant, not the person you think your reader will be awed by. Keep it real, keep it unique, keep it personal. In addition, don’t have too many people look over and critique your essay. You can’t please everyone, and if you try to, your essay will inevitably lose personality, your voice will be gone. Most people recommend at least 2 people read it, but I only had 1, and found that sufficient.
Hopefully those tips provide some clarity, get you thinking if you haven’t already, and help guide you in a positive direction! In addition, I hope they make you stress a little less. Here’s some additional tidbits from other transfer students:
“Use real world examples to show your real understanding about one of the principals. In my case, I wrote about beyond myself was important, not just because moral and PR sweet talk, but I learned from business cases that thinking beyond the business profit is the way to make a business sustainable. I listed toxic products in china, which would exhaust the health and productivity of the consumers in the long term, which will ultimately hurt the company.” – Emmeline Wong, Class of 2014
“Focus on one specific experience (at most two) where you found yourself identifying with one of the four defining principles. The essay is a perfect opportunity for you to elaborate on your strengths and aspirations. Be genuine and show your passion for business, while remembering to tie these all in with your alignment to the defining Haas pillar.” – Denice Sy, Class of 2014
“Don’t repeat what you mentioned in your UC essays, but go in depth about your experiences as reflected in your résumé and concretize your exemplification of the defining principle you choose.” – Sofia Putri, Class of 2015
And there you have it! Good luck to all prospective transfers, hopefully these will be helpful to you!