Hello Jdam, thanks for your question.
There is definitely no science to this, but I’d recommend going with your gut, in general.
You can certainly write about a work accomplishment as your most significant accomplishment, but does it pass the sniff test? It takes a special work accomplishment – not just any – to rise to that level of most significant accomplishment or feat of your life. If so, then feel free to use it.
In terms of writing about your mother and your family, I always advise clients to focus the essay on what the story says about them. The story cannot be primarily about your mother’s cancer; it must be primarily about the attributes that you
displayed in dealing with it. I know it can be a subtle difference, but I think an important one. Does this make sense?
My last comment is to think of all your essays for a school as a portfolio of sorts. Have you covered everything that you want to say about yourself – all your strengths, achievements, leadership attributes? In choosing that last story, consider what you haven’t yet said yet and make sure to fill that gap. If you’ve said it all, then go with your gut.
I hope this helps.
Best of luck,
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php