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Optional Essay Question

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Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2007, 17:03
Hi,

I was wondering what is a good way to write about low GMAT scores. I am not applying for an MBA but a Masters of Accounting. I have a low GMAT score (580) but high GPA (3.71). Should I just talk abou thow this is not a good indicator of my performance and that historically I have been a bad test taker (SAT 1100). Also I would include things like strong performances in quant classes and even experiences from work.

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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2007, 17:23
I would suggest that you focus on how you perform well in quant classes.. but dont say you just dont do well in tests - its a sad and meaningless excuse that many candidates use. Rather, be as specific as you can about your performance in other areas - so don't just say you "did well in math" in college, but rather say something like "My overall GPA in math and statistics courses was X, and even in advanced classes such as X,Y and Z, I achieved A's. For this reason I don't believe my GMAT score is an accurate indication of my true abilities."

In other words, use real-world concrete and measurable examples of why your GMAT score isn't as high as it should be. Dont' rely on things that are completely unverifiable such as "I'm not good at taking tests" or "I was sick" or whatever.

The essay should be 98% about all your positive attributes and 2% about your weak GMAT score. The other 98% should make that 2% seem meaningless.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2007, 18:14
Hey rhyme,

Thanks for the advice! I think I have a good idea of what to write now.

Thanks!
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2008, 21:12
I know this is the place where you should explain why you did not ask your current supervisor for rec letters.
And usually school understand that this stuff can be sensitive.

But what are the typical explanation?
I just want to know what are the common approach for this issue. Is there any good/bad reason?
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2009, 04:43
I think the typical reason is that the person hasn't told their supervisor/employer that they're applying to business school, because they don't want to bring up the possibility of them leaving the company until they're certain they've gotten admitted somewhere. I think schools understand this situation and so long as the other recommenders have good first-hand knowledge of your performance it's not a big deal.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2009, 03:30
NJMike4MBA wrote:
I think the typical reason is that the person hasn't told their supervisor/employer that they're applying to business school, because they don't want to bring up the possibility of them leaving the company until they're certain they've gotten admitted somewhere. I think schools understand this situation and so long as the other recommenders have good first-hand knowledge of your performance it's not a big deal.


Thanks for ur input.
By the way, do you actually tell your employer you're quitting right after the admit...or do you wait until you're 1 month/2 weeks away from quitting? I preferred telling him/her later, but I'm afraid when they do background check and stuff, they might need to contact my supervisor. Does this ever become a problem for other people?
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2009, 03:54
My boss knew I was applying, so as soon as I told him I was admitted he knew I was going to be leaving. We've already begun talking about what my last day in the office will be. I think deciding on when you tell your boss is going to depend on your relationship with him/her and will probably vary pretty dramatically.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2009, 04:02
I see..you told your boss.. that makes the whole thing easier.
I'm leaning towards not telling him.. hmm..maybe I have to rethink about this.

Anybody else on the same boat? (not telling their supervisor about MBA)
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2009, 06:40
I haven't told my boss about my admit. I'm waiting until a month or so before I leave.

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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2009, 10:37
refurb wrote:
I haven't told my boss about my admit. I'm waiting until a month or so before I leave.

RF


ditto.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2010, 03:55
What other things can one mention in the optional essay if GPA is not a problem ?
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2010, 08:57
crackfire2003 wrote:
What other things can one mention in the optional essay if GPA is not a problem ?



For some of the schools I was required to use the optional essay to explain gaps in my employment.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2011, 13:10
All,
I am facing this Percentage to GPA dilemma and after having spoken to a professor in Ivy league, I learnt that a <3.5 could be risky as it brings down the average of the entering class. I reached out to the school to find out how my 78%, and being in the top 5 in a class of 60 would be normalized to a GPA but haven't heard back. There are no grades on my mark-sheet, so all one can know is that it is an Honors degree from a certain university in India. Looking at some conversion formulae on Internet, my GPA can go as low as 2.9, which I personally feel is inaccurate.
Should I try to explain my position on percentage and all in the optional essay? Earlier I was thinking of explaining a recent job switch, the only one in last 7 years, in the optional essay. Can I explain two things in the optional essay - % and job switch?

Thanks a lot for your help.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2011, 14:48
ravsg wrote:
All,
I am facing this Percentage to GPA dilemma and after having spoken to a professor in Ivy league, I learnt that a <3.5 could be risky as it brings down the average of the entering class. I reached out to the school to find out how my 78%, and being in the top 5 in a class of 60 would be normalized to a GPA but haven't heard back. There are no grades on my mark-sheet, so all one can know is that it is an Honors degree from a certain university in India. Looking at some conversion formulae on Internet, my GPA can go as low as 2.9, which I personally feel is inaccurate.
Should I try to explain my position on percentage and all in the optional essay? Earlier I was thinking of explaining a recent job switch, the only one in last 7 years, in the optional essay. Can I explain two things in the optional essay - % and job switch?

Thanks a lot for your help.


Adcoms have seen thousands of international applicants across many different grading systems. They are well aware that being in the top 5 in your class and graduating with honors is indicative of excellent academic performance. You do not need to write an optional essay explaining your grades. They know not to compare a 78% from India to the 4.0 GPA scale in the US.

As for the job switch, many people switch jobs. Can you not address this in the career goals essay? Something along the lines of, "I was looking for XYZ experience, so I took a job at ABC company doing DEF." No need for the optional essay there either.

The optional essay is the place to explain gaps (2+ months) in employment, low GPA (either low class ranking or low grades) and inconsistent academic performance, any criminal record you may have, etc.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2011, 17:46
cheetarah1980 wrote:
Adcoms have seen thousands of international applicants a....



Thanks for your help!
I am looking at starting a business after mba and the job switch doesn't help much in that regard, so was thinking of explaining that.
Also, where can I mention that I was in the top 5 in the class, resume?
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2011, 13:44
How low is a GPA that warrants an optional essay explanation?

I ended up with a 3.08 cumulative, 3.23 in my major (finance). Do I bother writing an optional essay to explain why I had a low GPA? I have some ways to explain it but I don't have any crazy excuse (death in the family, sickness, etc). My boss said not to bother because it just draws further attention to it and it may sound like I am making excuses.

I scored a 750 on my GMAT, went to a top 12 undergrad business school, 3 years W/E at matriculation, applying to elite programs.
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2011, 10:20
ravsg wrote:
cheetarah1980 wrote:
Adcoms have seen thousands of international applicants a....



Thanks for your help!
I am looking at starting a business after mba and the job switch doesn't help much in that regard, so was thinking of explaining that.
Also, where can I mention that I was in the top 5 in the class, resume?


Resume would be a good place to put your top 5 thing..It's definitely eye-catching!
Regarding the % to GPA thing, you shouldn't worry about the conversion. Most of the schools' application forms contain two data fields - US GPA or International GPA. The International GPA data field generally has sub fields such as minimum GPA and maximum GPA. So in your case you would simply leave the US GPA field blank, write 78 in the International GPA field, 0 in the minimum GPA sub-field and 100 in the maximum GPA sub-field. As cheetarah1980 rightly pointed out, ad coms see hundreds if not thousands of applicants from India every year to know well enough about the % scales...

I don't think that explaining your job switch in an optional essay is a great idea because you are kinda attracting attention to a point that you yourself don't consider obviously beneficial from a post-MBA goals standpoint..I would just leave unnoticed or if any essay asks for career progression, you can maybe plug it in there and say that you switched for XYZ reasons..just a couple of lines, nothing elaborate since it doesn't seem to hold great importance in your grand scheme of things..
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2011, 10:26
mbarealestate wrote:
How low is a GPA that warrants an optional essay explanation?

I ended up with a 3.08 cumulative, 3.23 in my major (finance). Do I bother writing an optional essay to explain why I had a low GPA? I have some ways to explain it but I don't have any crazy excuse (death in the family, sickness, etc). My boss said not to bother because it just draws further attention to it and it may sound like I am making excuses.

I scored a 750 on my GMAT, went to a top 12 undergrad business school, 3 years W/E at matriculation, applying to elite programs.


It depends on which school you're applying to..
Check out the GPA ranges for the schools you are applying to...If your GPA is lesser than the lower end for that particular school or if you flunked courses, then you definitely must explain..If it is slightly higher than the lower end, you can possibly get off without writing it since you have a strong GMAT...If it is in between the range, don't even bother explaining it..Particularly since you mention that you don't have a great reason for the low GPA, I think your boss is correct in stating that you would be unnecessarily attracting unwarranted attention...
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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2011, 11:09
thanks guys!!! :)

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Re: Optional Essay Question [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2011, 18:01
dcdevil wrote:

For some of the schools I was required to use the optional essay to explain gaps in my employment.


Has anyone ever had a few months of unemployment on their resume and not explained it in the optional essay?
I was unemployed for a few months. I mention being laid off in an essay for each school, but I don't want to write 200 words on the fact that I got canned and couldn't land another job for a while. I didn't join a non-profit during my unemployment because that's a lot harder to do than it sounds. I don't see the value in writing an essay that will be negative in nature.
Does anyone think I could get dinged because I didn't write an optional essay about my period of unemployment?

Much obliged, Gmatclub.
Re: Optional Essay Question   [#permalink] 14 Oct 2011, 18:01
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