You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

University of Michigan business school admissions director says concise application essays are best

By Kellie Woodhouse

The essay is important, but don't let it overwhelm your application process.

Ross School of Business.jpg

University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business

File photo |

That was the message of the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business admissions director when she spoke with U.S. News and World Report, explaining why the business college reduced its allowed essay lengths by 450 words.

"So many people were spending a lot of time on the essays and probably not as much time thinking about the other things, like their interviews or talking to their recommenders or even studying for the GMAT," Ross admissions director Soojin Kwon told U.S. News.

"The whole purpose of the essay and the interview is to just get a better understanding of where they're coming from and where they want to go to. And I don't need to read a thousand words, 2,000 words, to understand that."

Ross is not alone in reducing its allowable word count on application essays. According to the article, Columbia University's business school reduced one essay from 500 to 250 words.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Chelsea Hoedl

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

This is great advice and I'm sure LSA feels similarly about concise content. Wish I had this tip when I was laboring over my essays a few years ago!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Does anyone still write their own essay? Aren't there people you hire to do that?


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Good advice. You have to sell yourself in these things, but you can't get too wordy and flowery. You'll start overstating things and making stuff up. Plus, the poor people who go through these don't want to read superfluous essays. "Yes, I'm a forward thinking self-starter with an eye for detail who prides himself on synergistic, innovative solutions that are agreeable to my acquaintances."

Dog Guy

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Any greeting card, advertisement, essay, or comment on which goes beyond six sentences is a con job.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

Dirty little secret: It almost doesn't matter what you write on the essay. Many applicants, especially foreign applicants, don't even write their own essays.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

Probably a smart thing to do. It's a good way to teach up and coming business managers and executives to get their message across more clearly and efficiently. Research has shown the longer a written or verbal message is, the less effective it is.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

"The best things in life are free But you can keep them for the birds and bees Now give me money (that's what I want) That's what I want (that's what I want) That's what I want only (that's what I want) That's what I want (that's what I want) Money don't get everything, it's true what it don't get, I can't use Now give me money (that's what I want)" - With thanks to the Beattles, and apologies to the Michigan Business School grads

John of Saline

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Because we all know the Beatles never cared about money.