UCLA Anderson Application Essays for 2012-2013

UCLA AndersonUCLA’s Anderson School of Management has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the 2012-2013 admissions season. While Anderson has made fewer dramatic changes than some other prominent business schools have this year, the school did change one of its two required essays, and trimmed the word count for each by 50 words. The essay word count diet continues…

Let’s dig into Anderson’s deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 24, 2012
Round 2: January 9, 2013
Round 3: April 17, 2013

Anderson’s three application deadlines have barely changed this year. Keep in mind that, if you apply to Anderson in Round 1, you may not receive your final decision until late January, meaning that you won’t know where you stand with Anderson before most other top business schools’ Round 2 deadlines come and go.

Also, note that UCLA Anderson’s Round 3 deadline is pretty late compared to most other top MBA programs’ final deadlines. Anderson previously expressed that it doesn’t want to miss out on strong applicants who may choose an MBA program outside the U.S. simply because that school still accepts applications as late as April. This is a smart move for Anderson. However, note this language on the Anderson website: “Round 3 becomes more competitive as seats in the class fill up, and we look for distinctive profiles to round out the student mix.” So, Round 3 is very much an option at Anderson, but be realistic about your chances, especially if you apply with a slapped-together application or a lackluster profile.

UCLA Anderson Application Essays

  1. What is your proudest achievement outside the workplace, and how has it impacted you? (700 words)

    This question is new this year, and it replaces a question that asked, “What events or people have had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why?” One thing hasn’t changed thought: this question’s emphasis on you, and the admissions committee’s desire for you to write about something other than what it can plainly read on your resume. Many applicants may read this question and immediately think, “Okay, they want something about my extracurricular activities and community involvement,” but that’s not necessarily the case. The real key is to tell a story about personal growth (note the “how has it impacted you?” part of the question). If you have a story that does that and also happens to demonstrate your ability to make a positive impact on those around you, then great, but here Anderson really means it when its asks about the impact the achievement had on you. How did you grow as a result? Did it change your outlook? Did it boost your confidecne in tackling later challenges? This is what Anderson wants to erad about here!
  2. What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (700 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, and so our advice mostly remains the same. You should approach this question the same as you would most other “Career Goals” / “Why an MBA?” essays. Note that the “Why an MBA?” component is very important, but you absolutely MUST demonstrate in this essay a knowledge of and a passion for UCLA Anderson. One way any school protects its admissions yield is by ferreting out those who don’t show enough enthusiasm for the program. Failing to answer the second part part of the question — how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? — is a sure way to get ferreted out by the admissions committee.
  3. (Optional Essay) Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    As we always advise our clients when it comes to optional essays, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!

For more advice on getting into Anderson, download our Essential Guide to UCLA Anderson, one of our 15 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Anderson and other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum