UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays for 2013-2014

UCLA AndersonWe can add UCLA Anderson to the long list of top business schools that have cut down their essay requirements for the coming admissions season. Anderson recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the coming year, and the school dropped one essay prompt, going down to just one required essay for 2013-2014. We can’t wait until next year, when schools go from one essay down to zero. (Just kidding!)

Without further ado, here are UCLA Anderson’s application deadlines and essays for the Class of 2016, followed by our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 22, 2013
Round 2: January 7, 2014
Round 3: April 15, 2014

Anderson’s deadlines have barely changed since last year. Note that, unlike most other top schools, Anderson will not get back to you before January if you apply in Round 1. With other programs, one benefit of applying in Round 1 is that you will receive a decision before the holidays, giving you plenty of time to work on Round 2 applications (which usually have deadlines in early January). But, no such luck at Anderson. For some applicants, this is enough to push back their Anderson applications from Round 1 to Round 2.

Also, note that UCLA Anderson’s Round 3 deadline is pretty late compared to those of most other top MBA programs. The Anderson MBA admissions team has stated 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. 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 submit a mediocre application.

UCLA Anderson Application Essays

  1. What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (750 words)

    This question — the only required question on this year’s Anderson application — carries over unchanged from last year. Accordingly, our advice mostly remains the same. This question is pretty much your standard “Career Goals” / “Why an MBA?” essay. Note that, while the “Why an MBA?” component is very important, 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 eliminating applicants 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 quick and easy way to get weeded out by the admissions committee.

    One other thought: We find this advice from the Anderson website to be interesting: “Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities, etc. from which you would benefit, if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through website research, personal discussions and a campus visit (if possible).” Every year we see applicants who lazily browse a school’s site and drop one or two course or professor names into an essay to seem more interested in the program, and we wonder if Anderson’s guidance here will only make the problem worse.

  2. (Optional Essay) Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    As we always tell applicants when it comes to optional admissions essays, answer this question 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. That advice especially holds now that Anderson’s application only includes on essay prompt… Don’t feel the need to submit extra essays simply to command more of the admissions committee’s attention!

For more advice on getting into Anderson, download our Essential Guide to UCLA Anderson, one of our 14 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Anderson and other top business schools, get a free profile evaluation from 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