New York University’s Stern School of Business is adding a new and early application deadline of Oct. 15 and reducing the number of its required admissions essays by a third.
Last year, Stern required three essays. For the 2013-2014 admissions season, the school is now making one of its questions optional so that only two are required for a total word limit of just 1,250 words.
The school’s decision is consistent with a trend, which has developed in the past two years, that has led one business school after another to cut the number of essays and the maximum word counts to apply to a full-time MBA program. That trend began last year when Harvard Business School led the charge and has accelerated more recently with Harvard’s decision to go down to just one essay on its application and make even that optional (see The Incredible Shrinking MBA App).
This year’s Stern essays are identical to last year’s prompts.
The first 750-word-limit question requires applicants to describe their professional aspirations—including why they’re pursuing an MBA—what steps they’ve taken to determine if Stern is the best fit for them, and what they expect to be doing after graduation.
The second essay question offers two options. The first has a 500-word limit and asks candidates to describe “two different and distinct paths you could see your career taking long term.” The other option allows applicants to describe themselves to their classmates.
If applicants choose to write this essay, they’ll be limited to 500 words, but applicants can also submit artwork, multimedia, or virtually anything else that expresses who they are.
A third optional essay can be written by applications who want to provide additional information on such things as employment gaps, grades, and other matters.
Stern said it introduced an early application deadline of Oct. 15, in addition to existing deadlines of Nov. 15, Jan. 15, and March 15. According to a Stern spokesperson, the change was made in response to feedback from applicants. The new deadline is the same as the early deadline used by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which provides MBA fellowships for underrepresented minorities. Stern is a member of the consortium and accepts applications