Tuck Drops A 500-Word Essay Question

The first signs of spring reach the Tuck School

The first signs of spring reach the Tuck School

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business today (May 21) joined the growing number of highly selective schools that are making it slightly easier for applicants to apply to its MBA program.

Tuck essay questions that are required were cut to two this year from three, and they set a word limit for them that eliminates a third of the work from last year.

The move follows Stanford’s decision last week to reduce both its essays and recommenders to two from three a year earlier. In the past couple of years, one school after another has eliminated required essays and brought down word counts after Harvard Business School started the trend two years ago. Tuck also set an early action round deadline of Oct. 8, which would require the applicant to initiate an admissions interview by Oct. 31, in order to get an admissions decision from Tuck by Dec. 18th.


The two Tuck essay questions this year, with suggested 500-word limits, are down from the 1,500-word total a year earlier:

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?

2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

The school ditched last year’s question that required an applicant to describe a circumstance in their life in which they faced adversity, failure, or setback.

Headshot of Kristin Roth, who discusses Tuck essay questions.

Kristin Roth, associate director of admissions at Tuck

As for advice on how to approach the questions? Kristin A. Roth, associate director of admissions at Tuck,  advised candidates in a blog post to “Reflect, take your time, and be genuine. You want to think carefully about your content as well as delivery; you need to communicate clearly and in your voice, not who you think we want you to be; and most importantly, answer the question you are asked.”

The school also said an optional essay allows applicants the opportunity to “provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”

If you’re reapplying to Tuck this year, you can also write an additional essay on how you have strengthened your candidacy since you last applied. “Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally,” Tuck asks.

The school’s deadlines for the Class of 2017:

  • Early Action Round: Oct. 8 for an admissions decision by Dec. 18
  • November Round: Nov. 5 for an admissions decision by Feb. 13, 2015.
  • January Round: Jan. 6 for an admissions decision by March 13, 2015.
  • April Round: April 1 for an admissions decision by May 15, 2015.

Related Stories:

Harvard Business School Kicks Off 2014-2015 MBA Admissions Season

Stanford GSB Cuts Required Essays To Two

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