What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers
We posed questions to admissions officials at the The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School regarding the application process, what they look for in applicants, and what sets their school apart. These are their responses:
1. What can applicants do to set themselves apart from their peers?
Know yourself: Applicants should be able to reflect on their own experiences, where they are in their lives to date. They should also be able to gauge their own personal strengths and weaknesses so that they can accurately and passionately represent their stories on paper. Knowing yourself--participating in some serious examination of your own goals and motivations--is the first step toward creating an original and personal application.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
Essays help us understand more about how much--or how little--the candidate has thought through their application to our program, particularly with regard to the clarity they have around their goals, their level of self awareness, and the knowledge-base they hope to develop while in our program. Applicants should read their essays closely--if what they are writing is simply summarizing an experience, then it is likely not what we are looking for. A simple description of an action or event won't mark them as different than other applicants; instead, it is the reflection, the learning, the takeaways that are unique to each individual who applies. Bringing these insights out in their essays is crucial to helping us gain a unique understanding of how each applicant thinks.
3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weigh it against undergraduate GPA and work experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?
Our process is holistic and, as such, no one factor carries more "weight" than any other.
4. How much does prior work/internship experience weigh into your decision making? What's the typical or expected amount of work experience from an applicant?
5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students gain from your school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?
6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?
It is always a mistake for a candidate to choose a recommender who doesn't know them well or hasn't worked with them directly. Applicants should choose recommenders who have a deep knowledge of how they conduct themselves in a professional setting, including their communication style, their leadership potential, and even more personal elements such as their sense of humor and their reaction to setbacks. At
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Please find below an alphabetical list of top hirers from the Class of 2009 full time and the Class of 2010 interns.
Barclays Bank PLC
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Applicants make a mistake when they don't take ownership of the process: they don't do their research and find their own reasons to connect with
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
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