Application Tips

Applicant FAQs: Additional Essay Insights

By Brett Twitty-

With our Round 2 deadline (10 January) quickly approaching, we’ve received a few questions about some of our essay prompts, and we thought we would share a little more essay advice here on the blog.

As previously noted, there is no one “right” answer to any of our essays, and you should write what feels authentically you. As you finalize your essays, be sure to review this recent video with Dawna Clarke in which she shares some of her top essay tips.  

Learning Team Essay

A few applicants have asked if there is a preferred format or approach for this particular question? The answer? No. When it comes to application essays, how you answer (style, formattting, etc.) is often as instructive as what you answer. For all of our essays, we encourage you to choose an approach you feel is reflective of who you are.

Global Essay

The question is intentionally broad – “If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden?” While we encourage you to review our Darden Worldwide Course offerings, you are welcome to go beyond the locations where we deliver a course when crafting your response. We have multiple essays (instead of one long essay) because doing so allows us to get a broader sense of who you are and who you will be at Darden, and this prompt is yet another opportunity for our Admissions Committee to gain insights about your passions and interests.

Leadership Style and Meaningful Impact Essays

Leadership is an important part of the Darden ethos, and it’s no surprise that it also appears in our essay questions.

Applicants often ask if there is a particular approach we would like for them to take when answering these questions? It’s worth noting that, as a committee, our expectations for these essays (or any of our essays, for that matter) are not overly prescriptive. As previously mentioned, how you choose to share your story is often as insightful as what you choose to share, and you know best which of your experiences are most responsive to these prompts. Personal and professional examples can both work well, and you should choose the story you feel makes the most compelling essay.  

Our basic advice is to show don’t tell – examples are always best – but also to not be so broad as to preclude self-reflection and meaningful insight. We are interested in getting to know how you think, how you approach working with others, your sense of self-awareness and your willingness to be self-reflective. All of these things will shape and inform your Darden experience, and these essays are an opportunity for us to gain some perspective on these key dimensions. And as always, proofread and edit!