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How to Write a Successful Admission Essay?

The success of an admission essay depends on the presentation, tonality, and context in which it is written. While an admission essay related to a Graduate program must emphasize the applicant’s academic achievement, research aptitude, and innovative spirit, an essay related to an undergraduate program must accentuate the applicant’s intellectual depth, out-of-the-box thinking, and versatile personality. On the other hand, b-school applicants are required to showcase their leadership qualities, ability to work in a team, and problem-solving skills.

Every admission essay comes with an essay question(s) that seeks to understand the various aspects of your personality, through carefully crafted prompts, that may apparently appear general, but always carries a hidden meaning. The ‘mantra’ to success, is to understand the hidden meaning and write the essay, by presenting your strengths, in light of the hidden meaning.

The key points to remember, while writing any successful admission essay are

  • Read the essay prompt carefully:
    1. Admission essay questions have a hidden meaning (a question behind the question), primarily designed to understand your personality traits.
    2. For example, a question about describing your biggest achievement or failure of an applicant is not only meant to elicit information regarding the incident(s) but also to understand how you reacted to it, which is a personality trait.
  • Always answer the essay question, keeping in mind the hidden meaning.
  • Before you even start writing, first introspect and ideate about what would be the most appropriate and effective response you can come up with, both in terms of content and structure of the essay. A unique perspective will earn you a competitive edge.
  • Once you have narrowed down the response, first visualize the entire essay and note down the major points before starting to write the essay.
  • Use your own language; avoid quotations and references, as they dilute your original thought process.
  • Keep your answers short, crisp, and contextual; be specific and not generic.
  • Use action verbs, instead of passive voice. It signifies that you are a doer and not a dreamer.
  • Do some research about the University/College/B-School you are writing the essay for, as every academic institution has an underlying philosophy, underpinning its admission criteria. Crafting your essay in tune with the same is always beneficial.
  • Please remember, it is not always about what you say, but sometimes what the admissions committee wants to hear, might give you the edge over other applicants.
  • Do not boast about yourself; be humble as you are applying to learn, not to teach.
  • Another important point to note; always try to showcase your achievements, skills, learning, career objectives etc. by highlighting them, instead of simply telling the admissions committee about them, as that shows that you are a go-getter, hungry for more success; someone who is willing to go the extra mile to achieve that. It creates a positive aura about you and sets you apart from other applicants.
  • Cross-check spelling, grammar, and syntax, once you have finalized the essay.
  • Finally, check the flow of the narrative within the essay, to check whether it is eminently readable.


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