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Booth Class of 2020 Essay Analysis

June 29, 2017

2017/18 essay questions


Essay 1: View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why. 

Optional essay: Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)

2017/18 essay question analysis

While Booth’s question is unchanged from the 2016-17 application cycle, the pictures are different this year. There is more focus on exploration between classmates, across Chicago, and within yourself.

Our general approach is similar to last year’s advice; start by knowing your own story. Do any of the pictures connect closely with your particular background, even if unconnected to your professional career or goals? If you find a picture connects with you right away, stop reading this, and start writing! Just let the words flow, focusing on explaining how the picture connects with your own story. Be detailed, and use examples from your own background. That will avoid the pitfalls of writing an essay someone else could have written too.

If you need help brainstorming which picture to choose, we suggest one of two approaches:

1. Decide on your message, then choose most relevant picture

Brainstorm what you want to share to Booth. What are your core experiences that have allowed you to a) support curiosity b) think broadly c) take risks and d) challenge assumptions? Once you’ve narrowed down your thoughts to 2-3 key stories, review the pictures to see which one best captures your experiences. In particular, consider:

  • What are the people doing?

  • What environment are they in?

  • How are they interacting with that environment?

  • What isn’t in the picture that could also connect with your story?

  • Why do you think Booth included the picture in the list?

Remember, make your stories and examples as Booth-specific as possible.

As you consider your message and stories that reinforce it, make sure that you’re sharing examples that would not come out elsewhere in your application. Booth will know a lot about your professional experience, but less so about your personal choices. Make sure all of what makes you special is presented in your application.

2. Focus on which picture you would have the most fun writing about

Truth be told, all of the pictures can be interpreted in a variety of ways that allow for a variety of possible messages about you. Looking at each picture, what aspect(s) of the picture excites you most? What do you notice? What would you want to be a part of? This approach may take longer, as you may have to start over a few times before personalizing this essay, as you’re starting with something everyone else is seeing at the same time, rather than your own story. However, starting with what is “fun” to write will spur ideas as you progress, boosting your chances for a successful essay.

Once you’ve decided on your topic, consider a differentiated medium to separate you from other applicants. Our clients have framed their topics as VC pitch decks, lessons learned from pro tennis matches, teacher lesson plans, and YouTube videos. Your choice of presentation format is just as important as the content itself!

A note on format

A reminder; if you choose to go with Powerpoint formats, here are some tutorials on reducing your file size (in case your file passes the 16MB limit).

Click here for a Mac tutorial on reducing Word /Powerpoint/Excel file sizes

Click here for a PC tutorial for reducing Word/Powerpoint/Excel file sizes

A note on word count –Although there is no official word count, we encourage you to be cautious about going over our suggested limit of 750 words. 

Optional essay

The optional question is available for you to explain any additional information that you may not have had the space to clarify in other parts of your application.

2017/18 deadlines


Round 1: Application deadline: September 21, 2017 at 11:59pm CT, Decision date: December 7, 2017

Round 2: Application deadline: January 3, 2018 at 11:59pm CT, Decision date: March 15, 2018

Round 3: Application deadline: April 3, 2019 at 11:59pm CT, Decision date: May 17, 2018

Other application details

Click here for school interaction opportunities.

The online application is available here.

Re-applicant?

Check out information here.

School resources

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