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Kellogg Class of 2022 Essay Analysis

June 04, 2019

Kellogg has released its essay questions for the 2019-20 application cycle, having changed its second prompt.

2019/20 essay questions

Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)

Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Optional question: If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.).

2019/20 essay question analysis

Essay 1

Similar to last year, this essay question is more focused on impact rather than role. Successful candidates in the past have included anything from work leadership experiences to community impact. A reminder – answer both parts of the prompt and set the context (challenges) as well as what you specifically learned from that experience.

To make your answer easier for the reader to follow, focus on one leadership learning experience that you can discuss in-depth, rather than multiple examples that skim the surface (making it harder for you to differentiate yourself from other applicants), and risk sounding like a summary of your resume. Even if you made mistakes when responding to leadership challenges, you can highlight insights that came from the situation, and how those lessons learned benefit you today.

Two special notes for this essay: First, leadership has to do with setting goals/establishing a direction, getting others on board and influencing their direction, and achieving results together. This should not be confused with a specific role/title (i.e. being President), which does not necessarily mean you’re demonstrating leadership. Second, make note of the bolded word above… “recent.” Examples should be from the last three years, with a preference for the more recent stories. If you’re stuck on examples, let’s brainstorm together!

Essay 2

More than prior years, this question pushes candidates to share deeper insights about themselves. Though well-known for years that Kellogg emphasizes the quality of character of their students, this is one of the most explicit affirmations of that culture in years. It is important to remember that many applicants will choose similar/overlapping values (most applicants view themselves as honest, hardworking, etc.), so successful essays will require storytelling through an example that ties closely to the value you choose. Just don’t think that picking a positive value (i.e. empathy, open-mindedness, perseverance) is enough to differentiate you from other applicants.

Answering how your values have influenced you is also critical; make sure the tight word limit doesn’t crowd out this part of the answer. Ideally, it will link to a professional success that others were not able to achieve. The stronger a link you can make between the impact you had and the value you chose, the more thoughtful your answer will come across.

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.

2019/20 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: September 18, 2019, Decision date: December 11, 2019

Round 2: Application deadline: January 8, 2020, Decision date: March 25, 2020

Round 3: Application deadline: April 8, 2020, Decision date: May 13, 2020

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