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UVA Darden Class of 2021 Essay Analysis

June 27, 2018

This year, Darden has released its 2018-19 prompts with a unique new format – a series of short answer questions designed to get to know various aspects of your candidacy.

2018/19 essay questions

For the 2018–19 application cycle, the Darden has decided to forgo one long essay, and do multiple short essays. We want to get to know all of the various facets of your background and personality.

"Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you - personal, professional or both." (100 words)

"Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden? And why?" (50 words)

"Darden strives to identify and cultivate leaders who follow their purpose. At this stage, how would you describe your evolving leadership style and please provide an example." (200 words)

"Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact." (200 words)

"What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why?" (150 words)

2018/19 essay question analysis

The key with any short answer is to answer the question directly, and weave in your unique background and experiences as quickly as possible. Avoid re-stating the questions, as it consumes critical words. In the case of each essay, stick to a single example (make sure it is something that few if any other applicants could reference), and dig deep, rather than provide a laundry list. That will make your essay more memorable.

Once you have chosen topics for each essay, take a step back, and assess if the collection of answers gives a balanced view of who you are to the reader, and collectively address what Darden is looking for. Did you use an analytical example for essay 1? Then consider emphasizing your softer skills and empathy in essay 3 and/or 4. It is critical that these essays showcase your quant/analytical skills, as well as soft/social skills that position you well to be a good teammate and team leader.

Finally, for essay 4, clients sometimes confuse leadership roles with impact. Make sure the example you use has a tangible (ideally quantitative) outcome that you can link to specific actions you took in order to achieve them.

2018/19 deadlines

Early Action: Application deadline: September 7, 2018 at 12:00pm ET, Decision date: October 17, 2018 

Round 1: Application deadline: October 4, 2018 at 12:00pm ET, Decision date: December 12, 2019

Round 2: Application deadline: January 10, 2019 at 12:00pm ET, Decision date: March 20, 2019

Round 3: Application deadline: April 3, 2019 at 12:00pm ET, Decision date: May 8, 2019

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