What Every Applicant Needs to Know to Avoid Rejection

This post originally appeared on the Accepted blog.


Each year, Accepted consultants are witnessing a recurring epidemic. And it’s worse than you can imagine: Genericitis.

The symptoms:

• Mind-blowing, meaningless, and grand generic declarative statements, related to why an applicant wants to attend a certain program.

• Irritation to admissions readers, causing them to believe that you know nothing about their school and don’t belong there.


• For the Adcom: Deny the application as quickly as possible and move on to the next one.

• For Applicants: See below.

Here is an example of a severe case of genericitis that I drafted based on several different examples I recently read, along with 20 years of experience in this business:

I find Top Choice’s global MBA program very exciting and interesting. With it, I will be able to elevate my already diverse knowledge of the world to a higher and more sophisticated level. Combining the business analytical skills that I will obtain at Top Choice with my advanced mathematical skills, I will be able to help the fast-growing industry of clean energy progress and profit. Moreover, I will explore Top Choice’s other outstanding academic fields, thus exposing me to resources outside the business school — not to mention Top Choice’s amazing students and alumni, who will become my colleagues and the network with whom I will share these transformative experiences. Top Choice will certainly add to my expertise and help me achieve my goals in the future. Having ambitious goals, I need the help of a great school like Top Choice, a school that also has lofty goals. 

I can and will use Top Choice’s education to the fullest possible extent. Today, I would be proud to join the community of Top Choice, and tomorrow, Top Choice will be proud to have me as an alumnus, connecting Top Choice to the world of sustainable business and clean energy.

I hope you are thinking that no one really writes like this. In that case, your immune system is strong even if your conclusion is incorrect. However, if the above bears any resemblance to the reasons you provide for wanting to attend a specific program, you are suffering from genericitis.

Your treatment:

• Find specifics in the program that compel you to apply and attend.

• Tie those specifics to your future goals or to your educational preferences.

Although the example above is for an MBA application, if you are writing “Why this school” essays or paragraphs for college, law, medical school or any other program, you too could be suffering from Genericitis.

Have yourself tested for generic-itis today! Accepted’s staff of experienced, professional consultants would be happy to help you just as we have helped thousands of other generic-itis sufferers.



About Linda Abraham:

Catherine Blogger PhotoAccepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top universities since 1994 – they know what works and what doesn’t, so follow Linda Abraham on Google+ and contact Accepted to get started or visit Accepted.com for all your admissions consulting needs today!



Photo at top courtesy of Shutterstock.com / g-stockstudio



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  • Linda Abraham

    Linda Abraham is the founder and CEO of Accepted, the top-tier admissions consultancy that helps you unlock your competitive advantage. Linda has written or co-authored 13 ebooks on the college admissions process. In 2007, she co-founded the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) and became its first president. For the last 20 years Linda and her highly credentialed, experienced team have helped thousands of applicants get accepted to top colleges and graduate schools worldwide, including but not limited to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and MIT. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, US News, The Sunday Times of London, Businessweek, Poets & Quants and MBA Podcaster.

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