Subscribe to Admissions, Stratus’ free monthly newsletter.

Featuring content personalized just for you based on where you want to go and where you are in the application process.


How to Write the Best Essay Response for Johnson at Cornell

Understanding the Johnson community is essential before you begin answering the essay questions during your application process.

Johnson is known for its small class-size, tight-knit community and amiable culture. The school places great emphasis on collaboration and allows students to develop strong bonds and relationships with their peers and faculty.

Johnson also values candidates who can showcase leadership skills, have a global mindset and can work well in teams.

Essay 1: (Required) At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you have identified through engagement with our community and describe how these interactions have influenced your decision to apply to Johnson? (500 words)

Johnson takes great pride in its community. A good response will show you have taken adequate steps to learn about the school and how you plan to make an impact and immerse within the community. Consider the following points when responding:

1)    Why Johnson: Demonstrating a genuine interest in Johnson will be essential. Applicants should provide specific details about what they have learned about the school through their interactions with the members of the Johnson community. Talk about what makes Johnson unique and show why the school is a good FIT for you.

2)    Why You: This is an opportunity to show why you will be a good FIT by talking about how you will add value to Johnson during your time at the school and beyond graduation.

Although you can talk about how your past experiences will allow you to contribute to the learning of your classmates, the majority of your response should be centered on how you will make use of opportunities or even create new opportunities to make a positive impact. If you plan to take on a leadership role at a club or even start a new club, then talk about what you plan to do in that role and how it will benefit your classmates and bring value to the school.

Following the “Show and don’t tell” strategy will help you come up with a compelling response for this question.

Essay 2: (Required) Table of Contents: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.
Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions. (Maximum file size is 5 MB. We recommend that you upload your submission in MS Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format. Limit 500 words or fewer).

Through this question, the ad-com is trying to get a sense of who you are, what defines you and how your experiences have shaped you into the individual you are today. Consider the following points before responding:

1)    Content: You can talk about key professional experiences that you are proud of, or notable achievements, but it should not be a laundry list of your resume. You can show key aspects of your personality that might not be apparent by just looking at your resume by sharing meaningful childhood experiences, involvement in college, outside of work, etc.

The usual inclination is to only share the positives, but you can also choose to talk about any mistakes you made or failures you encountered and what you learned from them. The story of your life can be used to give a snapshot until now or you can even give a sneak preview of how you envision your life post-Johnson.

2)    Format: There is ample room for creativity and applicants are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. You can use pictures, graphics, different font types and colors to enhance the visual appeal of the traditional Table of Content format, using a bolded heading for each chapter of your life and sub-bullets giving details on those chapters.

About Stratus

Stratus Admissions Counseling is a full service admissions counseling firm distinguished by its team based, multi-step process ensuring each application is crafted for optimum impact. Our MBA counseling team has a representative from virtually every top 20 MBA program, enabling us to provide school-specific guidance.


Sign up for a FREE consultation with a business school admissions specialist.

At Stratus, we know your time is valuable. You may be asking “why should I spend 30 minutes of my time speaking to an expert strategist?” The answer is this: we make it all about YOU. Your goals. Your profile. Your experience. This is an opportunity for us to explore your background and start to help you cultivate a plan of action for your future.

Use the form below to sign up today and a Stratus Admissions Specialist will contact you right away.

Leave a Reply