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Jun 09, 2021

A Closer Look at Tuck’s Admissions Criteria: Aware

Amy Mitson


By Amy Mitson
Co-Executive Director, Admissions and Financial Aid

The team and I have been busy this spring watching final First Year Project presentations, wishing T’22s best of luck at summer internships, and offering congratulations to our T’21s who will be graduating in person on June 11! We have also selected the team of T’22 Tuck Admissions Associates (our student interviewer team) and are thinking about those of you planning to apply next year. To help you prepare, I’m back to highlight another of our admissions criteria: aware.

Demonstrating awareness entails three things: knowing who you are, knowing where you’re going, and knowing how Tuck helps you chart your path forward. These three aspects are rooted in our desire to see you contribute and thrive at Tuck and beyond. We believe you can best contribute when you are aware of how your individuality adds to Tuck, and you can effectively thrive when you have a clear vision for how Tuck allows you to accomplish your goals.

The essay prompts give you a platform to tell us the personal story that only you can tell. Our essays will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself beyond your resume and your scores. After reading thousands of essays over the years, I can tell you that the best essays set aside airs and pretense; they include personal insights that reveal what drives and motivates you. So set aside the script and the predetermined narrative, answer the question candidly and genuinely, and introduce us to the applicant behind the application.

You have other opportunities to show us that you are aware of who you are and what you contribute. Your interview is a conversation that surfaces the thoughts, beliefs, and values that influence and inform your decisions. And the reference letters comment on your level of necessary self-awareness to receive constructive feedback. The Tuck MBA is an environment rich in feedback, and we look to see that you can receive feedback with self-awareness, maturity, and a growth mindset.

Our short prompts that ask about your goals invite you to tell us where you’re going. We care about the clarity of your goals, so we ask you to share directly. And yes, we want you to be concise! Recruiters expect a tight pitch, so we do too. The prompts in the application give you the opportunity to state your goals on paper, and you can expect your interviewer to ask you to articulate them out loud. The Admissions team and I hope you will have your “head in the clouds and your feet on the ground,” meaning that you will be ambitious about your long-term impact and pragmatic about the steps you will take to get there.

Finally, we want to see that you’re aware of how Tuck helps you get where you’re going. We’re happy if you love Tuck—we certainly do!—but that isn’t quite what we’re seeking here. Instead, we want to see that you know Tuck. You better contribute and thrive when you’ve thoughtfully considered how your interests and Tuck’s distinct community, culture, and curriculum are mutually beneficial. We ask you about this in the application, and you can expect your interviewer to ask as well. What matters is not how enthusiastic you are, or how thorough and detailed your research is—what matters is how you demonstrate reflection, personalization, and curiosity about what Tuck has to offer you and what you have to offer Tuck.

Let my Admissions colleagues and I know if you have any questions about our aware criterion, or about any other aspect of Tuck. We’re here to help!

Learn more about applying to Tuck