Application and Essay Tips

Does Playwriting Passion Belong in Business Major's Essay?


Question: My daughter wants to be a playwright but she agreed to major in business so she has something to fall back on if playwriting doesn't work out. When I looked at her essays, they are all about playwriting. One essay asks her passion, another asks her career goal, another asks about a realization that changed her -- and they are all about writing plays. Will this hurt her chances of getting into business school? In other words, should she have written her essays about a passion for business rather than plays?

Your daughter can certainly include her passion for playwriting in her essays, but it shouldn't take center stage quite to the extent that you describe. This is especially true if she is applying to universities with separate business schools and somewhat less critical if she's aiming for places that are primarily liberal arts colleges but also offer a business option.

But, in either case, by focusing her essays only on playwriting, she is likely to leave admission officials wondering about her commitment to the business program that she claims she wants to pursue and, above all, she's missing out on an opportunity to distinguish herself from other prospective business students.

So the bad news is that your daughter's essays will need some revision. But the good news is that, without starting over from scratch, she can amend one or more of them (especially the essay about her “career goal") to discuss the financial difficulties that often plague professional playwrights ... e.g., lack of health care, pensions, job security, etc. She can point out that too many folks with arts aspirations don't have the business know-how to survive in the real world. Then she can talk about how she wants to combine her love of writing plays with the practical skills required to manage a theater company, organize other struggling artists, etc.

Here and here you'll find articles for her about playwrights with business acumen. Your daughter may even be able to fold some of these specifics into her essays.

Bottom line: No mention at all of business interests in her essays could hurt your daughter's admission odds, but revamping her essays to explain how business and playwriting will join forces in her future plans could really be a plus, even if the latter steals the spotlight.


If you'd like to submit a question to College Confidential, please send it along here.