What Is "passion" In Admissions?

by Linda Abraham - Date: 2007-05-17 - Word Count: 266 Share This!

Years ago, when I first heard b-school representatives talking about wanting to see passion in applications, I thought to myself, "You're looking for passion from a bunch of investment bankers and engineers???? That's a pretty calculating bunch."

"Passion" has a sexy ring to it. An emotional, visceral appeal. It evokes images of glamorous actors and actresses in hot and heavy romances. The good guy in a Frank Capra film changing history. Generals exhorting the troops before sending them into battle.

Forget the steamy romances. Forget the hero delivering a stirring speech. Forget the generals addressing their troops.

That's not what we're talking about in admissions.

"Passion" in admissions -- be it college, MBA, law school, medical school, or grad school -- means dedication. It means commitment. It requires action over time. It can be very calculated and goal oriented, and not at all glamorous. It may lead to a feverish culmination, an earth-shattering moment, and it may not. It can be any one of the following and an infinite number of other activities:

Spending hours practicing the cello day-in and day out, year after year.
Assuming responsibility for an annual silent auction that raises thousands of dollars for your favorite cause during the five years that you have chaired it.
Training and training and training so that you beat your personal best in the race of your choice.
Volunteering at a medical or legal clinic twice a week since your sophomore year in college.
Next time you see the word "passion" in an admissions context, look between the lines. Read "dedication." And those calculating, number-crunching, spreadsheet addicts among you, remember this equation: Passion = Action + Dedication.

Related Tags: application, passion, admissions, essay, personal statement

Linda Abraham, Accepted.com's founder and president, has helped thousands of applicants develop successful admissions strategies and craft distinctive essays. In addition to advising clients and managing Accepted.com, she has written and lectured extensively on admissions. The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek are among the publications that have sought Linda's expertise.

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