typingThere is a certain irony in writing four  lengthy posts–particularly the last one about the GMAT/GRE–about an admissions process that we refer to as “simple.” But I hope you find this information helpful. In this post we’ll discuss the requirement of a current resume, letters of recommendation and essays.

Your resume is kind of a no-brainer. If you are a working professional with an updated resume you should be able to submit it as-is. If you’re at the start of your career and don’t have one, or don’t like the one you have, you’ll need to spend some time creating a quality document. All standard business rules/best practices apply, and only in rare cases should a resume be more than a page or two.

You are also required to submit two letters of recommendation. They should be completed on this form and submitted directly from the author to the graduate college. They cannot be uploaded electronically; they need to be sent in as per the instructions. A common question is, “Who should I get to write the letters?” My answer is: Someone who knows you, is credible, and can speak to your likelihood of success in business school. If you are a recent graduate it might be former professors. If you are a seasoned professional it might be former supervisors or co-workers. There is no secret formula on this; you are simply trying to provide a third-party take on you as a candidate for the graduate business program. Another question we often get is, “Can I submit more than two letters?” The answer is no. Because of the volume of applicants more than two letters is not only unnecessary, it can (inadvertently) indicate that you aren’t following instructions.

Two essays are also required of every candidate. The topics are semester-specific and can be found here. The question we most often field related to the essays are, “How long should they be?” There is no rule on this, but generally speaking one page is maybe too short and anything more than about 2-3 pages is too long. I fully realize this is vague, and that drives some people nuts. 🙂 That’s by design; we want to see what you provide. Keep in mind that content is important but so is formatting (margins, font choice, etc.), grammar and punctuation.

Your resume, essays and optional cover letter can be submitted online (click here for the link) or you can also mail them directly to the Graduate College:

The Graduate College
Texas State University
601 University Drive
280 J.C. Kellam Administration Building
San Marcos, TX 78666

I’ll discuss this more in the final post, but I want to mention something that’s very important: In completing the components of your application it is, perhaps, easy to approach the individual components, complete them and then scratch them off your list. And that’s fine.But keep in mind that eventually all these items are assembled into a single, physical packet that will (literally) be in the hands of each member of the review committee. With that in mind I recommend that you create a cohesive application that shows attention to detail. The last thing you want is a hodge-podge of documents that make the committee member wonder why fonts don’t match, etc.

In the final post in this series I’ll discuss the optional cover letter, and what happens after your application is complete. I’ll also touch on some subtle things you can do to make your application stand out.