The Darden 2013-2014 Application

Posted By SWatts on Jan 6, 2014 |

From The Staff of MBA
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The Darden 2013-2014 Application

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has released its application requirements for the 2013-2014 MBA application cycle. Below the essay requirements are detailed, along with several other application requirements of which to take note.

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines for the Darden Class of 2016 will be as follows:

Round 1: Applications due by October 15, 2013

Round 2: Applications due by January 7, 2014

Round 3: Applications due by March 27, 2014

Application Essay

Darden has been very ahead of the times in the minimalistic trend we are seeing across top business schools this year. Last year Darden required its applicants to answer only one essay question, and this year they are requiring the same, with only an ever so slight change in wording. The essay prompt will be seen on the application as it does below.

Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. What did you learn about yourself?
 (500 words maximum)

Last year, the prompt was the same except that the second half of the prompt asked “How did this experience change your perspective?” instead of “What did you learn about yourself?
” Although the wording is different, the general concept is still the same: Darden is inviting applicants to take a deeper introspective look into their own character and goals and to share that bit of themselves with the admissions committee. Darden not only wants to understand the experience that applicants choose to tell; they want to know the holistic change that the overall experience brought about, how the applicant handles challenges, and how challenges bring about self-awareness and reflection of one’s own actions.

Take note, however, that the essay requires a 500-word maximum. This limits the essay to approximately one page single-spaced in length. This means that your resume and core data sections of the application will have to be very detailed and concise.


The resume is a key part to the business school application. Darden requires a reverse chronological work history and an educational history. However, Darden asks that the resume not exceed one page. This may be a challenging feat for some applicants and will require for most several rounds of editing, so be wary of Darden’s desire for quality over quantity.

Letters of Recommendation

As per tradition with many MBA programs, Darden requires two letters of recommendation. Darden further encourages that both recommendations be work-related rather than academia-related. One unique thing about Darden, though, is that the admissions committee will allow applicants to submit additional letters of recommendation under the pretense that the additional letters will provide a further unique insight into the applicant’s character and experiences. This may be an excellent route for some, but consider this option with caution as well.


Darden requires that all applicants submit a GMAT or GRE score. Only the highest score taken is necessary to submit, and the school will not require applicants to send a hard copy of scores until the applicant is offered admission. Self-reported scores on the online application are sufficient. Additionally, all applicants whose degree is from a university where English is not the official language must submit a valid TOEFL score.

Other Requirements

Darden does not require official transcripts for processing the application. Applicants can submit an unofficial PDF version of their transcripts via the online application, or mail a copy of their transcript to the admissions office. Transcripts from a non-English-speaking institution must be translated and send to the admissions office. Lastly, the application must be accompanied by a $215 application fee.