Background questions for online apps


Aug 25, 2018
DS is working on his MOC applications. In addition to the essay, there are many “background questions “ that have limits to the answers, but I notice that DS responses are generally far less than the max allowed. (For example, one question may have a 200 word limit, but he has answered in 60 words). Should he strive to fill up the white space ? Or is filling up the space less important for tbe background questions?
I don't believe in "fluffing up" an essay just to max out the requirements.

That said, I also don't recommend leaving money on the table either! In other words, your DS has 200 words to truly convey who he is to the MOC committee. If he can do it in less than that, then great. However I believe that he might have more to convey then what he has drafted.

One thing I have noticed about most candidates is that they find it difficult to "brag" about their accomplishments, so it is natural to leave out some possibly significant milestones.

I would ask your DS about things that may be missing in your observation, but don't push him if he is clearly uncomfortable about it. It is his essay and he has to "own" it.
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By “background,” do you mean basic demographic information and not the statement of “why an SA, why me, why this branch?” If that’s the case, then no, don’t fill up the white space if there’s nothing else meaningful to say. Save your breath — and the reader’s attention — for the more-meaningful essays. For background info, don’t say something in 100 words that could be said in 50.