In general, I encourage my MBA admissions consulting clients to avoid acronyms whenever possible. Unless you need to use an acronym to save words, and unless you use the acronym more than once in your essay or resume, I suggest you spell everything out.
Busy admissions officers readers don't want to have to remember unfamiliar acronyms (abbreviated words). Keeping track of your arcane acronyms slows them down. Make it easier, not harder, to admit you.
That said, when you must use an acronym multiple times in the same essay, please follow these general guidelines:
Q: HOW AND WHEN DO I USE ABBREVIATED WORDS?
A: Typically, an abbreviation is spelled out at its first instance in an article, followed by the abbreviated form within parentheses; in subsequent instances, only the abbreviation is used. However, this is not compulsory for terms that may be familiar to the intended readers.
I work as an engineer for NTT. NTT is Japan's leading telecommunications company.
I work as an engineer for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ("NTT"). NTT is Japan's leading telecommunications company.
I work as an engineer for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). NTT is Japan's leading telecommunications company.
(CEO is a well-known, universal acronym, so you do not need to spell it out the first time)
Q: SHOULD I USE ACRONYMS IN ADMISSIONS ESSAYS?
A: Please avoid acronyms.
While they are effective in technical reports and internal communications for fellow practitioners, they have no place in admissions essays. Instead, use this opportunity to prove your ability to explain complex, technical information in a way that readers (and future classmates) can understand.
- Updated by Vince on Sat 20 Aug 2016
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