Remember: Your first drafts are going to suck.

Whenever anybody sends in material for review by EssaySnark, we know that they think that it’s good.

Err well waitaminit… Sometimes people just phone it in. No idea why anyone would do that. After all if you’re paying for our help on your apps, we’d think that you’d put in the most effort possible to do as well as you can on everything before asking for feedback. You send in sloppy illogical typo-ridden crap to us, we’re going to get stuck on critiquing that. (Plus it may prove a little irksome, given all the resources available to you to do a better job the first time out.)

There’s a difference between a sucky first draft that’s sucky because all first drafts are sucky, and the phone-it-in type who just half-@ssed their way through, slapping some words together and calling it a day.

Today we’re talking about the sucky first draft phenomenon.

This is just how it works in any kind of writing.

Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of everything is shit.”

Yup, he said that, he really did. And he would know!!!

The difference when you’re not A Writer is that you may not realize that your first draft is shit. Or maybe you do and you don’t know how else to change things to make it better. Which is of course why you’ve enlisted our help in the process.

There’s also this thing called the Dunning-Kruger Effect which is a cognitive bias whereby absolute beginners – the unskilled – produce some work which they believe is much better than it actually is.

Yeah. That.

Now, despite the fact that your first draft will suck, and that when you send it in to us for review it will come back fully decimated (which is in fact why we named our review service that) you may still have trouble dealing with the fact that your precious essay-baby was obliterated by the ‘Snark’s critique. When you get your first draft critiques back, then you should take a deep breath, and recognize that everybody goes through this, acknowledge that perhaps you too fell victim to that cognitive bias thing we mentioned that everyone falls victim to, and then turn to this post on how to deal with the feedback you’ll receive. It’s very likely to be overwhelming.

Or, if you’re not yet at the point where you’re ready to submit any first drafts – ‘cuz like they haven’t been written yet – then we STRONGLY suggest you look into our Complete Essay Package, which is designed to help you identify and develop the building blocks of your pitch, in a step-by-step process. The Complete Essay Package is the best way to ensure that the essay reviews you receive back on those first drafts are not all full of “Nope, no, not gonna work” but are instead full of “Good to see you opening with this, this is important” and “OK, this has potential, but…” and “Maybe if you switched this around with that…” and even here or there a “Yes!!”

The fact that all first drafts are crap is the other reason why we always harp on BSers to get started early. (Translation: NOW.) Good essays come through revision. Revision takes time. This is not an overnight process – not if you expect things to hold together in a logical progression of thoughts that are targeted and specific, and that answer the question with the appropriate levels of insight and depth.

Sitting here right exactly at this point on the calendar is an IDEAL time to get started on those Round 1 applications.

We’re here to help when you’re ready for it!

($) Talking about transcripts

If you’re planning on applying to business school this Fall then there’s at least one important area you should get moving on now: Ordering your college transcripts. This is particularly important for international applicants who may be subject to unwieldy bureacracies in simply getting the transcripts in hand, AND – very important – if your…

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The secret of MOMENTUM

Today EssaySnark is going to let you in on a little life secret.

This can truly change things for you on a daily basis and on to forevermore.

This trick is especially relevant and helpful for those of you currently studying for the GMAT. (If you’ll recall from our post awhile ago, if you have yet to take the GMAT, then NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT!)

Here’s the secret:

When you work towards a goal, and you build up the momentum of actively trying to accomplish it … and then one day comes along that you ACTUALLY DO accomplish it … do NOT treat that as “Goal Finished!”

In other words, don’t put on your flight suit and go out on the deck of the aircraft carrier with a “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner displayed. Not just yet.

Instead, recognize that yes, you’ve got one major milestone behind you, but the PROJECT IS STILL IN PROGRESS.

This is crucially important – not just for getting all the pieces in line for your MBA application, but for any long-term complexicated project that you may undertake in life.

When you study study study and then you NAIL the GMAT test, woo-hoo congratulations!! That’s definitely worth a beer in celebration.

However, don’t then unplug yourself from the diligence of “MBA Prep Mode.”

What you want to do is cascade that positive energy and massive momentum of DAILY WORK HABIT that you’ve built up in the GMAT study zone, into the next step of the process.

If you consider your GMAT test success as “Done!” then what you’re doing is setting yourself up for a much more difficult experience: You are mentally closing the door on the project and wiping your hands of it. And if you take a vacation from that – either mentally, or temporally by letting all MBA application tasks wallow untended for a matter of weeks thereafter, well, it’s gonna be a lot harder to pick up the pieces again.

You’ll essentially be starting all over.

Everyone knows that an object in motion stays in motion.

Once you drop the ball on MBA application work, then you have to a) find the ball (where did that durn then roll off to anyway? is it behind the couch??), and b) decide to pick up the ball again (probably the hardest part!), and then c) actually bend your ass over and heave the thing up off the ground – yet it will seem as if it’s weighed of concrete now, since you won’t have picked it up in so long and the muscles you use to do so will go flabby.

Yes, flabby.

Yes, in just a few weeks.

Whenever you reach a peak in accomplishment, in any context of life, you should take a moment or two to be super proud of yourself – nay, even a little gloating and self-satisfaction (internally expressed) may be in order. But then without hesitation, you should pivot into the Next Big Thing, and start to tackle that.

If you don’t, you’ll be forever cursing yourself with Starting Overs, and Beginning Agains, and oh gawd I don’t wanna deal with its. If your attitude is always, ONWARD!!! well then, it’s so much easier to continually make progress. Leaps and bounds, even.

The hardest part of going to the gym is just putting your shoes on. Once your shoes are on, you’re going.

Putting the shoes on is a decision. For all changes, big or small, in life, it’s making that decision that matters.

Once you do that, everything is possible.

Go forth and conquer, Brave Supplicant! To bschool and beyond!


Want some more structured support – to help you get your shoes on? The Rd 1 MBA Countdown is still accepting sign-ups!

($) You cannot write your own letters of recommendation.

Nor, honestly, should you want to do so. Almost every time, what other people write about you (provided that they’ve been appropriately selected for the task) will be oodles more appealing and useful to the adcom – nay, even more POSITIVE and glowing – than what you would come up with about your own bad…

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($) “I need to go to a big-brand school because I don’t have any experience.”

Following up on the topic of our post about how a brand-name company can give recruiters confidence (but that it’s still not necessary to work for one in order for you to get in)… Today we want to talk about the value of the bschool brand and what you can expect in terms of future…

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The main reason why we think the GMAT test is better.

This is an admittedly totally and completely biased post.

This is purely our opinion.

Most of the posts here on the EssaySnark blahg are steeped in fact and experience. We do our best to be utterly objective and steer you as clear as we can using only actual straight-from-the-adcom heard-it-from-the-horse information.

Today? Nah. This is just how we see the world.

We’ve spoken to you before about how the GMAT compares to the GRE in the world of MBA admissions.

And we’ve cautioned you that there are some rebel adcoms who distinctly prefer the GMAT over the GRE (though their numbers are dwindling).

The thing is, the GMAT is hard.

That’s the main reason that many people look about for alternatives to it.

The GRE is hard too, but many people find it’s not quite as hard. Hard can be relative, right?

But even if all the adcoms in the world were really truly 100% agnostic in whether you submitted a GMAT versus a GRE score in your app … guess what?

We’d still believe you should go with the GMAT test.


For the perverse reason THAT IT’S HARD.

In case nobody has told you this before: Bschool is hard.

It’s likely going to be way harder than anything you’ve ever done before. Or at least, it’ll give those previous hard things a run for their money. There are very few people who find that getting an MBA is a cake walk. (Like, nobody. Not if they’re going to a good school.)

Taking the GMAT, when you could potentially “get by” with the GRE, in our opinion shows that you’re that kind of person. The kind who doesn’t get rattled by “hard.” The kind who doesn’t look for shortcuts and the easy way out. The kind who just sucks it up and gets it done. Even when it’s hard.

Or maybe, especially when it is.

Here’s an example of such type of person.

Relevant excerpt from that BSer Who Went Before, talking about his GMAT travails:

So I went back to the books, studying and practicing the GMAT even harder than before. It may be one of the toughest things Iā€™ve ever done, but damn did it feel rewarding when my score jumped 80 points and pushed me past my original goal!

We know many others who approach things the same way.

If you’re currently considering the GRE, there’s no problem with going that route. We’re not going to judge you if you do.

But if you are up for it, we’d encourage you to go for the gusto. Go all in. Put all your chips on the table. Choose the GMAT instead.

It’s not like the adcom is going to be privy to your internal decision-making process. It’s not like they’re going to see your score report and note some little asterisk at the bottom that says, “* This candidate was originally going to take the GRE and decided to do the GMAT instead because it’s harder.” They’re never going to know.

But YOU will know.

Yeah, it will be hard. You probably will need to work at it. Like, studying and stuff.

But that’s what you’ll have to do when you make it into the bschool of your dreams.

Why not start to build that muscle now?

Do the GMAT. Do it because it’s hard.

That’s not set-in-stone MBA application strategy. We’re not dictating the one and only way to go about getting in. It’s just our personal take on the world.

Sometimes, life is more fun that way.

Or maybe we’re just sadistic. šŸ˜‰

($) essay critique/recommendations: The most important piece of constructive feedback…

Many top MBA programs ask your recommenders to discuss a time when they had to give you feedback. The single Darden essay this year is asking YOU to discuss this. This is not a trivial question. As you think about who to ask to do your recommendations this year, you should carefully consider how your…

While much of the blahg is available completely for free, the content here is reserved for members with full blahg access only ($9.95/month, cancel anytime). Please login to view this content or purchase a membership – or return to the home page.