Wanna know something?
EssaySnark wasn’t always this good.
We’ve been doing this admissions consulting stuff for a bunch o’ years now, and we’ve got it sort of figured out.
But you know what? When we started out, we didn’t have a clue.
OK sure, we were always good at writing, and helping people deliver their message.
But we honestly didn’t know what that message should be.
We didn’t know what the schools were looking for. What to emphasize. What to leave out.
We didn’t know what was important.
At the time, we were working for an admissions consulting firm and they just signed up the clients and sent them over to us. No training. No guidance. The hiring process was, “Can you write? Do you have an MBA? Great!” We’d been a consultant before, but we were left to our own devices to figure out the admissions part.
And guess what? That first year? Hardly any of our clients made it in. Like, two of them, if we remember correctly. We only had a very few clients anyway, and looking back, they all had some significant challenges in their profiles to overcome, but still, we totally did not know what we were doing when it came to the strategy of this bschool admissions game. All the inputs that go into the adcoms’ decision? All the factors to consider? We knew the basics, from having gone through it ourselves, and doing some poking around on the Internet, but that was all.
Yes, we helped our clients (their essays SUCKED before we chimed in). And, these people weren’t paying all that much money at the time (this was awhile ago, remember). We most definitely helped with their writing, and the resumes certainly were vastly improved. Their presentation was for sure better as a result of them working with us.
But did we know what we were doing? Did we really? Nah.
And, we’d wager to guess, anyone coming into the admissions consulting game is in the same boat for AT LEAST their first year of admissions. Because it takes some trial-and-error to figure this stuff out. You have to see what those inputs are that go into the process — and what the outcomes are, at the end. You know, like did the person get an offer? Based on what you told them to do? (Or maybe, should you have told them to do it differently?)
You do not want to be the consultant’s guinea pig. You do not want to suffer through their learning curve. If there’s one question you should ask your admissions consultant, it is, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS?
EssaySnark used to feel some guilt about those early clients of ours. But then we gained some perspective: It’s not like we gave bad advice; we just didn’t really give all that much advice at all. And, that many years ago, it wasn’t nearly as competitive. If they were really well qualified, they would’ve gotten in. (Not like today, when qualified candidates are turned away all the time.)
These days, we are simply bound and determined to do everything in our power to help our clients make the strongest pitch that they possibly can. By strategizing with them, and brainstorming with them, and coaching them in how to leverage the inputs of their applications in the best possible way.
And it’s turning out pretty good, all things considered.