We should not be surprised. This happens every year. But this year, we spent so much time explaining and exhorting about which round to apply in (and which round to not) that for some reason, we thought it would be different.
And here it is, not-early.
In fact, at this point, it is LATE.
OK, today is only the second week of December. Most schools have deadlines in about a month. One month is PLENTY of time to do a bang-up job on an application, even if you’re just getting started right now.
One month is NOT “plenty of time” to do a bang-up job on many more than that.
We are hearing of BSers who are planning to do FOUR applications for Round 2.
That’s, uh, what… ONE APPLICATION A WEEK??
C’mon people. This is ridiculous.
Even if each of your four schools has just three essays, that’s still 12 darned essays. And many schools have more essays than that. And many schools have HARD essays.
How do you expect to do a quality job on that many essays?
We’ve said it before and here it is again:
Essay-writing is a CREATIVE process. It takes TIME to get the brain to cough up content that will resonate with your reader. You should expect to do MULTIPLE drafts. Like, at least three, or even more, on every single essay.
THAT IS A LOT OF WRITING.
That is a lot of work.
Most of you have never written an essay in your life! (Or never written a good one.) Sure you got into college with an essay or two but in many cases that was TEN YEARS AGO. You need to do a better job now than you did then. The competition is, shall we say, a little steeper these days?
If you did not apply anywhere in Round 1, you have NO DATA to go on to know if your strategy will work. YOU ARE LATE TO THE PARTY. It is even MORE IMPORTANT that you take time to go through a process to create quality content. You must have a STRATEGY for each school. You must develop a THEME. You must know what your PITCH IS.
Slapping together a large QUANTITY of applications at this late stage is not going to guarantee you squat. In fact, it’s likely to cause you to NOT GET IN. Because slapping together essays means you have no strategy or theme or pitch. You just have slop.
People, this is what we recommend:
1. Take an honest assessment of yourself. Where are you at in your process? Is this realistic? How much time have you spent on your essays so far this month? (Today is December 8th, after all – if you were serious about getting all these apps done this month, you would have made SERIOUS PROGRESS already, wouldn’t you??)
2. Take a look at that list of schools. Have you truly evaluated your chances at these schools – are you qualified for them, based on your GMAT and GPA and work experience etc.? This would be a good time to be honest with yourself and perhaps pare down the list of targets based on what is realistic.
3. Do you really KNOW why you’re choosing each of the schools on your list? Every single school requires a different approach. This is why you cannot cut-and-paste your essays from one school to the next. Are you able to articulate why you’re a good fit for each of these schools? Why the school is a good fit for you?
Five rushed applications is not a strategy. Five rushed applications are unlikely to pay off – plus, it’s expensive, and potentially demoralizing when you don’t get in.
We had a “reality check” post like this in early January last year. It’s early December now, if we have this heart-to-heart with you earlier maybe it’ll help you take stock of things. We hate to get all negative on you folks but we really do want you to be successful — and we really do have a lot of doubts about how some of you are going about things.
TO BE CLEAR: We are not saying not to apply. We are not even saying not to try for four or five or X number of schools. We are saying BE HONEST with yourself. ARE YOU READY. ARE YOU AWARE OF THE WORK INVOLVED. Make some decisions to prioritize your approach and create an honest-to-goodness STRATEGY, and then we will be feeling more confident.
When we see people just now starting in on Wharton and Columbia and Kellogg and Booth, we have to wonder… what the heck have you been doing the last six months???? Do you really know what you’re getting into?
We want you to be successful, people. Now is the time to check yourself. We want celebrations, not sadness, in a couple months.
If you are one of the crazy ones, and you’re looking for a way to increase your chances of success with all your craziness, there’s still room at 30 Days of Essays – including availability in the Guided Tour! Stop on by and see what we’re up to over there. The whole point of the 30 Days Guided Tour is to help you define your strategy and develop your pitch. There’s even one slot left for Private Coaching!