We always tell people to get started on their essays early. Here’s a true story to help you see why this is important.
Back in August, we started working with a Brave Supplicant who wanted to go to a top school. He had the resume of a guy who should go into a top school — great undergrad, awesome GPA, impressive work history, marquee firm. He hadn’t taken the GMAT yet. He started working on that and in parallel we started guiding him through the beginnings of an essay strategy.
Seeing as it was August and it seemed that he had all the time in the world, he didn’t make much progress on those essays. No problem, he was working on the GMAT. But then he delayed the GMAT ‘cuz his practice tests weren’t up to snuff. OK, that’s wise, we’ll go along with that … but please start on the essays. So finally he did. He puts together a first draft of a few…
And they SUCK.
That’s OK. Everyone’s essays suck at first. No problem, that’s what we’re here for.
We go through the standard review, and send over the feedback, and get new versions back….
And they still suck.
Then he takes the GMAT, and he bombs.
At this point, EssaySnark sighs a deep sigh and has THE CONVERSATION.
“Dude, are you sure you really want to do this??”
‘Cuz it sure don’t look like it.
If the wheels are falling off before you’ve even left the driveway….
“No no no, this is important, yada yada yada.” (We’ve heard it before.)
He goes away for awhile, and apparently he pulls it together, because he retests and manages to get a semi-decent score… not great but almost in the ballpark. We’re still concerned, but he’s gonna go for it.
And then we get another set of essays. (Yup, you guessed it. Suck Suck Suckiness.)
At this point, everything we write to him is couched in warning-label language: In our experience.. and Not sure if the adcom will… and Have you thought about other schools??
We were writing this one off.
Well guess what? He was admitted to [insert really impressive school here — yes that one] in Round 2.
Based on the (lack of) quality of this guys first X number of essays, we were sure he was a goner. The stories were unimpressive, no evidence of impact, completely generic, dime-a-dozen stories, looked just like a gazillion other guys we’d seen come through… And yet he did it. Right around like December 15th, the drafts that started coming through from him started being… good.
In fact, they started getting so good that we’d be grinning when we read through them.
We started having HOPE.
And then look what happened.
How did he do it?
1. He didn’t give up.
2. He started early.
Or maybe it’s because:
1. He started early
2. He didn’t give up.
He started early enough that he had time to sacrifice to his false starts and inept attempts.
Perhaps a certain amount of slacking off and dicking around is required for some people before they get it together and get serious. Maybe it is the false starts and inept attempts that actually resulted in success for this particular BSer.
If you’re one of those types, then you’d better get started soon, to give you enough time to indulge in all the ineffective bumpling around that you’re going to
subject us to suffer through before you find your heart and dig in and DO THIS THING.