Every admissions season, we get one or two VERY disgruntled BSers who blow a gasket when they’re about three steps into the process of working with us. They rant and rave about how the feedback we offer is useless and worthless and OMG YOU SUCK ESSAYSNARK!
We try to make it clear ahead of time what you should expect when you sign up with us. We offer FEEDBACK on what’s presented – but we don’t tell you what to present.
Here’s the thing: We have seen a number of earnest BSers who manage to get, for example, their HBS essay in pretty darned good shape, using the services of us or some other admissions consultant – and then they bomb out during the interview. This is one main reason why the HBS adcom interviews everyone themselves. You can rewrite and revise your essay to the point where it bears no resemblance to you, the person who wrote it, but you’re not going to be able to revise yourself in realtime in the interview. You can’t fake it in front of Dee. If you don’t have your act together in the in-person meeting, you’re not going to make it into a school like that.
Honestly – and you may not like to hear this but it’s true – this is one key reason we stay more arm’s length with how we do our essay critiques. Not only does it need to be YOUR work – especially YOUR thinking and strategy – that gets you noticed by the adcom, but even worse, in our opinion, is when someone makes it to the interview when they should not have, and then they go through that even more massive heartbreak when they’re rejected. Now *that* is a blow to the ego; it’s pretty inescapable at that point that they are in fact rejecting YOU. If they reject you before the interview, it’s easier to brush it off.
We always offer the same level of insight, advice, and critique in response to BSer’s essays but we will never tell you what to write or how to fix things. We tell you what the schools are looking for and lay out best practices, and it’s up to you to interpret and make your work meet those criteria.
As un-PC as this may be, we have come to the conclusion that some of this disconnect in what we do, and what some people expect, is cultural. We have from time to time had an American BSer lose it in their interactions with us, but that’s less common (at least, they don’t typically lose it based on the feedback they get – Americans lose it in plenty of other ways!). More often it’s people from Asian cultures. Teaching styles in Asia are quite different from Western countries (not better or worse, just different), and it could simply be this type of cultural differences that get in the way.
It also doesn’t help that this process is inherently stressful, and inherently PERSONAL – and it’s unlike any other type of writing you’ve had to do before. Lots of built-up obstacles. We know that the pressure is on. We know that it’s not easy.
And we are pretty explicit already on who this is right for. Today we just wanted to offer this additional reminder that EssaySnark is a do-it-yourself process. We know what works in bschool admissions and we offer LOTS of advice and best practices on what that looks like. What we don’t do is tell you what to write. You need to figure all that out for yourself.
There’s plenty of other admissions consultants out there who do it differently, who are much more hands-on in how they work with you, and one or two of them* are even capable of giving good advice for getting in. 😉 We would much prefer that you seek out a consultant who fits your needs. Please don’t sign up with us if you’re not ready to roll up your sleeves and do some heavy lifting. The effort needs to come from YOU. We work hard on your behalf, too, but we already got into bschool. Now it’s your time to work through the process.
And oh yeah just as a reminder: We don’t offer phone consults, free or otherwise. Everything we do is in writing – tutorials, exercises, feedback, all of it is done via text. Yours and ours. If you aren’t ready to READ about how to get into bschool and STUDY the advice that we offer, and instead you want someone to TALK YOU THROUGH IT… we are definitely not the ‘Snark for you.
A huge part of the process of getting into bschool is knowing who you are, and then expressing that on the page in your essays. If you don’t know enough sitting here right now to recognize if you are, or are not, a good fit to the type of consulting services that we offer, then just please stop and think about it before proceeding.
We don’t like to make people frustrated and unhappy. We want you to get in to bschool. Our system most definitely works – but it’s not for everyone. We’d love to work with you if you decide that this is how you want to do it!!!
*OK, maybe more than one or two…. but man we see a lot of crappy advice being tossed around from so-called consultants. Caveat emptor, is all we have to say about that.