It’s so obvious. But the ‘Snark is sometimes slow on the uptake.
When a politician is running for office, then s/he will say the darnedest things in an order to win your vote.
When a Brave Supplicant is applying for bschool, so will s/he.
Whenever we hear someone say that School X is “the best” for what they want to go, we just go, “Oh? Then how come you’re also applying to School Y, Z, and Q, R, S?”
Sometimes they even say that they can “only” achieve their goals by going to School X.
Which, if you’re trying to convey that you’re a driven and determined seeker of success, sounds pretty lame.
It’s like blackmailing the reader of your essay: “Look, Adcom Person! I’m holding a gun to your head! If you don’t let me in, my entire life ENDS! It is OVER! I will not be able to achieve a single one of my many audacious and impressive goals in my life! You Must Admit!”
(to the insane asylum)
We finally saw the light and realized what this behavior is called. There’s a word for it. It’s called “pandering”.
Here is a great example – it’s from then-Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, the day of the Rose Bowl (college football, for non-Americans) which was Stanford vs University of Iowa:
Love my alma mater, but rooting for a Hawkeyes win today. #RoseBowl
— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 1, 2016
For anyone out there not aware of the U.S. political process: Iowa is one of the earliest primary voting states, way back in the ancient history of this very drawn-out election cycle we find ourselves in.
For the reason why this is pandering: Fiorina is a Stanford grad.
This article lays it out.
The M-W definition of “pander” as a verb does not actually sound like the thing that BSers (or Fiorina) do:
pander: to do or provide what someone wants or demands even though it is not proper, good, or reasonable
The schools do not want or demand this suck-up behavior. In fact, it’s pretty nauseating to see. It can be a real turnoff in the essays when it’s laid on so thick. It’s a recipe for sounding INauthentic, which is exactly the opposite of what gets noticed by the adcom.
Or to be precise: Laying it on thick like this WILL get noticed, but not in the way you want to be.
One online dictionary actually has “pander” as a noun, with the definition: “a pimp”
Ouch. But, yeah. We’d have to agree.
Don’t pimp yourself out in your essays. It’s totally superficial and fake. Yes you want to talk about why you want to go to School X. But there’s ways to do it without sounding like a flake. Or a sell-out. Or a soulless politician so desperate for votes that you throw away the common decency of rooting for your own school in a meaningless match-up.
You may also be interested in: