We’re reblogging this very important – and timely! – post that originally went up in 2012. For anyone still scrambling on apps, we’re around to help! We can let you know if you’re ready for Rd 1 or if you may be in a better position by stepping back and re-evaluating your full pitch for Rd 2.
From September 2012:
“Is good writing more important than Round 1?”
But let’s try to answer the question directly:
I was originally planning on applying to my schools in round 1 and had made some headway but I recently was advised that since my writing skills need improvement, I should take some time to improve my essays and apply in round 2. Do you think it matters more to have an essay that showcases good writing skills than applying in round 1 and standing out that way?
Applying in Round 1 doesn’t actually help you “stand out” – but if your writing is really that bad, then that WILL make you stand out – and not in a positive way!
Round 1 is an advantage only when the application is strong. If the writing in the essays is not up to par, then by definition, the application is not strong.
The essays are your chance to shine. They need to show you in the best possible light. If they are hard to understand because of unclear sentence structure or ideas that don’t make sense the way they’re strung together, or if they’re riddled with typos, grammar problems, or even just mild punctuation errors, then they’re detracting from your candidacy. If there’s an overabundance of these issues, then they can keep you out of bschool.
You’ll be competing against candidates whose essays are PERFECT. If yours are not there yet – then go back to the drawing board. Spend more time with them. The CONTENT of the essays (the stories you tell, how you’re presenting your profile) and the CONSTRUCTION of the essays matter almost equally. Both go together to communicate your pitch. If the adcom will have trouble understanding what you’re saying… then it sorta defeats the purpose of writing an essay.
Now… the other very important consideration is, who told you that your writing skills are weak? The quick question you asked of us was flawless – and believe it or not, that’s actually unusual. Many times, the requests for free help that we get submitted through the blahg have some, uh, problems with how they’re written. Sure, that was a very short couple sentences that you wrote, not much opportunity to mess things up. But are you sure your writing is that bad? We don’t have much to go on – and writing an essay is much different than writing a plea for help to the ‘Snark – but… just make sure that you need to push things off, before actually making the decision to do so. If you don’t have to, it would be a shame to lose the Rd 1 advantage unnecessarily.
Hmmm…. we seem to recall some way to get a direct answer on this question… some sanity check thing — what was it again?
If you’re wondering if Round 1 is really an advantage… it’s IMPOSSIBLE to say without reviewing your entire profile, but for many applicant types, yes. This includes military candidates and the overcrowded pools of applicants from places like India and China. It also includes the more narrow pool of white guys in finance or consulting. If you’re in any of those groups, we strongly suggest trying for some first-round apps. Everyone will benefit from a first-round strategy, however. But, if you’re just not ready, then rushing to get rejected is not so smart either! Your essays need to be EXCELLENT. If you feel you could do more with your pitch, then step back from the essays and think things through. You may be just wasting your money by slamming an app in if it’s not the best it can be.
Be sure to read the comment that a 2012 BSer posted here when this went up originally.
- “Should I just put this whole thing off till round 2?”
- Proof that Round 1 is advantageous
- Who should definitely go for a Round 1 application
Finally, if you’re wondering about what to do and worrying that Round 2 is indeed where you end up, then good news! The Round 2 MBA Countdown with EssaySnark will start very soon! It’s a guided tour of what you need to accomplish every week from October through the Round 2 deadlines in early January. Check it out and see if it’s something that might be valuable for you. As, like, a kick in the pants or something. 🙂