International BSers especially often get frustrated by all the feedback they get from us in the Essay Decimator review process where we’re harping on writing problems.
Just a word of caution about getting help with English, as it could end up backfiring. The main reason that we provide critique and not editing services is because the essays need to be your own, and if other people do too much on them then it’s unethical and you’re going against the desires of the adcom in presenting your own work only. Many schools require in their applications that you attest that all the work is your own. That’s why we don’t do that type of editing ourselves in the reviews we offer (and obviously we never write essays either). So we just mention this as a warning about not crossing the line with what’s expected.
While it’s perfectly acceptable in other situations to get an important document edited by an English expert, that’s not OK with your MBA essays. We hate to use words like “unethical” when the implication is that YOU are being unethical by doing this, since it seems a little rude to be blatantly accusing you… but we have to call it what it is.
There’s a fine line between giving feedback on your approach with your essays, and writing the essays. Any review where your reviewer is changing the text of your writing is almost definitely crossing that line.
We realize that (most of) you would never intentionally be acting unethically — but that’s the thing with ethics. They can sneak up on you. Most people easily rationalize and justify their actions even when they veer into problematic territory. It’s unlikely that Bernie Madoff or the Enron guys or anyone involved in those operations were consciously seeking out to bad things that would so negatively affect other people. They were simply acting in their own self interest and the human mind has a way of making it seem OK to yourself.
And, sometimes, it’s simply a matter of not understanding the situation. Maybe you thought you were EXPECTED to submit perfect essays and that meant you should do all in your power to make them perfect, even if it means hiring an outside editor to fix them, since you know your English isn’t great. Or you thought it was OK to get a friend to do it.
The problems with this are:
- The English language bschools are evaluating all aspects of your application to see if you’ll do well in their program — including the English proficiency aspects. If you’re submitting work that someone else wrote — or even if they just “fixed” it for you — then you’re misrepresenting your abilities. You’re not going to have a paid editor go over everything you write during your MBA program. You shouldn’t be doing it now.
- The adcoms don’t EXPECT that a non-native speaker will have perfect English abilities. They just need to see what you’re capable of.
- The adcoms will have samples of your real-time, unedited writing through the standardized tests that you’ve taken. If the quality of those doesn’t match up with what you’re submitting in the essays, then that can be at least a minor red flag if not a major one in some cases.
The other problem is, if you get outside help on the essays like that, you can’t honestly answer the question when you submit your application and say that all of it is your own work. Wouldn’t it be nicer to be completely proud of what you submit and know that you’re putting your own best attempt forward based on your own personal effort?
And finally, the last problem is, what if your friend isn’t that good with English? And you don’t even know it? What if they make things WORSE? The biggest risk of all is that you get an “editor” helping you who has no clue about the best practices and proper techniques for writing essays for admission to business school. There is an art to this, specific methods of presentation that we coach you on. What if your well-meaning editor takes all of that stuff out? What if they muddy your message? What if your previous drafts were good and now they’re not? What if they edit out all of the good stuff?
Yeah, that can happen.
It’s why we say that friends don’t let friends read their essays.
It’s why we encourage you to talk to students – just not about your apps.
There’s so many ways things can go badly when you get too much “help” with the essays. Be conservative in how you approach this task, Brave Supplicant.
You are more than qualified and fully capable of doing this successfully on your own!