Yesterday we talked about why we don’t publish sample admissions essays — and yet, we totally get why you’d want them! You haven’t written an essay in years!! For some of you, maybe you’ve NEVER written one!
If you’re an international applicant coming from an educational system where mostly they use standardized testing as the process for admission to college, then you may be like, “What’s an essay?!!?” That might be even more true if you studied something like engineering in college, where essays weren’t really part of the mix. Even if you were a liberal arts major where you did essays all the time, you’ve never done essays for admission to graduate business school in a hypercompetitive environment where there was so much riding on them.
So yeah! With that as the backdrop, it totally makes sense why you might want to see a sample of a so-called “good” essay, to figure out the destination that you’re trying to get to, with this daunting assignment of writing essays for grad school.
But, that’s a misguided impulse! Seeing a polished end product is probably not going to help you! It could even HURT you!!
Instead, let’s see what might be the cause of your distress, overwhelm, or feeling stuck or stalled.
Because you just don’t know where to start? As mentioned above, you’re someone who’s not written essays in, like, ever? Telling you to write an essay is like telling you to fly a plane*: You know people do it, you’ve seen it happen, heck, you know how to drive a car… but fly a plane? Where to even begin??
Or, is it:
Because you’re a procrastinator, and you know it, and you wish you weren’t, but it’s just something you’ve had trouble with your whole life?
If that’s you, please don’t feel bad!!
American culture is incredibly productivity-based, and it can create a sense of shame or guilt when you end up messing things up for yourself yet again, by missing a deadline or doing that last-minute scramble. Procrastination creates so much stress, and it seems avoidable, yet many people end up caught in its jaws over and over. During that frenzied push, you know you’re not doing your best work, and often will feel guilty, but as much as you tried, you just couldn’t help yourself by getting started earlier.
There are many, many reasons why people suffer from procrastination, and we want to normalize it for all of you today! Procrastination is not a moral failing! There are many psychological and even biological processes that conspire against us when we’re trying to do something hard. It’s daunting! It can be super difficult to overcome them.
If you know that you’re a procrastinator, well… Stick around! We’re here to help you get and stay motivated! Today and every day from now until the deadlines!!
Here’s the biggest secret of all:
How to write an MBA essay
1. Fire up Microsoft Word or go to Google Docs and get a fresh blank file opened up.
2. Paste the essay question at the top of the page — we post all the major schools’ prompts in our directory of MBA essay questions
3. Start typing.
Yes, we said it. Open that doc and start typing.
Now, this goes against all the advice that we offer everywhere here on the blahg, about the power of OUTLINES as your key to the kingdom for final essay success.
But, the reality is, if you don’t know how to write an essay, you probably don’t know how to write an outline, either!
Another reality is that if you’re stuck with procrastination, then STARTING is the most important thing. Even if that means starting with something you end up throwing away.
Because the truth of the matter is, everyone’s first drafts will suck. That means you, him, her, everyone. First drafts always suck, for all writers. So, one key strategy to implement is to get through the first drafts as fast as you can so that the non-sucky drafts can start to emerge.
It’s just like when you don’t feel like working out. You’re sitting on the couch, and the afternoon is waning, and you know if you don’t do it now, you’re not gonna. But you just don’t wanna.
So what do you do?
The solution is to put on your running shoes.
That’s all that’s required in the moment of not wanting to work out.
PUT ON YOUR SHOES.
If you get the shoes on, more often than not, something will kick into gear. You’ll start to move towards the door. You’re committed.
And then you’re at the gym — or, hopefully right now, you’re foregoing the gym and doing a run around the neighborhood instead.
You didn’t have to talk yourself into doing the run. You just had to get your shoes on.
An object in motion stays in motion, right?
Let’s leverage that same opportunity here:
Don’t know how to start your essays for Round 2 applications?
That’s okay! All you have to do is start SOMETHING.
Open up a doc and start typing.
Literally, that’s all that’s required today! Before the day is over, you can get that part done!!
And then, just like putting on your running shoes, you will have the hardest part behind you: You will have started!
UPDATE: Oh look, we continued this topic again here!
*Unless of course you’re one of the many pilots who are here getting help through our military program!!! In which case, maybe substitute instead a project of making a wedding cake, as being similarly daunting of an ask?
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