This may come off as basic, or even insulting — are we saying that people don’t do this? Why actually, yes. When you’re so focused on establishing “school fit” that you’re tossing out names of your target school’s classes and clubs hither and yon, it’s really (really) easy to lose sight of what this technique…
This is gunna come too late for many of you — or maybe not.
Today we’re gunna talk about Stanford and every other “reach” school — but especially Stanford. And oh yeah, every other reach school. And probably every school you apply to that is competitive.
So we’re talking about everything.
The not-helpful advice for today is, You have to show up for this.
Phoning it in on your apps will not work.
That’s especially true for Stanford because of what they need to see.
You know how you were planning on talking about Touchy-Feely in Stanford Essay B?
Yeah, you and the other 8,171 people applying.
The very basic techniques that you’ve heard about telling the adcom stuff that you like about their school simply aren’t enough for a school like Stanford.
If you use that standard technique to mention Touchy-Feely for Stanford Essay B, then you a) need to know what Touchy-Feely is really about, and b) your Stanford Essay A better be showing some touchyfeelz*.
And the only way to do THAT is to a) take the time and b) be willing to dig deep.
Superficial answers are not going to cut it at Stanford.
If you’re sitting here now wondering, “Well shoot. EssaySnark just last week said I have to do the work or I’m not gunna have a chance. I know I haven’t done the work. I also know that Round 1 is an advantage for a school like Stanford. But if I haven’t done the work, I should just put it off till Round 2. Right?”
Sitting here today, when the clock is counting down to a deadline in a few days, then you’ve probably already made the decision for your Hail Mary or not. But if you haven’t, and had decided to go for Round 2 instead, then we hafta warn you:
Every year we work with at least a small handful of BSers in your shoes who recognize that they were phoning it in up to this point, that they hadn’t buckled down to actually focus on the hard work of figuring out this essay stuff. So they decide to punt. Round 2 it is.
And then what happens is, come middle of December, they suddenly wake up like a bear being roused from its winter’s nap too early, and they look around with blinking eyes and they’re all, “How did that happen? How did we get to December already?”
And then they futz around for another week, with even more easily-justifiable excuses like holiday parties and Christmas shopping, and then it’s time for eggnog and Rudolph and they still haven’t managed to write any essays.
So if in your heart of hearts, you know that that’s you…. Please do not punt till Round 2. Please just revert to your college days and do an all-nighter tonight.
Because if you’re gonna end up cutting corners and doing a mad dash at last minute craziness full of adrenaline and panic, you’d be in a better position to do it NOW when you do in fact have Round 1 shining its smile on you. It’s way better to do a half-a$$ed application in the earliest round when you’re competing against far fewer other half-a$$ed-ers. You’ll be just one of many half-a$$ed-ers in Round 2, whereas now, you’ll be more in the minority. Way better to stand out against a smaller pool of half-a$$ed-ers than to drown in the midst of them and not even get noticed at all in Round 2.
Or, maybe today’s post is not for you at all. Maybe you’re one who realized in August that “OMG IT’S AUGUST! ROUND 1 IS COMING!” and while it would’ve been better to have that realization in June, it’s still a valuable realization to have had then. And you got cranking on some essays, and maybe you sent them in to EssaySnark who said, “Nope, this ain’t it,” and you cried, and pouted, and cursed at us for awhile. And then you got to work. And when we saw your next drafts and said, “Huzzah! Yes! You’ve done it!” then you wrote back something like this that a real-life Brave Supplicant shared recently:
I am glad you like Essay A. After reading your initial comments, I realized [something specific to their Stanford essay topic]. Your advice allowed me to be authentic. Now I understood what it means to be authentic. It was a valuable lesson if it were not for Stanford application.
This process of introspection and digging deep really is not that much fun when you start. But when you get into it, and you keep digging, then often it becomes…. almost exciting. There’s something magical that happens when the pieces click together and you start to understand. When that magic happens, it’s vivid and visceral and very much detectable on the page of your essay.
Maybe you can get there in a furious mad-dash of writing tonight.
Or maybe this post inspires you to step back and decide that yes, you can do this introspection thing, and you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the time, and you know that Round 1 is useful but a stronger app in Round 2 is way better. And you start to work on that Round 2 application NOW and you keep working on it every day from today until it’s finished. And maybe that’s in two or three weeks, and you’ll have that app ready to roll in October. Or maybe it’s still not ready until almost the actual deadline in January. But you work it constantly, refining and thinking and being willing to throw it all away again and start over if necessary.
You decide to show up.
That can happen now, or next week, or not at all. But if you’re serious about schools like the Stanford GSB, it’s almost a 100% rule that it’ll have to happen at some point, if you’re gunna develop the quality of materials that the adcom will say yes to.
*Like, not literally. Your Stanford Essay A need not be about some kind of fraught emotional or distressing topic. But it needs to RESONATE. It needs to be real. Maybe we shoulda said that it has to be showing some touchyrealz.
Seems like we’re writing a lot about Stanford just lately. (Even those posts weren’t explicitly about Stanford — yeah, they’re about Stanford.) It’s because the Stanford essays are so hard! If you’re trying for Stanford, then first step is to pick up our Stanford Essay Guide. Because we go into a lot more stuff there…
Authenticity is just a concept. You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. It’s not like a question on the GMAT, where there’s only one correct answer and you can find out if you did it right (or at least, on a practice exam you will find out). Because it’s a concept, authenticity is not…
As a follow-on to yesterday’s post on joint MBA + Master’s programs and is it easier to get in, here are some specifics on how things are evaluated. Most universities handle admissions separately for each of their schools. It’s like each school — the business school, the law school — is operating individually within the…
We’ve previously spoken of applying for an MBA along with another graduate degree and today we’ll offer additional points to consider as you’re thinking about dual-degree application strategy, including the perennial question of “Is it easier to get in?????” New programs typically do not get that much interest, so app volumes are usually lower, which…
You’re digging into MBA application requirements and starting to think about exactly who to enlist for support in the form of letters of recommendation to be submitted with your bschool apps. Most schools require two recommendations; a tiny few including Michigan Ross want only one; a handful of specific programs want three (as of this…
EssaySnark has long been a fan of giving the adcom every reason to want to admit you and in the category of presenting a conservative approach to your app strategy, we traditionally have extolled the virtues of the GMAT over the GRE at least if you’re looking to get an MBA. We kinda cover this…
Thinking about seeing if your school will let you push out the start to your MBA?
Most schools will say, no problem! All you need to do is reapply next year and we’ll see about letting you in again.
They want you to apply for the year that you want to start. They’re not interested in managing their admits to future classes. Plus, most who ask for a deferral are only doing it to see if they can get accepted at some other school, and they want to keep their admit to this school in their back pocket as a backup. The stats show that a high percentage of deferrals that are granted never show up on campus. The schools often just issue a no-deferrals policy to nip all that nonsense in the bud.
It’s a case where YMMV, both in terms of how your specific school (and program) handles deferral requests, and whether you might be one that they’ll grant an exception to. Let’s look today at some policies we’ve seen schools post in the past – and please recognize that this data was gathered over a period of many years and some of it may have changed since then.
If you’re actively considering seeking a deferral for your current MBA admit, you’ll want to research the specifics carefully before proceeding with your approach to the adcom.
DEFERRED MBA ADMISSION – A FEW CASES
Duke is unusual in spelling out the full policy publicly — this is part of their FAQ as of 2/15/18:
What is your policy on deferred admission?
We encourage applicants to apply for admission in the year in which they wish to matriculate. If circumstances prevent you from enrolling in that year, you may request a deferral by writing to the Associate Dean of Admissions outlining all details surrounding the request. Requests for deferral will only be considered after May 1 for students who have already submitted their tuition deposit.
They then go on to specify that “Deferrals are granted only in the case of significant, unanticipated, and unavoidable personal emergency” and they give some examples.
If a deferral is granted, you are required to pay a non-refundable deferral fee of 3,000 USD. This fee will be credited toward tuition upon matriculation. If a scholarship is awarded in the year the applicant applies, this award is not guaranteed for matriculation the following year. Scholarship awards will be re-evaluated during the admissions cycle prior to matriculation.
So that means you need to first pay the deposit, and then pay an additional deferral fee. We’ve not seen a deferral fee before but it makes so much sense, and we wouldn’t be surprised if other schools adopt this practice, too.
Some other programs at Duke including their master’s in analytics don’t allow any deferrals . So it’s not only case by case (they’ll consider your circumstances individually) but it’s also program by program, not just one blanket policy for an entire school.
As of a few years back, Stanford built logic directly into their app form that will tell you whether or not you’re eligible for deferred admission, and they ask you what you want to do with the time between (only current students are eligible). They specifically say that you are NOT eligible if you simply fail to secure a visa as an international student.
Most people don’t apply to bschool with the intention of asking for a deferral later, though, so that’s unlikely going to help you much now. Also, if you were accepted to Stanford and now you’re thinking that you don’t want to go, well there’d better be a pretty good reason for it!!! Don’t assume anything. Yes they like you enough to admit you, but we’d be careful about pushing the limits of that. Stanford is very clear that they’ve admitted candidates into a specific class, and there are no guarantees that they’d find a spot for you in next year’s class just because you made it into the mix this time. We’d be pretty nervous about testing fate by taking a pass on a Stanford admit under the assumption it would work out again the same next year.
Other schools just say “no deferrals” and you can of course still ask, but like with a post-admit request for
free money a fellowship grant, be careful how you do so.
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We got an essay submitted for a freebie review last November and we spent a day reviewing it for everyone right before Round 2 (Stanford “What matters most and why?”) (tl;dr: getting rejected from Stanford is no indication of how you’ll fare at any other school). That being said, today we want to touch on…