You may have seen the headlines over the past year that application volumes at American business schools have dropped since 2016. While that’s true, it’s overlooking a critical fact: Application volumes at the subset of TOP schools that all of you are interested in went UP over the same period. Here’s some GMAC data to…
Is getting into bschool all about how high your GMAT is? No — unless you’re coming from a hypercompetitive sector. In which case it’s not all about the GMAT, but the GMAT can make an outsized difference for those in these ultra crowded pools. Which pools are the most crowded these days? We can’t claim…
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…
Calling all adcoms! Calling all adcoms! EssaySnark has a suggestion for you!
We’ve come up with what we think would be the PERFECT question for you to ask your applicants.
Why not ask people to write an essay on:
Tell us what other schools you are applying to and why, then explain why you feel our school is the best fit for you.
(And wouldn’t it be funny if multiple schools asked it?? hahahah EssaySnark is loopy, clearly!!)
Everybody knows that every applicant is applying to a gazillion other schools.
Many applicants get very deer-in-headlights on the questions within the app dataset where some schools ask that the applicant disclose other schools that the applicant is trying for. (That was a weird and convoluted sentence. We hope the sentences you write in your essays are not as confusing as that one!)
Well, an essay question like this one would bring it all out into the open!
Not only would it let the school hear what the candidate has to say about their selection strategy, but it DEFINITELY would let the adcoms see the more authentic and honest answers from the ones who are full of it! You wouldn’t be able to hide. You’d have to do the research and show why you were choosing them. If you didn’t, it would be so obvious. You wouldn’t be able to just make stuff up.
And, hey!! The adcoms would get valuable intel! They’d hear all sorts of very useful market impressions about their competition.
We’re telling ya, this is a BRILLIANT question for the adcoms to ask.
The main reason they wouldn’t?
It might suppress app volumes.
If a question is too hard, then the theory is that some people may not bother applying. That is only true for the more mid-range programs, in our estimation. Harvard could require that you send in a kidney with your app and they’d still get 10,000 applicants each year.
Other schools, where there are too many substitutes, many applicants would just take a pass, and try for one of their peers. If Darden’s question is too challenging, then someone may say, screw it, I don’t want to go to Charlottesville anyway, and they’ll apply to Ross or Cornell instead.
So that possibly could happen.
Or not. Because probably, the applicants wouldn’t realize how challenging this question is until they already get into the middle of trying to write it!!
Anyway, there’s our contribution to the MBA admissions peeps out there.
Not that we think too many of you are paying attention to this little corner of the interwebs.
But you never know.
Sorry peeps, have to offer this Public Service Announcement. We’ve covered this before: Another warning about incompetence in this industry. Does your MBA admissions consultant know this? Sorry but this is ridiculous: Predicting your chances based on profile stats How admissions consultants can actually damage your chances at Stanford. Et cetera. Today is Exhibit #17,387…
We have so much sympathy for you BSers. You’re out there, trying to navigate this complicated process, and there’s so much advice tossed about. Despite how self serving it is for us to write posts like this, we feel compelled to do so when we are faced with so many instances of blatant incompetence in this industry.
Following a full (and unfortunately, fairly pessimistic) assessment of a BSer’s academic history through our Overcoming Bad Grades App Accelerator we got this in a follow-up comment:
To be honest, your review for my grades got me thinking a lot, as I have not received any negative feedback till date from anyone on my profile. Even the consultant I worked with for Tuck was very confident about my chances, even though they had reviewed my transcripts. Anyway, that is all in the past.
It’s a real shame that your previous consultant did not steer you in the right direction on these issues. We hear of similar problems from our colleagues in this industry all the time and it’s so sad when it’s guys like you who are the ones to suffer from it. 🙁
This BSer’s grades in college were not just borderline, they were really quite low. It’s possible that you could look at a final mark or CGPA number and not recognize how poor the performance was. We’ve made that mistake at times.
It also takes A LOT of experience to know how to evaluate foreign transcripts. It’s one of the hardest things to learn in this field. If your admissions consultant does not have extensive experience in doing this, through working with dozens and dozens of other candidates, then you’re at a disadvantage.
If you’re an American applicant, then presumably any American consultant will be able to handle this if they’ve been doing consulting for a reasonable time. However, not every American consultant can work their way around an international transcript, as this BSer discovered — but only after spending a full admissions round with that consultant, and getting zero results with them.
Overlooking or misunderstanding a weakness like this is understandable, but it is not excusable.
Same thing happens with U.S. military applicants, by the way. That profile type used to be a shoo-in for admission; a candidate transitioning from the service was so unusual and sought-after that even with some real weaknesses on the application, it would not be difficult to get an admit to a very good school. That means that pretty much any admissions consultant could have success with that profile — because that profile would make it in anyway. These days? It’s a different landscape.
If the consultant you’re considering does not have a track record of success helping people like you position their apps for the win at the schools that you are targeting then we would suggest they may not be the right fit.
You may also be interested in:
We know many BSers are itching to get started on their apps and we keep getting asked, “When is School X gonna release its questions?”
We did a full post on this last year which covered app / question release dates for 2015. Based on that, here’s what you can expect from here.
Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Ross, NYU and Haas already have released questions and maybe UCLA too (we can’t tell if their site is saying it’s same requirements for 2017 or not). We’ve already released an updated SnarkStrategies Guide for Stanford GSB, Harvard HBS and Columbia, so if you’re trying for any of those, you can most definitely get started now!
(Pro Tip: YOU CAN GET STARTED NOW ON ANY OF THEM!)
This is one reason for a rare Saturday post – it’s the weekend – we’re encouraging you to actually do that! Like, TODAY!
The other schools will all have questions coming out soon as well. How soon? Here’s when that happened in past years.
2015: July 8th app opened with essays and deadlines (no pre-announcement of details)
2016: June 17th essay questions announced
2017 estimate: SOON! (we expect essay to change)
2015: May 7th deadlines announced; essays announced in June
2016: June 16th essay questions announced
2017 estimate: SOON! (we expect essays to change)
2015: May 7th essays and deadlines announced
2016: June 24th essay questions announced
2017 estimate: Adcom says app will be out in mid-July;
2015: June 9th essays questions announced
2016: July 5th essay questions announced
2017 estimate: Around July 10th (we expect essays to change)
2015: June 15th essay question announced
2016: July 1st essay question announced
2015: June 17th deadline announced; essays were not confirmed until app opened on July 22nd
2016: July 7th (?) essay question announced
2017 estimate: Around July 1st (we expect essays to change)
2015: July 8th app opened with essays and deadlines (no pre-announcement of details)
2016: June 14th deadlines announced, essays came later (ack it’s a hole in the data!)
2017 estimate: Around July 15th (we expect essays to change)
Unless noted above, these are EssaySnark’s estimates for 2017.
Now let’s get more practical:
Your essays will be better – and you can save $$$! – if you start now.
We try to make both of these points very clear:
1. You need TIME to develop good essays.
We do not recommend waiting till essay questions for your school to come out before starting on your essay strategy! If you read our school questions page for your target school, you will be able to see what they have asked before, and you’ll get an overview of what that school cares about.
Is it career goals? Many schools are very focused on that. Are you able to present your short-term and long-term goals effectively? Like, can you do it right now, reading this post? You need solid career goals for Columbia and Berkeley, and it’s likely that Wharton and Tuck will also have essays on goals. (Want help? The Career Goals App Accelerator or for many of you, the MBA Career Goals Planning Guide for Entrepreneurship, will get you started!)
Is it accomplishments and achievements? All schools are focused on that but that doesn’t mean they’ll end up as essays per se. You still need to be able to show your achievements and professional readiness in the app, even if you’re not writing an essay on it! THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL SCHOOLS! (Want help? The Accomplishments & Achievements App Accelerator is your answer!)
Is it personal qualities, and life experience? Or commitment and values? Fewer schools are outwardly focused on this, and yes, it makes sense to tackle such topics through the confines of an actual essay question. But these schools already have their questions out, for the most part! Yale and Stanford and Berkeley Haas and Ross are all looking for essays on these topics. You’ll want to pick up their respective SnarkStrategies Guides as the best resource — and yes, all of those will be updated soon if they haven’t been already!
In addition: Your first drafts are going to suck.
You canNOT wait to start your essays until two weeks before the deadline and expect them to be as good as they could possibly be. You need time – that composting thing we’ve been talking about recently. You also need time for the standard cycle of:
– Write a bunch of stuff and think that it’s totally good
– Submit it for feedback and EssaySnark tells you it’s actually not
– (two weeks go by)
– Come out from the corner where you’ve been pouting and try again
– Read read read and read some more. Devour the blahg. Study the resources we’ve been pointing to all along. Think think think (ouch this part hurts!). Try writing another draft. Throw it away out of discouragement. Sit on it for awhile. Come back – AHA! lightbulb – write something that you think may actually be on target.
– Submit it for feedback and hold your breath
– Cry again but this time in relief because EssaySnark said it’s on track and it has potential
– Revise revise revise
That is how you write good essays. That does not happen overnight.
And oh hey look!
2. You will save MONEY if you start now!
Now that we’ve actually got your attention…
Here’s some data. Two totally different BSers from last season who both made it into the schools of their dreams. One started crazy early like we don’t even know if anyone has ever started this early before (we’re talking YEARS ahead of their planned applications) and the other started ohkindalate.
Here’s how much they paid for the exact-same EssaySnark services:
Brave Supplicant #1
Brave Supplicant #2
First Essay Decimator purchase:
Total price paid for these services: $1,583
First Essay Decimator purchase:
Total price paid for these services: $1,822
You see, EssaySnark pricing goes up as we get busier. That’s how this supply/demand thing works. We incentivize you to start early by offering lower prices as encouragement. We’re already so busy with other motivated BSers that we will most definitely be raising prices again soon (we’re even wondering if this might be the first year we have to shut the doors on new sign-ups based on capacity). You can bet that if you wait till August to sign up, it’s going to be more expensive than if you start now (heck, if you even wait till July…).
The other advantage of course is that BSer #1 was done with their essays much much earlier and was not sweating around deadlines. BSer #2 ended up paying significantly more than this in Speedy Review add-ons, whereby you can get super-fast turnarounds, because they were up against the deadlines; we did not include those charges in the above costs because they are optional. These data are core services only. Start now and you’re not going to be at risk for any such add-ons once Snarkville gets crazy and our dance card starts to fill up. You’re going to be done early, and boy, won’t your Future Self be thanking you!
If you’re sitting here thinking, “But wait, how do I work on my essays when the essay questions aren’t out yet and I only have 60 days on the Essay Decimator subscription based on EssaySnark’s terms of purchase?”
Well, there are options:
1. The Complete Essay Package has a whole heckofalotta other steps to start on BEFORE you’re gonna write a single word of a single essay. It includes all the App Accelerators referenced on this page. Those’ll keep you busy for at least two weeks!
2. We can’t guarantee this, but we’re assuming all of the schools will have their essay questions out in the next month. That gives you another month to do the essays. That should be plenty of time to work through the two-stage review process on any of the Essay Decimators we offer (HBS or Standard).
3. If you are diligently working on your essays and you simply run out of time, we will always entertain well-intentioned requests for extensions. If you’re a slacker, an extension can be purchased at an additional fee to reactivate an expired service. No, you can’t warehouse services; you can’t buy stuff now at early cheaper pricing and expect to get a free extension later if you aren’t actively working on them. That defeats the entire purpose of our subscription model and it just won’t work.
So that’s our pitch for today.
Whether you use EssaySnark or not, please take this opportunity – you have the whole weekend ahead of you! – to START ON YOUR MBA APPLICATIONS!!!!
We’re obviously around in case anyone has questions.
Good luck with those apps this year, Brave Supplicant!!