last updated 8/22/17
Thinking about enlisting EssaySnark’s services with your applications? Here’s some answers to common questions about how things work when you decide to actually give us money for stuff. All of our products and services are sold on a subscription basis – meaning, you have a finite period of time before it expires. Details are provided on each product purchase page and below. If you go for consulting services, then please also check the Subscribers FAQ once you log on to My SnarkCenter.
- Are you working through the holiday?
- Do I have enough time to enlist your help?
- I’m in a hurry – can you help me now? Like, NOW???
- Tell me about this Speedy Review thing.
- Do I have to pay to read the blahg?
- If I decide to pay, how much will it cost me, and am I locked in forever?
- If the monthly price goes up after I sign up for a membership, do I have to pay more?
- What do I get with my blahg membership?
- How can I find the good stuff? Is there a Search function?
- Can I save or bookmark a post to make it easy to find it again?
- How can I get free access to the blahg?
- How do I cancel my membership?
SnarkStrategy MBA Guides
- What books are available?
- Will you be releasing a SnarkStrategies Essay Guide for School X? Or updating last year’s version of School Y’s guide?
- What do I need to view the online versions?
- How much do they cost?
- How can I get one for free?
- What about a discount? How does this “bundle” thing work?
- I bought a guide but I don’t have access. Halp!
- I want to buy a guide but it won’t let me. Double Halp!
- I bought a guide but it won’t display. Halp Halp Halp!
- What exactly is this Accelerator thingamajig?
- They look like a lot of work. How will they “accelerate” my apps?
- I want to do them but they’re too expensive.
- I want to do them but it’s too late.
- What if I need more help? Can I ask questions about the feedback I receive? What about resubmitting a new version and getting it reviewed again?
- How long will I have access to the App Accelerator tutorial?
- What happens when my subscription expires?
- What are the technical requirements for the App Accelerators?
- I can’t view the App Accelerator tutorial. Please Halp!
Essay Reviews (aka the “Essay Decimator” service)
- Will you write my essays for me?
- OK fine, will you edit my essays then?
- My drafts are really long. Can you tell me what to cut?
- I just want you to tell me directionally if I’m on the right track. Can’t you do that?
- My drafts are still longer than they’re supposed to be. Will you please review them anyway?
- I’ve written multiple versions of one of my essays. Will you review all of them and let me know which one is best?
- Why is this service called an “Essay Decimator”? Why can’t you just use regular names?
- Which one should I get? How much does it cost?
- Can you help me with (name your school) and their specific requirements for XYZ?
- How about sample essays? Can you kick me down some of those?
- How long do I have to submit my drafts?
- What if I need more than two reviews? Can I get a previously-decimated essay rechecked again?
- I want to buy another Essay Decimator review but it won’t let me. EssaySnark, please take my money and help me with this next application!
- I know your prices are cheap and all, but how ’bout you kick me down a discount? Cut me a deal, EssaySnark!
The Complete Essay Package
- How is the Complete Essay Package different from the App Accelerators?
- The Complete Essay Package is expensive. Do I need to buy one for each school I’m applying to?
- I’m a procrastinator. This thing sounds perfect!
- I already bought some of the services that are included in this package. Can I get a discount?
The 4-School Set
- How is the 4-School Set different from the Complete Essay Package?
- How long do I have to complete all my apps using the 4-School Set??
- What happens if I get accepted and don’t need the rest of the services anymore? Can I get a refund on the other schools in the set?
- I already started working with you. Can I upgrade to the 4-School Set?
- What is an “MBA resume”? Can I use my new-and-improved resume for my job search?
- After I revise my resume for my MBA apps, can I use it for my job search?
- Do I need to customize my resume for each school I’m applying to?
Feedback (for paid services)
- How is feedback returned?
- How quickly will I get feedback?
- Why can’t you just tell me what’s wrong with my stuff over the phone?
- No really. Why won’t you get on the phone with me?
- Can I ask follow-up questions? What if what you say doesn’t make any sense?
Free Essay Reviews
- How do I submit my essay for a free review on the blahg?
- When will you post my free review?
- You reviewed my essay! Howsoever might I be able to thank you, EssaySnark?
- You suck. I want a refund.
- I changed my mind. Can I get a refund?
- But I didn’t use the whole thing. Can’t I get some money back?
Confidentiality and the A-hole Factor
- What are the technical requirements for the App Accelerators and SnarkStrategy Guides?
- How will I submit my stuff to you for review?
- I thought I signed up but I don’t have access to anything?
- A strategy guide or tutorial won’t display.
- I forgot my password.
- Help! I’m having other technical problems – something is not working. What do I do?
- What is a BSer? What does STBBS mean? Why is it called the “blahg”?
- Why are you doing this?
- Are you a real person?
- What’s with the weird anonymity thing? Are you hiding something?
- Why don’t you offer free consults like other admissions consultants do?
- I’m in the military. Any special deals for me?
- I thought your prices were lower, now they’re higher. Why do they keep changing?
- I have other questions – please help me EssaySnark!
Do I have enough time to enlist your help?
Probably. We have plenty of options available for any level of support you want. Have essays ready and want to get them decimated? Or feeling anxious and want a check on the full app before you submit? We have Speedy Review available. We can even get through the entire Complete Essay Package in less time than you might expect – no it’s not ideal but it can be done! The quickest we’ve seen is ten days. All options are described in our MBA Admissions Consulting Menu and on the individual product purchase pages, we tell you our historical average turnaround times for various services.
Once you sign up for consulting services, you’ll be able to monitor throughput on submissions through the Review Queue in My SnarkCenter. Instructions for purchasing a Super Speedy Review are available there too. Please be sure to read the Subscriber FAQ in SnarkCenter when you sign up to learn more on all of these details.
If we become overbooked with supporting current BSers, then we will post notices in the header of the site about restricted availability.
Are you working through the holiday?
Yes! We always are available nearly 24/7 in the days and weeks approaching a deadline. From here through the Labor Day holiday through Round 1, we are on duty and working to support all of you Brave Supplicants. Standard turnaround times apply and many people decide to purchase Super Speedy Reviews to make sure they get their feedback the quickest, but lots of BSers do just fine with meeting their deadlines through standard services and no add-ons. The individual product pages indicate standard turnaround times which vary from 2-3 business days depending on what you’re getting reviewed, or same-day to next-day (weekends/holidays included!!) for the Single Shot Express Essay Decimator. If you’re a new BSer, please read through this entire FAQ to learn how things work in Snarkville, and then check out the Subscriber’s FAQ in My SnarkCenter once you’ve signed up for services.
Also please note that while EssaySnark is near constantly slaving away on reading your essay submissions, Team EssaySnark handling customer service questions are typically around during standard U.S. business hours. If you’re a new BSer who has contacted us with questions on services, please be patient for them to respond – or, keep poking around here on the site, there’s plenty of answers available to most everyone’s queries already!
I’m in a hurry – can you help me now? Like, NOW???
Yes we can!!! Please sign up for whatever you’re needing help with and we’ll get started right away!!!! We are on deck to support you and can make it happen.
Tell me about this Speedy Review thing.
You can get extra-special super-fast make-it-happen-now turnaround on your essays, resume, or anything else you’re submitting for a paid review in My SnarkCenter using our Speedy Review Add-On. Pricing is usually $100 per submission in the Review Queue, and it entitles you to jump ahead of everyone else and get your stuff returned the fastest. Speedy Review is how you can get EssaySnark to turn around feedback on weekends and holidays — in most cases, on the same day that you submit payment. Speedy Review is not needed for the Single Shot Express Essay Decimator, since by definition, that one already gets you quick feedback. Please see the Subscribers FAQ in My SnarkCenter for complete details and sign-up instructions, and also please review the information on turnaround times and other terms and conditions in effect for the consulting service you’re interested in, as spelled out on their individual product purchase pages.
Do I have to pay to read the blahg?
Nope. We publish plenty of content about bschool admissions for free – at least one article a week is available to the public, and much of our archive is also accessible. Running a website has costs, and of course we appreciate those who sign up for a membership. We wrote about our decision to implement the membership option in this post in August 2012.
Part of our mission is to level the playing field and make accurate bschool admissions advice available to all. We don’t expect everyone to pay. You can partake of some snark on a regular basis without ponying up a single dime.
If I decide to pay, how much will it cost me, and am I locked in forever?
Current pricing and sign-up options are available here. Prices may change at any time.
Memberships are automatically billed to the credit card you used to sign up with on a month-by-month basis for six months total or until you cancel the membership. It is up to you to ensure that the membership is canceled when you don’t want it anymore. You can cancel membership at any time through My Account.
If the monthly price goes up after I’ve already signed up, do I have to pay more?
No. The price you agree to pay when you first sign up is what you’ll pay throughout your membership term. If you cancel a paid membership or if your term runs out and you want to re-subscribe, you will need to do so at whatever price is in effect at that time.
What do I get with my membership?
Blahg members get full access to all blahg content on essaysnark.com for the duration of their membership term.
In addition, blahg members can submit an MBA admissions question or an essay to be considered for free review on the blahg. See our Contact page for more on that. One request (with one essay) per member.
Blahg members can also bookmark their Favorite Posts and view them from My SnarkCenter -> My Favorite Posts. This is a convenient way to keep track of stuff that you want to reference again. There’s often great value in going back to re-read a snarky resource later on, after you’ve been doing the hard work of digging through essay drafts for awhile. The Favorite Posts lets you find important topics for easy reference. (Note: All logged-in users can “favorite” a post, but the index to your favorites is displayed only to active blahg members.)
How can I find the good stuff? Is there a Search function?
You bet! There are a variety of navigational aids built in to help you find important content on the blahg:
- For Search go to the main page of essaysnark.com and locate the search box in the right-hand column
- To browse by Category – for example, “planning your strategy” or “selecting schools” – click the Categories dropdown box also in the righthand column of the main essaysnark.com page
You can also find related posts in a category through the “Filed Under” list at the very bottom of each post.
With over 1,800 posts (as of March 2017) we’re certain that the topic you’re looking for has been discussed here before!
We also list articles specific to a particular school towards the bottom of their school info page.
And, very helpful: There’s an index of articles that went up around this time in previous admissions seasons displayed on the front page of essaysnark.com. Look for the list of posts grouped by year in the righthand panel. This will give you direct access to timely information that we happened to be focusing on at this stage of the game in past years, which is likely to be very relevant to what you need to be paying attention to in your application process today.
Can I save or bookmark a post to make it easy to find it again?
Yes! Blahg members can use the Favorites feature. Click the Favorite This Post button at the bottom of any post that you want to keep track of.
To view your current favorites, go to the My Favorite Posts on the SnarkCenter menu. The Favorites feature and your list of favorites are available while you have an active membership to premium posts here on the blahg. If you cancel your blahg membership, we’ll still keep track of your previous Favorites in case you want to come back and join up again later.
Is there any way to get free access to the blahg?
You bet. Most paid EssaySnark tools and services include a free blahg membership, typically a 30-day term, some longer. The super cheap services do not include blahg access. If you have an active (paid) blahg membership when you sign up for an EssaySnark service, then your recurring membership will be canceled (you won’t be billed again for the blahg under your original payment plan) and your blahg access expiration date will be calculated based on the term that you’d paid to date, plus the free month(s) from your qualifying purchased service.
Here’s an example: If your monthly paid blahg membership renewed on Oct. 11th for access through Nov. 10th, and then on Oct. 25th you buy the Comprehensive Profile Review which comes with a free 30-day membership, your recurring membership plan is canceled and your access is extended through Dec. 10th (as paid through Nov. 10, with the free 30 days added on). If you want access beyond that, you’ll need to sign up for a new membership plan, or buy another consulting service that includes blahg access.
How do I cancel my membership?
Your membership plan will auto-renew for five more months after your first month or until you cancel it. You can cancel your blahg membership from this screen (you can get there through My Account too). If you don’t want the full six months of access, then please make sure to cancel when you no longer need it. We cannot cancel for you, but the site allows you to do so yourself.
If you ever paid for any admissions consulting services, then you’ll continue to have access to your feedback items in My SnarkCenter for the remainder of the current admissions season even if your blahg membership has expired.
We are sorry, but no refunds on blahg memberships are available for any reason, though you can cancel anytime and you won’t be billed again after your cancel date. Otherwise, your membership will run the full six-month term that you agreed to upon signup. Please see full policy under Refunds.
What books are available?
We have published MBA application strategy guides to a huge number of schools, from Wharton and Harvard to Columbia and Ross and many more. A case-specific strategy guide is the MBA Career Goals Research Starting Point: Entrepreneurship which lays out the challenges and opportunities of pitching an entrepreneurial career goal in your MBA applications.
The complete list of all SnarkStrategy Guides is available in The EssaySnark Bookstore.
All guides are available in instant-access online version viewable through your browser. We publish that way so that we can easily update the content. Schools have been known to modify their application requirements after releasing them, so this gives us the ability to respond to such changes and make sure we’re delivering you the most up-to-date information that we can. That being said, we cannot guarantee that any guide is completely accurate or covers all details or circumstances. You’ll always need to go direct to the source and confirm the specific application requirements with your target school. We cannot be responsible for any errors. Complying with the application requirements is your responsibility alone.
Will you be releasing a SnarkStrategies Guide for School X? Also, when you will be updating last year’s guide for School Y?
All school-specific guides currently cover the 2016 admissions season (Class of 2019 applications). In many cases, the prior-year version will be very useful and relevant for the next-year app, however this is case by case depending on how much a school’s application requirements have changed.
For the 2017-2018 admissions cycle: Most guides are now updated, and we’re definitely working to get the others done too. It’s hard to say what guides will be updated or when, or whether any new ones will be published. For any future admissions cycle, we have no committed publication calendar. For the guides where there’s lots of demand, and where the application has changed dramatically in the current admissions season, then it’s likely we’ll be updating. We are also hoping to expand the list of titles that we offer to include more schools each season. If you are hot to trot for a specific guide, then please contact us to request it (or you could tweet us or leave a comment on any relevant page of this site).
How much do they cost?
Prices for each guide are set based on a very complicated proprietary algorithm.
(In other words, we just make them up.)
Prices range from $ 13.95 for the Interviewing Guide to $ 21.95 for the 2017 Harvard Guide. For the evergreen guides like interviewing and reapplying, you can find versions on Amazon (be sure to check that they’re the latest release though!). The school-specific essay guides are only available in online-viewing format here at essaysnark.com. Just be careful. If you buy a used copy of a school-specific guide through the Amazon Marketplace or ebay or whatever, it is guaranteed to be out of date. There’s all kinds of third parties peddling old snarky Harvard guides – even the 2012 version!! – as if they are new. It’s not much of a bargain if you receive it and discover that it talks about essays from five years ago.
Even if the school didn’t change its questions, we usually still do a full refresh, and in most cases a significant expansion of content. This is how we leverage the latest-greatest learnings on the admissions process that we have developed for that specific school. We give you a heads-up on what we saw BSers do in the just-past admissions season and how the adcom reacted, to better help you to avoid those common mistakes or take advantage of specific optimizations to your strategy for that school. Get the current-year guide. It’s always the most beneficial.
How can I get one for free?
What about a discount on multiple guides? How does this “bundle” thing work?
You can prepay for a bundle of 6 SnarkStrategies Guides – your choice! Current price is $ 99.00. Most guides are priced from $ 14.95 – $ 21.95 so you’ll save some coin this way.
The only guide not available in this offer is the Indian’s Guide to Getting In (sorry). [edited Spring 2017: Our Indian’s Guide has been decommissioned because it’s too out of date for the current admissions environment and we’re dealing with technical issues in updating it (bad decision on publishing tool originally). If you really want the Indian’s Guide we will let you have it as part of your bundle. Please email Team EssaySnark for assistance in getting it configured on your account after purchase.]
Here’s how it works:
- When you buy the bundle, you get online access to up to 6 of any of the currently-available or subsequently-published strategy guides.
- After purchase, go to My Strategy Guides to select the guides you want to activate.
- Each guide is available to you for 90 days from activation.
- If a guide is updated during the time you have it activated, you will instantly get access to the new edition as soon as it is released.
- You have six months from purchasing the bundle to activate all 6 of your guides.
Please note that there are no refunds for information products like this, and you won’t get any credit or discount or any money back if you end up not using all 6 guides. You cannot swap out or change activated guides once activated. If the 90-day subscription expires and you want to re-activate a guide (and you still have unused activations available), please contact Team EssaySnark and they can do so for you and subtract it from your remaining available activations.
We publish new guides throughout the season – and you may have different needs for different guides as you move through the process (e.g., Interviewing Guide, Waitlist Guide, hopefully the Accepted Students Guide!! etc.). You may not want to activate all 6 of your guides at once!
See pricing and full terms and purchase your bundle in The Bookstore.
What exactly is this Accelerator thingamajig?
Most of the App Accelerators are designed to be used before you write any essays. They help you understand what the schools care about and let you identify the best material from your career and life to present.
Each App Accelerator covers one key component of your application — your career goals, your accomplishment stories, your letters of recommendation, the resume, etc. There are two components: An online tutorial that explains the most important elements for you to cover when you develop your material, including gotchas and common mistakes to watch for. The tutorial helps you develop the appropriate material – your career goals or whatever – by working through a variety of exercises and brainstormers.
After you have studied the lessons and completed the exercises, you’re ready to submit your material for a personalized and private review by EssaySnark. This review is the second component of the App Accelerator and it’s what comprises the accelerator part — you’ll be able to quickly know what you’ve done well and what needs more work, before moving on to the next phase of app development.
The App Accelerators let you identify and harvest the raw material that you can use in your essays and interview. The feedback from EssaySnark will verify your strategy and give you an easy way to change direction if needed — before you get too far into your writing.
Different App Accelerators may be especially important for certain schools. If you’re applying to Harvard, for example, you may want to start with the Accomplishments & Achievements App Accelerator, and then after you’ve gotten your feedback from EssaySnark, you can roll into essay development using the HBS SnarkStrategies Guide (hint: we do recommend the Essay Ideas App Accelerator, too, especially for your very first school). For Columbia, the Career Goals App Accelerator is crucial. And so on.
Think of the App Accelerators as building blocks for the foundation of your applications to all your target schools. You only need to go through most of them once. The first few App Accelerators — on career goals and achievements especially — are what we call “horizontal”: The material you’ll develop there will be useful across all your apps. Doing one or more of these App Accelerators will make your entire process more efficient, since you’ll be mapping out the elements of your application strategy in a structured, methodical fashion, with direct guidance from EssaySnark on how good it is.
These things look like a lot of work. How will they “accelerate” me?
The biggest mistake people make in their essays is they start writing without knowing what they’re going to say. The fits-and-starts method is painful at best, and it rarely results in an optimized end product. The EssaySnark App Accelerators structure your process for you; they require you to think about your strategy and map it out first. Then you can start writing, and you’ll most likely be able to move through your drafts much more quickly and relatively easily.
Essay-writing is always difficult and painful, and it takes much longer than anyone ever expects. The App Accelerators make the entire process more efficient, and they reduce the amount of churn that you’ll go through.
Plus, they give you confidence, since you’re getting your strategy vetted at each step of the way by EssaySnark!
I want to do them but they’re too expensive.
The pricing for the App Accelerators is about half what it technically should be, given the amount of practical, hands-on advice offered in the tutorial lessons alone. We have intentionally broken down the entire application process into these basic building blocks. Each App Accelerator is exceedingly affordable (yes even if you’re paid in rupees) in order to make our services accessible to all.
The bottom line is that bschool is expensive. You’re making a bid to change your life. Everything about this process is an investment. There are plenty of tools and resources published for free on the EssaySnark blahg; please use those if you don’t see the value in the App Accelerators and our other options.
I want to do them but it’s too late.
If you’re starting from zero on your essays, there’s probably still value in going through one or more of the App Accelerators even if your applications are due, like, on Tuesday — but we cannot guarantee turnaround times for reviews of materials when the App Accelerators are purchased at the last minute. Basically, if you’re that frantic and rushing up against a deadline, then it’s quite likely you’ll have trouble in adcom review. Application strategy and essay development just take time. If you’re scrambling this much now, then you should consider pushing off your plans to the next round/next season.
That being said: Yes, we do offer Super Speedy Review at an additional fee, and we’ve supported panicking BSers on ridiculously short timetables. Please see the Subscriber FAQ in My SnarkCenter for adding Speedy Review to your submission.
What if I need more help? Can I ask questions about the feedback I receive? What about resubmitting a new version and getting it reviewed again?
Yes of course; you’ll get to pose (reasonable) questions to EssaySnark through My SnarkCenter when you get your material reviewed. Please see the Feedback section of this FAQ for more. If you feel you would benefit from re-doing your material and re-submitting it, you can purchase a recheck of most App Accelerator submissions at an additional price, which typically ranges from $50 to $100, depending on the service and where we are in the season (most are $50; getting a resume re-checked following the Reworking Your Resume App Accelerator is usually $100; remember that prices may change at any time so you can send an inquiry to Team EssaySnark or post a question in My SnarkCenter to find out what rates are in effect right now).
What’s with these expiration dates? How long will I have access to the App Accelerators or the Essay Decimator?
Your subscription to each App Accelerator runs for 30 days from date of purchase. If you get the Complete Essay Package or Foundations, then you’ll have access to your App Accelerators for 60 days. For the 4-School Set, subscriptions are four months. Standard Essay Decimators are good for 60 days. A few one-off services like the Sanity Check are good for three days. Subscription go-inactive dates for all your purchased services are posted when you log onto My SnarkCenter and on the bottom of the receipt for any purchase made.
The reason we have time limits is both to motivate you to actually get stuff done, and also because we can’t run a business in any other way when there are so many procrastinators out there. 🙂 Without subscriptions, when the crush of deadlines hits, we’d be equally obligated to BSers who signed up in March and then dillied-dallied around for months and months, as we are to those who signed up yesterday and are motivated and ready to roll. This also lets us offer significant discounts on our services earlier in the season, to encourage you to do what’s in your own best interest: START EARLY. This can only be supported through our use of expiration dates on purchases. Pricing goes up as we get closer to deadlines, so if you sign up earlier in the season, you’re getting the best deal — and you have to use the services at that time.
Subscription extensions are available for purchase, but they are discouraged. Buy the service when you’re ready to work. If you have a subscription that’s about to expire and want to know what your options are to extend it, you can contact Team EssaySnark at email@example.com for assistance.
Once an App Accelerator subscription expires, you lose access to the tutorials and you won’t be able to submit new material for review, though anything submitted before it expired will still be reviewed. Previously-provided feedback will remain available to you throughout the admissions season. You can ask reasonable follow-up questions on the reviews you received for a week or so after expiration. We try to be cool about that but please don’t abuse this policy.
Also, with the exception of the Comprehensive Profile Review, no refunds are available on App Accelerators, since you have access to our intellectual property from day one of your subscription. For the Comprehensive Profile Review, a partial refund is available if requested before the subscription expires. Please see details on the individual product purchase pages or on the receipt from your purchase, and a further explanation of the refund policy under Refunds.
What happens when the subscription expires?
After your subscription for a specific consulting product like the App Accelerator expires, you will still have access to My SnarkCenter, your private client portal, including the feedback provided by EssaySnark on any submitted materials. However you will not be able to go through the tutorials within the App Accelerators and you can’t submit new materials for review.
The date and time that your subscription expires is listed in the righthand column on My SnarkCenter, along with the current time in Snarkville. Be sure to submit your work for review BEFORE that time, please!
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Essay Reviews (aka the “Essay Decimator” service)
Will you write my essays for me?
Oh you silly Brave Supplicant, you’re so funny. We know you’re just kiddin’ around to toss out a question like that! What a joker you are.
(To offer a more direct answer: Of course not. We do not, ever, write essays. If that’s what you’re looking for, please go somewhere else. Or better yet, recognize that that’s unethical and not at all the way to pursue success in your life. Yes, writing essays is hard – but we know you can do it! We’ve got tons of resources available here to help you.)
OK fine, will you edit my essays then?
Actually, no, we don’t do that either. Or to be more precise, we’ll do some of that – like, we’ll totally tell you if your grammar is screwy and we’ll point out typos and bad punctuation. With the Essay Decimator, you’ll get back a red-lined draft with changes marked using the revisions feature in Word. But we don’t do traditional editing in terms of rewriting sentences or suggesting new phrasing for clunky statements. That’s for you to figure out. (See related blahg post: Essaysnark is not an editor) You made your way through college. We know you can handle this admissions essay thing too.
What you’re paying for with our essay review services is the sum total of our years of experience working with successful applicants. The focus of our feedback and the massive value that we provide is a fine-level review of whether what you’ve got on the page will get you noticed by the adcom – in a good way. You’ll get a detailed critique on your content, in terms of its suitability as a bschool essay and how effective it is as part of your pitch for admission to your target school. Editorially, we tell you if your sentences just don’t make sense and we let you know if the flow is messed up. We’ll definitely suggest ways to improve all of this, too. But what you get from EssaySnark that is so critical to your process is a review from the perspective of the adcom, to find out if you’re headed for delight or disaster with your current writing. See “How is feedback returned?” for more.
All of this is done through our service called the Essay Decimator — and yes, it was named that for a reason, since most BSers’ first drafts get ripped to shreds. It’s not easy to write a good essay, so be prepared for some revision when you sign up. The Essay Decimator can be purchased a la carte or as part of a suite of services like the Complete Essay Package.
To get the most out of these services we strongly suggest studying the SnarkStrategies Guide before you write those first drafts. That will walk you through the essential requirements of what should be – and what should not be – in essays for your specific school. Adopting those suggestions into your essay development process will save you a lot of time (and grief!).
As you evaluate other admissions consultants, also please recognize that a consultant who puts themselves too deep into your essay is not helping you. You want to get in through YOUR efforts, not someone else’s. And if you didn’t have a perfect 6.0 on the AWA and a high score on the GMAT verbal, then the adcoms could get suspicious if those essays come in too polished. This needs to be your work, and you will attest to this when you submit your application. With our support, you can make your work shine – while still behaving ethically and honorably.
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My drafts are really long. Can you tell me what to cut?
Sorry but no. Cutting down an overlimit draft is really about figuring out what you’re supposed to say – and that’s the applicant’s job. We don’t do that type of review because it is past where the appropriate line of input lies. The essays need to be developed from your thinking and strategies, not ours. That being said, our Essay Ideas App Accelerator is the ideal tool to get your outlines evaluated before you move to full drafts, and we can totally help you identify the best topics to focus on in that stage, so that you can streamline your writing process and make it easier to stay in limit as you get to the heavy lifting of writing out the formal essay.
I just want you to tell me directionally if I’m on the right track. Can’t you do that?
A “directional nod” is impossible for us to offer, *particularly* if the drafts are too long. If they’re not on track, it would not be helpful for us to say only that – we’d need to give you reasons. And if they are on track but just need to be cut down… well, that’s actually an impossibility. If they’re too long then by definition they are not on track. Part of the process of figuring out what to say is doing the mental work to focus your message. Reviewing drafts that are obscenely overlimit is a very sucky-poo task for the ‘Snark because it means your drafts are a mess. We would need to do even more work just to tell you where things are off. Instead, YOU need to take more time with it and make your drafts as strong as they can be… and THEN send ’em over.
Or, we have a great option called the Essay Ideas App Accelerator – you can learn how to construct well-formed essays based on type and then put your ideas into outline form for review by the ‘Snark. This is one of the very best (and more overlooked!) steps that any BSer can take in essay development.
My drafts are still longer than they’re supposed to be. Will you please review them anyway?
You can submit drafts for review that are a tiny bit overlimit – up to 10% at the most per essay. If they’re any more than that, then an additional fee will apply, usually $100 per each 100 words on each overlimit essay. If they’re more than that, then like we’ve been saying, we can’t review them until they’re trimmed back. Same goes for a two-page resume: we charge more for that because you’re supposed to be the one doing the work to make it a suitable length. To ask us to do so is a burden. The thinking behind what’s strategic enough to be included and what is less important needs to be coming from you. Remember, you’re the smart cookie who’s claiming that they’re ready for bschool, right? That means you have an ability to think strategically. You need to do the work.
If you submit materials that are too long and you indicate that they are within these length limits, you will need to pay double fees, or your service will be subject to cancellation with no refund – we don’t dig being lied to! Instructions for submitting payment are available on the essay submission screen within My SnarkCenter.
I’ve written multiple versions of one of my essays. Will you review all of them and let me know which one is best?
Sorry, no. It’s your job to figure out which one is best and send it on over for us to
rip to shreds offer feedback on. Here’s an excerpt from the Terms section of the Standard Essay Decimator:
If the school has a “choose one of these questions” then that is one essay. Additional essays submitted will not be reviewed. All essays must be of reasonable length (up to 10% overlimit). Any submission that exceeds these limits will be subject to additional fees. We will not review multiple versions for the same essay question or other essay alternatives. If a school lets you choose from among several topics, you cannot submit drafts for each topic as part of this package. Your application strategy must be your own.
For the two-stage Essay Decimators you can always go in a completely different direction with the second drafts you send in. So, figure out what YOU think is your strongest strategy, and go with that on the first drafts – and if we say “Sorry Charlie” then you can swap things up however you feel is best.
Also: All this stuff is spelled out in the terms of purchase for each product. Please study that page before you buy, so that you know what you’re getting into and you understand how it all works. We’re not the ‘Snarks for everybody and we want you to be an educated BSer before you jump in.
Why is it called the “Essay Decimator”?
After feeling bad too many times for making some Brave Supplicants cry, and sending others into a tailspin of depression, we decided to take drastic measures. We’ve named the MBA essay review service the “Essay Decimator” because the fact is, most likely your drafts will come back ripped to shreds. We don’t do this because we enjoy causing people grief, we do it because most people’s essays basically suck the first time through. So don’t get too attached to what you’ve written.
This is indeed our most valuable service! We call it the Decimator because almost everybody’s first drafts are off target in many many ways – even though you think you’re submitting us a masterpiece, you should expect to get it back bloody and beaten. Please don’t take it personally! We really aren’t snarky with these reviews, either – well OK with one exception, and that is when someone does not take advantage of the resources available, and submits drafts that commit all the basic errors that we warn about on the blahg and in the school essay guide. When that happens, we sometimes get a little grumpy.
We named it the Essay Decimator to give you a heads-up on what to expect, so your sensitive little ego won’t get all miffed up and sulk about it. Remember, the reason you’re asking for our advice is because you’ve never done this before! (Or you did it before and it didn’t work out.) We know what we’re talking about when it comes to essays that work. And it generally takes some of that – work – to get your essays in shape. Be prepared for it
If you think your essays are already good enough, great! Submit what you’ve got to the schools and don’t worry about getting our opinion first. We will celebrate with you when you’re admitted! If you’re not certain the essays are there yet, then we’d be glad to offer our opinions, but be prepared to get your hands dirty in the revision process.
All good authors go through multiple critiques with trusted readers. Feedback on content, delivery, tone, and messaging of your written work can help you improve. We will tell you from an objective position what works and what doesn’t. We don’t think you’d want us to shine you on, right? Cool.
Which Essay Decimator should I get? How much does it cost?
Full-set essay critiques are available standalone (current price is $ 949.00) or as part of the Complete Essay Package (current price for the package is $ 1759.00). More information including pricing on the full-set Essay Decimator is available here.
If you’re applying to Harvard, you need the HBS Essay Decimator instead (current price is $ 949.00). That’s also an excellent choice if you’re doing a written Booth essay. In both cases with the HBS Essay Decimator, you can submit one essay up to 1,000 words. You don’t get any “extra” content reviewed – like, the career goals question. If you want support on those in-app questions then you can submit them as an “essay” with the full-set standard 4-essay Essay Decimator instead.
The Standard Essay Decimator and the HBS Essay Decimator require you to submit standard app profile information before review: resume, GMAT score, GPA. You will do this in My SnarkCenter once you have purchased. The Standard and the HBS Essay Decimator give you two rounds of feedback (exact deliverables are described on the product purchase page).
If you’re in an extreme hurry, we have the Single Shot Express Essay Decimator but this is a much more limited review: We look at the essay only, in a vacuum, against that school’s admissions standards: We don’t look at your resume, GMAT score, GPA, etc. so we won’t be able to tell you if strategically the essay is representing you as it could be against the totality of your profile. It’s a much more tactical review, of one essay only, so not even your full pitch to that school (we don’t do HBS essays with the Single Rush Essay Decimator), and it’s only one pass, with no recheck. As you can see, we recommend the full-set Standard Essay Decimator for almost everyone but we’re making this available for the
cheapskates err procrastinators um, those who might want it.
Please remember that prices may go up at any time.
Discounts are available for subsequent purchases; go to the Discounts page from the My SnarkCenter menu after you sign up to see what you qualify for.
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Can you help me with (name your school) and their specific requirements for XYZ?
Yes! No matter what it is, mostly likely we can help. Here are some common school-specific scenarios for 2017 that we can explicitly support:
- MIT with their one essay (cover letter) due at app submission, plus the video submission, and then a second essay if you’re invited to interview: We suggest writing both essays together! And you should definitely plan out the video as part of your cover letter strategy too. See details for these recommendations laid out in our MIT MBA Application Strategy Guide. When you plan everything together, then you can get the whole pitch evaluated holistically through our standard Essay Decimator service, and you can even include a sketch of your plan for the Introduce Yourself video (bullet point outline recommended). Or, if you just want help with only the MIT cover letter but none of these other parts of their app, go for the Single Shot Express Essay Decimator.
- Yale with their one main essay plus a short-answer question on goals: Our standard Essay Decimator service is ideal and yes you can submit both of these different items for review. Or, if you just want a quick-turnaround single review of the main essay, then again, the Single Shot Express Essay Decimator should work fine (and it’s cheaper than the standard Essay Decimator). (Please see the SOM app or our Yale essay guide if you don’t know what we’re talking about re: the short-answer question.)
- Booth with their two career goals questions along with the main presentation/essay requirement: Again, yes, and again, the Essay Decimator is what you want. You can get your presentation (or standard essay) reviewed and you can also get the two goals questions reviewed too. One per file, and your presentation should be no more than six slides or if it’s pure text like an HBS essay, 1,000 words. Or, if you just want the main presentation reviewed, you can use the less expensive HBS Essay Decimator for Booth – again, six slides/1,000 words is your max.
- Duke with their three short-answer career goals questions: Shocker! The Essay Decimator can handle this! Even though Duke doubled the permitted length of these this year, we’re still going to accommodate the set of three questions as a single essay for the purpose of our Essay Decimator service. This is the one case where you can put multiple short-answer responses together in one file when you upload – so you’ll end up with three files. Remember that these three short-answer responses cannot be a single word overlimit, however (Duke doesn’t allow it).
- Tuck’s global experience question: This isn’t technically an essay but sure, if you want your answer to this question reviewed, you can include it when you submit your essays for the Essay Decimator.
- INSEAD’s collection of many essays and short-answer questions: For INSEAD, the “motivation essays” are supported with the Standard Essay Decimator, or you may substitute any one of the short-answer job description questions instead (one for one). If you would like to have all of the “motivation essays” AND one or more of the short-answer questions reviewed, you will need to submit a fee for each one over 4. Please contact Team EssaySnark at gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com after purchasing your Essay Decimator to make arrangements for any additional INSEAD submissions you would like reviewed.
- The in-app questions for School X: Welllll….. OK yes, technically the Essay Decimator allows you to submit whatever you want, up to four files for one school. HOWEVER: You really should be able to handle most of the questions that most of the schools ask in their applications on your own. Generally we prefer to see formal essays submitted for the Essay Decimator, for two reasons: 1) The schools don’t want “essays” for those in-app fields; and 2) We don’t like to do too much hand-holding, and sometimes people get scared to make any move on their own in completing their apps, which is not really how this should be done. But in truth, you can submit anything you want for the 4 essays per Essay Decimator, so it’s up to you how you navigate that (one item – essay or answer – per file is the only restriction).
- Some school or program not on EssaySnark’s main menu of essay questions: We can still help! There’s lots of bschools out there and we’ve almost definitely assisted some BSer in the past with any of the schools you’re thinking of. These include slightly off the mainstream schools like Oxford Said, Cambridge Judge, Emory, Notre Dame, ESADE, and many many more. Same goes for the Executive MBA or part-time MBA, whether it’s at Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Berkeley, Wharton, NYU, MIT, UCLA, Ross, Darden, LBS, or anywhere else. If you’re applying to bschool, we can help! No surcharges apply, as long as it’s up to four essays, we can handle it with our standard Essay Decimator service.
- Some other, non-MBA, master’s program: Yes we can probably help you, too! We’ve worked with candidates to MSx, MIT/LBS Sloan Fellows, MFin, MIM, MSMS, and many other business-related programs, as well as plenty of other grad school apps too, including Columbia SIPA, HKS, Wharton Lauder, public policy, accounting, organizational psychology, and even some law school apps and one or two PhD programs. Hit us up if you want our help on your target program, or just go ahead and buy the Essay Decimator and get started!
How about sample essays? Can you kick me down some of those?
We certainly would – if we thought it would help you. But we don’t. We explain why not in several posts on the blahg including Why we don’t post sample essays and Harvard and free essay reviews – and why we don’t post sample essays. Believe us when we say, we will do all in our power to give you what you need to be successful, and reading sample essays is not it.
I know your prices are cheap and all, but how ’bout you kick me down a discount? Cut me a deal, EssaySnark!
Gosh, this one just rubs us the wrong way. Our prices ARE cheap. And we give a lot away for free. When the first contact we ever get from some complete stranger is a request to reduce our prices even more … we’re like, “Why?” It sorta sets the relationship off on the wrong foot. You’re basically telling us that you don’t think what we do is worth it. Ummmm…. then maybe you should go buy stuff somewhere else?
That being said: Of COURSE we offer discounts. Look at the pricing for our 4-School Set. It is RIDICULOUSLY cheap, both compared to what it would be to buy each service separately, and even more importantly, compared to what other firms charge. So as you can see, the discount is already built in. Please don’t ask for another discount. ‘Cuz like c’mon dude, what makes you so special?
Once you buy your first consulting service from us, then all sorts of other offers will magically appear to you, to enable you to buy further services at lower prices. Buy your first Essay Decimator, for example (current price $ 949.00) and you’ll see an option to purchase your second one for cheaper (current price $ 949.00 – note that sometimes in the Springtime that pricing is more because we’re running an extreme special on the first purchase).
Go to the surprisingly-named Discounts & Offers page off the My SnarkCenter menu to see what’s available to you. These discounts are customized to what you have active on your user account at any given time.
Again, please remember that prices may change with no notice, and the discounts will go away when your current service subscription expires.
How long do I have to submit my drafts?
The Essay Decimator is good for 60 days. Just like with other subscriptions, you must have all drafts submitted for review before your subscription expires. As long as you submit your materials before expiration, you’ll get feedback on them. See the Terms & Conditions on the product page for complete details. Expiration date/time for each of your subscriptions is listed in the righthand menu of SnarkCenter along with the current time in Snarkville.
Why do we do it this way? Because the greatest procrastinators in the entire world are BSers applying to business school. It’s a way to motivate you to get to work! It also allows us to offer lower pricing at the early part of the season, which, again, is a way to motivate you to get busy on those apps.
What if I need more than two reviews? Can I get a previously-decimated essay rechecked again?
Yes, rechecks are available for all of the services. The pricing depends on which service and ranges from $50 to $129 depending on which service and where we are at in the season (as a gauge: a typical essay recheck price is $100 per essay but this may change at any time and is not guaranteed to be the pricing in effect at this exact moment; please contact Team EssaySnark or leave a comment in My SnarkCenter for pricing that applies today).
Complete Essay Package
What’s the deal with the Complete Essay Package?
The Complete Essay Package is a package that includes the most popular App Accelerators plus Essay Decimator essay reviews. The main benefits are it’s discounted, that’s cheaper than buying the services separately — plus, you get preferential turnaround times, and the subscription terms for the included App Accelerators are extended, and you get a freebie essay guide included with purchase.
The Complete Essay Package guides you through the entire process of creating your first set of essays. It gives you a step-by-step methodology for what to do and when. You get detailed feedback at each stage, which means your essays will be as strong as possible, with the least amount of churning and rework, by the time you finish them up.
Do I need to buy the Complete Essay Package for each school I’m applying to?
No; in fact we will only sell it to you once.
The work you do on developing your strategy using the Complete Essay Package – as built out through the App Accelerators and your first set of essays – will carry you far with other schools. We’re into selling you what you need, not trying to fleece you for every penny. If you want help on additional schools, you can choose to purchase a la carte Essay Decimators (essay reviews) after you finish your Complete Essay Package. Essay Decimators are usually available at a discounted price to current subscribers (pricing changes based on where we’re at in the season – it’s always cheaper to start early!). To get the discount, you must sign up for the next service within the subscription term of your original purchase.
If you know you want to use us for lots of your applications, then great! The 4-School Set is the way to go. It’s a ridiculously cheap price for getting four schools done. You get the Complete Essay Package plus support on three more schools through Essay Ideas + Essay Decimator pairs for each one, plus a bunch more goodies that you’ll need to succeed.
Many people do the Complete Essay Package and that’s it, they’re off and running in tackling other schools on their own. We’re totally fine with that. Our philosophy is, you mostly need an education in how to present yourself to the MBA admissions committees — and then you’ll be empowered to do that with as many apps as you like. We don’t believe in locking you in to endless consulting. You don’t need a consultant once you know how to do it yourself. That’s why we only sell you one Complete Essay Package and then you can get individual services as you wish. Of course, different schools need a different focus, and so we’re happy to support you on other apps too, on an a la carte basis (or through the 4-School Set if you’re gung-ho).
I’m a procrastinator. This the Complete Essay Package thing sounds perfect!
Yes. The Complete Essay Package is in fact designed for those who are clueless – either clueless on what to write about in their essays, clueless about how long this process will take, or clueless on how to get started in the first place. Just don’t wait too long; we have a limited number of subscriptions available based on capacity.
For the true procrastinator, we can still (probably) help you and we still (probably) recommend starting with the Complete Essay Package as the most effective way to get your first set of essays done – but be mindful that it’s on you to complete it in time. We have supported clients end to end through the entire thing in about two weeks – not recommended, but possible. We offer guidelines for turnaround of feedback on each service’s product purchase page, but we cannot guarantee any specific turnarounds (unless a Super Speedy Review is purchased separately). Again, it’s on YOU to get it done. We’re here to help and do our best to accommodating panicking BSers worried about deadlines – but we’re also supporting a bunch of other BSers simultaneously. Sending your panic in our direction is unlikely to endear you to EssaySnark. Please see the Subscribers FAQ in My SnarkCenter once you purchase for more on turnaround times and requesting Super Speedy Reviews.
If you sign up with plenty of time to spare, awesome! And also remember that EssaySnark will not be chasing you down if you don’t complete the steps in a timely fashion. These are self-directed processes. You’re an adult. It’s up to you to take advantage of the resources available. Your Complete Essay Package is a subscription-based service and will expire within 60 days of purchase. The expiration date is to help you stay motivated. 😉 Yes extensions are available for purchase but they are discouraged. Buy the service when you’re ready to work.
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I already bought some services that are included in the Complete Essay Package. Can I get a refund or credit?
No – not if you’ve already bought the next service. Yes – if you look on the Discounts page to see what upgrades are available for cheaper BEFORE you purchase. Sorry, we cannot offer adjustments on already-purchased services. We also don’t allow for substitutions on packages.
The Complete Essay Package is offered at a discount because you’re purchasing everything at once; we give you a break on the price, you dive in with the whole enchilada. It’s just like any business does it: We are trying to lure you in with a better price, and in exchange, you buy everything at once. Please don’t ask us to break up the packages or offer some special deal to you just because you’re you.
If you already got the Comprehensive Profile Review, then check the Discounts page off the SnarkCenter menu to see if there are any upgrade options available to you. We will not re-do the Comprehensive Profile Review upon purchase of the Complete Essay Package if you already had one done; you don’t get a credit for the included strategy guide if you already bought the Strategy Guide bundle; etc. Our prices are pretty darned reasonable already; please don’t cheapen us by asking for more than the great deals we already offer (that won’t be an impressive move on your part).
The 4-School Set
How is the 4-School Set different from the Complete Essay Package?
The 4-School Set contains the Complete Essay Package – plus a lot more! When you sign up for the 4-School Set, you’ll start off by going through the structured process defined by the Complete Essay Package for your first school: Comprehensive Profile Review, then Career Goals App Accelerator, then Accomplishments & Achievements App Accelerator, then Essay Ideas App Accelerator, then you’ll write essays and submit them for review through the two-stage Essay Decimator.
You also get support on three more sets of essays through Essay Ideas / Essay Decimator pairs, plus a variety of add-ons like the Reworking Your Resume App Accelerator and four essay guides and other stuff. Please see the product page for the 4-School Set for details on what’s included.
How long do I have to finish all my apps using the 4-School Set?
The 4-School Set is a subscription to the services. You have 120 days from purchase to move through all the steps.
In terms of timing: We recommend waiting to start on your second application until after your first essays are done (i.e., after you’ve completed all the steps in the Complete Essay Package). Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for more revision and rework on the second essays than necessary. There’s a learning curve to this, and the Complete Essay Package flattens it, but only if you move all the way through the process.
If you already have a lot of essays drafted and want them all reviewed simultaneously, we recommend buying the Essay Decimators individually. The 4-School Set is really for those with enough runway ahead of them to spend the time on the process.
If you’re facing down deadlines and want to know minimum times: We had one
maniac Brave Supplicant go from start to finish on the 4-School Set in just four weeks.
If you’re at the opposite end (aka “a slacker”): We don’t offer refunds if you run out of time on your subscription. You can extend a subscription upon payment of an additional fee but we discourage this. Please sign up when you’re ready to work. If you need more time, please send a request for an extension to Team EssaySnark with an explanation of what’s going on so we can evaluate how to help.
What happens if I get accepted and don’t need the rest of the services anymore? Can I get a refund on the other schools in the set?
If you meet these criteria, then a partial refund is available:
- It’s within 120 days from your original qualifying purchase (either your purchase of the 4-School Set, or if you upgraded to the 4-School Set, then calculated from the purchase date of the product you upgraded from, e.g. the Comprehensive Profile Review or the Complete Essay Package)
- You send us documentation of your admission to business school, with an accept date after the purchase date of your 4-School Set subscription
A $500 refund is available for each school that has not been started (“starting a school” means submitting materials for the Essay Ideas App Accelerator and/or any Essay Decimator for that school).
If you want to cancel for any other reason, refunds may also be available under certain very specific circumstances. Please review the 4-School Set product purchase page or your emailed receipt for terms and conditions. Additional information is also available in the Refunds section of this FAQ.
Can I upgrade to the 4-School Set?
Yes, although it’s always cheaper to start with the biggest package as your first purchase.
For the 4-School Set, you may upgrade:
- from the Comprehensive Profile Review – typically qualifies you for about a $100 discount off current 4-School Set pricing
- from the Complete Essay Package – typically qualifies you for about a $1,000 discount
Prices may change at any time. Current pricing for these upgrade options and sign-up links are displayed on the Discounts and Offers page during the active subscription term of your original purchase. If you don’t currently qualify for any upgrade offer, then nothing will appear for you on that page. You may inquire with the team about upgrade prices in effect today (email gethelpnow at this site). Please see additional information on our no-substitutions policy in this FAQ: I already bought some of the services that are included in the Complete Essay Package. Can I get a discount?
What is an “MBA resume”? I have a resume already. Can’t I use that?
When people talk about an “MBA resume” they typically mean a one-page resume that’s been optimized to present your best qualities along the dimensions that schools look for: leadership, teamwork, impact, innovation, etc. The Reworking Your Resume App Accelerator will help you rework your employment history so that it’s showcased in the best light possible. Certain things that people like to put on their “work” resume, such as GMAT score, are not advisable to be included on the bschool resume (the included App Accelerator tutorial explains why not). You also need to remove any jargon and technical language so that the adcom, who are unfamiliar with your industry, will be able to easily understand it. There are both tactical and strategic reasons to put your resume through its own separate revision process when you’re preparing your applications for bschool.
After I revise my resume for my MBA apps, can I use it for my job search?
Absolutely. After going through the EssaySnark Reworking Your Resume process, you’ll end up with a new-and-improved resume that you can use for any MBA application and for future job hunting. Most people find that the final product is significantly improved from where they started and they are happy to use their new resume for standard career purposes, too.
Do I need to customize my resume for each school I’m applying to?
Nope. One optimized resume is all you need for all your MBA applications. You can use the same version of your resume for all schools; you don’t need to customize it for each one.
Feedback (on paid services)
How is feedback returned?
You will receive very detailed written feedback on your material. The amount of detail depends on what service you purchased. The Comprehensive Profile Review is, uh, comprehensive: you’ll get pages and pages back from us. Same with first-draft essay reviews. It might even be a little overwhelming (be sure you’re sitting down when you first open the file). All essay reviews include marked-up drafts with inline comments in Word. Your feedback is confidential, posted to your private client page (My SnarkCenter).
Also please note: All of the feedback you receive is copyright-protected and the information is property of EssaySnark. The written critique will be a print-locked PDF. We do this to remind you that what we lay out in critiques and reports is EssaySnark’s intellectual property. We would have to charge a helluva lot more to do it differently. We keep your personal information confidential and we hope you’ll similarly keep our IP to yourself and not distribute it to others.
How quickly will I get all this good feedback?
We always strive to return quickly, though we have specific policies in place to make it fair for everybody and to ensure that we can handle all the BSers clamoring for assistance during periods of high demand in the run-up to deadlines.
Standard turnaround time is up to two or three business days, depending on which service it is. Please see the product purchase pages for specific guidelines for the service you’re interested in. Please also note that that’s BUSINESS days — and we get it, that seems like a long time when you’re itching to get things done, especially if there’s a weekend in the middle and you’re twiddling your thumbs waiting to hear back. We always try to get things back quicker whenever we possibly can so hopefully you won’t have to wait that long! We offer Super Speedy Review at an additional fee if you’re out of time. Please see the Subscriber FAQ in My SnarkCenter after you sign up for services.
If you’re on the Complete Essay Package or the 4-School Set then your submissions will automatically be given preference. Most people find this to be a significant benefit of these packages. However, even those in those packages may still opt for the Super Speedy Review if they want materials turned back on weekends or holidays, or if they want to jump the queue.
We post historical average turnaround times on several of the individual product purchase pages. As one example, the average turnaround time for feedback on Essay Decimator submissions in Round 2 this past season (2016) was 1.24 business days, however turnarounds were extended on a couple (we were late – almost 4 business days – on one, and required the full 3 business days on many). On the plus side, many people enjoyed same-day turnaround based on their terms of purchase. We cannot guarantee an exact turnaround time before submission. We are offering this information to help with transparency so you can be an informed BSer before purchasing.
Additional information about how the EssaySnark Review Queue works is available in the Subscriber FAQ within My SnarkCenter once you sign up.
One tip: Submit stuff early in the week so you can be sure to have feedback in hand by the weekend.
Why can’t you give me feedback on the phone?
No really – why won’t you talk to me on the phone?
We actually think it’s in the Brave Supplicant’s best interest that we give all feedback in writing. That way, you have something to study. Figuring out how to pitch yourself on paper usually takes many attempts and much revision. If we told you everything that you were doing wrong verbally, you’d have to take notes on everything we said – and we doubt you’d get exactly what we meant. Instead, we write it all out for you – which means you can go back to it again and again. Sometimes it takes multiple re-reads before the lightbulb goes on. You have a higher probability of “getting it” if we deliver our commentary as a full report. Then, after you digest it, you can craft your questions back to us – again, in writing, which further helps you clarify your thinking.
It actually takes us a whole lot longer to do it this way… but we have our reasons, and we believe it is in the best interest of all of our clients to manage it all in writing.
That being said, if you’re the kind of person who needs to talk to someone in order to figure stuff out, or if you’re expecting someone to just tell you what to do, then as we’ve mentioned before, we’re probably not the ‘Snarks for you.
Can I ask follow-up questions after I receive the feedback?
Yes, of course. You will be able to post private questions directly on the feedback page where you received our reviews (in My SnarkCenter).
Key exceptions: There are a handful of services that do not include follow-ups, such as the Sanity Check and the Single-Rush Essay Decimator, as detailed on the respective product purchase pages. The reason for this is that BSers often purchase those two services because they’re cheaper, when really they should be going for the full Essay Decimator. So that’s how we manage that. We also aren’t interested in engaging in lengthy debates, in the event that we return the Sanity Check with a negative review. If you purchase a Sanity Check and we tell you that your chances are very low, you’re welcome to purchase the full Essay Decimator at that point, which does include the ability to ask follow-ups (note though, if you do this, we strongly recommend that you revise the essays that you submitted for the Sanity Check, before submitting them for the Essay Decimator; we will be seriously unimpressed if you don’t bother doing a single change to them after getting our remarks back from the original assessment).
“Reasonable” follow-ups on other services means getting clarification on what we wrote in the feedback. It does not mean submitting a bunch of new ideas for us to review. If you want a recheck, you can purchase that separately (rechecks for App Accelerators and for rechecks for Essay Decimators).
Free Essay Reviews
How do I submit my essay for a free review on the blahg?
Active blahg members can submit questions to (potentially) be answered and essays to (potentially) be reviewed here. Whatever you submit through that form is fair game; you relinquish all claims to emotional distress over any snarkiness that may result from your request. If we publish your question or essay, we will do so anonymously, with any obviously identifying information removed.
When will you post my free review?
We might never post it. We simply don’t always have time to review everybody’s freebie requests. Please don’t take it personally if we never post yours.
We almost definitely will not be reviewing anything that comes in for free review during the three weeks before round deadlines (so, September/early October, and last half of December/first week of January). If you’re counting on us to give you feedback in order to improve your essays before you submit, then you probably should consider a more guaranteed mechanism. Or you can try the Crowd Sourced Essay Reviews if you want to get input from other BSers who are hanging around these parts; EssaySnark has been known to pop in there with some comments, too.
You reviewed my essay! Howsoever might I be able to thank you, EssaySnark?
1. Get accepted to bschool.
2. Tell others about your experience.
You suck. I want a refund.
We’re sorry you feel that way! Refund policies are explained on the individual product purchase pages and are included in the email you received confirming your purchase; we also post them in our Terms of Service.
Or: I didn’t use all the stuff I bought. Can I get a refund?
Sometimes but not usually. One benefit to our product model is that you can buy only what you need. Once you purchase, we allocate resources to support you. What we sell is a perishable product, like seats on an airplane. If you buy it, but then back out at the last minute, it’s unlikely we can sell your seat to someone else. That’s why there’s always a service fee deducted from any refund that might be available. Please reach the product purchase page carefully before you sign up.
To summarize refund policies:
- Our information products – memberships to the EssaySnark blahg, subscriptions to the App Accelerators, online access to the SnarkStrategy Guides – do not qualify for any refunds. This is because you get instant access to our intellectual property at time of sign-up; you have the opportunity to “consume” the product immediately. Instructions on canceling your blahg membership are here – but again, as an information product, there are no refunds available.
- The Complete Essay Package, the 4-School Set, and the Essay Decimators allow for refunds under certain circumstances and within specific post-purchase timeframes.
Please review the terms carefully and contact the team (gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com) if you have questions or to initiate a cancel if you qualify.
But I didn’t use the whole Essay Decimator thing, and I’ve decided not to apply. Can’t I get some money back?
Sorry, but no. If you join a gym and then flake off and don’t ever use it during the month, do you expect to get a refund? If you buy a car and it sits in your driveway for a couple weeks, and then you decide you don’t need it, should they give you your money back? We’re selling a perishable product: Our time. We allocate staffing to handle clients as soon as purchases are made, and ours is a time-sensitive business with a perishable product, thus the strict policy. If you want to cancel after purchase, you can do so under certain conditions, so please understand what you’re purchasing before you purchase.
As described above, refunds on the Essay Decimator are definitely available if you change your mind right away and if you haven’t started the process (see the terms posted on the Essay Decimator purchase page). Essay Decimators, App Accelerators and other consulting services are by subscription and must be used within the stated time period, and they cannot be transferred (not to another person, nor for use on another school than what you started with). If you’re not sure if you will be able to use the full two-stage Essay Decimator process, you may want to buy a Single Shot Express instead.
Confidentiality and the Ahole Factor
Do you work with everyone?
Mostly yes, though we do reserve the right to turn down a request for service at any time and for any reason.
For example, if we determine that a BSer is just not someone we can help (based on attitude) or if we detect unethical behavior going on in their process, we reserve the right to cancel even in the middle of an engagement. Refunds in cases of ethical issues are at our sole discretion. We may also need to cancel your service if we are overbooked (this has never yet happened in all our years of doing this but we reserve the right, just in case). We publish our availability on the site so you know before purchasing if we’re open for business and accepting new clients.
As we state in the product purchase process, when you sign up for stuff, you choose a username for access to My SnarkCenter. Like with other Internet sites, this username is revealed to other users when you comment on a public blahg post. When you submit your materials for review, your username also appears in a queue that is displayed in the password-protected subscribers-only area called My SnarkCenter. Only other BSers have access to this area; essaysnark.com users who only have paid blahg memberships do not get access to My SnarkCenter. If you’re exceptionally paranoid, you may want to choose a username that is not personally identifiable.
If you submit a request for a free essay review then obviously the information you submit there will be posted publicly on the blahg if we choose to review your essay, however we remove all identifying information before doing so. Similarly, if you participate in the Crowd Sourced Essay Reviews forums, then you’re posting essay materials on the Internet – but those forums are behind a paywall and only a small group of other BSers will be seeing what you post. Still, be cognizant of what you submit, and anonymize it so that you’re comfortable.
Follow-up questions submitted following receipt of feedback on paid services are private – though we have been known to write blahg posts about those exchanges when we feel they will be helpful to the BSer community at large. That is always done without revealing identities or even any key facts about the profile that would allow a BSer to be recognized.
Bottom line, we don’t want to blow your cover. You can stay as anonymous on this site as we do.
Would you ever reveal my identity?
No — though we have been tempted to do so in the past when we met a true a-hole. If a BSer is a complete jerk and/or is lying on their apps, we think the schools should know about it — don’t you? But no, we never have picked up the phone like that; we have never ever talked with any adcoms about specific individuals, positive or negative. We have not revealed identities of any BSers either during or after the application process.
We do have processes in place to deal with the a-hole factor however. What we’ve done in these situations in the past is canceled the engagement (without issuing any refund) and cut the BSer loose. The other strategy we employ with the uber arrogant is we do not call attention to the most egregious statements in their essays; we let their true self shine through instead of pointing out to them that they are coming across as a super jerk.
So, consider yourself warned: We’re not going to edit the a-holeness out of your apps. If you know that you tend towards extreme cockiness and have questionable ethics, then you may want to seek admissions help elsewhere. And you should know that we have thought about telling the adcom about certain BSers in the past. Again, we’ve never done it, but if it were a truly extreme case, then we may be forced to.
We lived through the economic crisis of 2008, and the Enron scandal, and Jack Abramoff, and Bernie Madoff, and everything else. Why should we empower some shyster character to go on and potentially wreak similar havoc in the future by helping them get into a better bschool than they otherwise could on their own? Not gonna do it.
What are the technical requirements for the App Accelerators tutorials and School Essay Guides?
You will need to be online to access any tutorials or SnarkStrategies school guides. The current viewer requires a modern Internet browser and high-speed Internet access; you must have Flash enabled in your browser for some of the guides to render. iPad/iPhone support is in the works but has not been rolled out to all the tutorials yet.
The system does not allow downloading or printing the tutorials or guides; you must be online to view. If you’re trying to view it behind a firewall, you may have trouble (but why are you working on your MBA apps at work anyway??).
In addition, all materials must be submitted online through essaysnark.com only. You will gain access to a secure portal on this website through which you will confidentially submit your work and receive private feedback from EssaySnark. We cannot accept essays or other materials for review via email.
Be sure to keep your own copy of all submissions! EssaySnark is not responsible for failures of technology or data loss.
How will I submit my stuff?
All submissions are done through your SnarkCenter portal and feedback is returned there too (be sure to also read the Terms on the product you’re interested in, as there are full details on this stuff there also). You will get access to the specific instructions for your purchased service when your purchase is completed; check out the submit screen for details. We cannot accept files for review by email. Additional information on submissions and the Review Queue and what to do if you forgot to include something when you submitted can all be found in the Subscriber’s FAQ available in SnarkCenter once your service is active.
Again: Be sure to keep a copy of your wondrous work! EssaySnark is not responsible for failures of technology or data loss.
I thought I signed up but I don’t have access to anything. What’s the deal?
If you hit the Back button during the checkout process, it’s possible that you were never charged and thus your SnarkCenter account may have been created but without any active subscriptions. Check your email to see if you received a receipt or see if your credit card captured the transaction. If so, email it to us and we’ll get your account set up appropriately. If not, you can re-initiate the transaction using the same username you just created and it should go through and give you access.
In most cases, access should be granted to purchased subscriptions immediately. Log on to the site, then go to the My SnarkCenter menu for access to your consulting services, or choose My Strategy Guides to view purchased guides. If you have trouble, email techsupport at essaysnark dot com and we’ll get you up and running fast.
Also, please remember: Consulting services go inactive on the day listed on your receipt and at the exact time noted in My SnarkCenter. If you’re submitting materials for review, they must come in before expiration.
I am seeing the strategy guide or App Accelerator page but the actual guide won’t display in my browser. What do I do?
Sorry for the frustrations, Brave Supplicant! The online guides do need a reasonably fast internet connection and the first time it loads in your browser, there may be a slight delay. Please give it a sec and see if it comes through for you.
The viewer supports most browsers that are running on one of the two latest versions and have Flash enabled. Unfortunately, we do not support older browser versions (i.e. Internet Explorer 9, or older) as these versions are just, well, old and sucky. Please upgrade or try a different machine.
Here’s some additional ideas to troubleshoot:
- Clear the cache and cookies of your browser
- Upgrade your browser and Flash to the newest version, and then try opening the document again
- If the publication still does not open, try restarting the browser / system.
- Try using a different browser and/or device to see if this problem persists
The most common issue is trying to access the guide behind a corporate firewall which enforces restrictions on streaming. Other users in China have reported blocked access (please try a VPN instead).
If none of that works, please reach out to our tech folks at techsupport at essaysnark dot com with details including which browsers you’ve tried and they’ll help you out – and again, sorry for the frustrations!
I’m trying to purchase but it won’t let me.
Sorry for the troubles, Brave Supplicant! There’s a few cases where this might happen:
1. You already purchased the product or service.
Essay Decimators If you already purchased an Essay Decimator then good news! You qualify for a discount on a subsequent purchase while the original service subscription is still active. Go to the Discounts & Offers page from the My SnarkCenter menu to see the pricing that’s currently available to you and purchase your next Essay Decimator for cheaper. If your original Essay Decimator subscription has expired, you’ll need to contact Team EssaySnark (gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com) for instructions on purchasing your next essay review service.
Other Consulting Services As a system control, each service can be purchased once only through the site – but we’re happy to support you on more applications! If you want to purchase multiple Sanity Checks or Single Shot Express Essay Decimators, then either check your original purchase receipt for instructions of you may please contact Team EssaySnark (gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com) for assistance.
Essay Guides If, say, you purchased the HBS Essay Guide last year – and now you want to buy it again because you never ended up applying then – our system may not let you. If you get the “Product previously purchased” message then you just need to contact Team EssaySnark (gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com) for instructions on submitting payment.
2. PayPal problems.
Payment for a few of our products is processed through PayPal, including the Recommenders Instructions Sets and the Speedy Review add-on. If buying one of these and your PayPal account is not set up correctly with a valid (unexpired) credit card, then the transaction may be refused. Please log on to your PayPal account and make sure that it’s got the payment information it needs, then come back to essaysnark.com and try the transaction again.
I forgot my password
Go to this login page and click the Lost Password? button. It will email you instructions to reset your password. Or, you can change your password after you’ve logged on by clicking the link from My SnarkCenter.
Help! I’m having other technical problems – something is not working. What do I do?
Oh no! The squirrels go on strike sometimes and we know how frustrating it can be. Please email us at techsupport at essaysnark.com with details of what you’re trying to do and what’s not working, and we’ll get you sorted out.
back to Technical Questions
What is a BSer? What does STBBS mean? How come you call it an Essay Decimator? What’s with this “blahg” thing?
Ah yes. There’s some looseness and liberties taken with the English language in Snarkville. You’ll get used to it, Brave Supplicant. But just in case:
- BSer: A Brave Supplicant. One who is applying to a top MBA program. From reading untold numbers of essays over the years, we find that the other meaning of the term often applies to such people.
- Essay Decimator: We cover the logic behind this name up top.
- blahg: This here little thing that you’re reading. Where EssaySnark posts stuff. About bschool and MBA admissions. A regular source of snark for those who are so inclined.
- the adcon: Our term for certain admissions consultants who we feel may not have the best interests of Brave Supplicants at heart.
- the radcom: Those especially wonderful admissions directors at certain schools who we admire for putting applicants’ needs at the front of their processes.
- the squirrels: All those cute critters racing around furiously under the hood of this website to make it keep running the way it should.
There’s some other random terms of art that pop up sometimes, but those are the basics. Please don’t use them in everyday speech or people will think you’re nuts.
Why are you doing this?
We want to help Brave Supplicants be successful. MBA admissions is opaque, and those with access to money and power are often at an unfair advantage. We think a level(er) playing field is a good thing. You can read about the origins of the blahg here.
Are you a real person?
We are a real Snark. And we know bschool admissions. That should be enuf.
What’s with the weird anonymity thing? Are you hiding something?
The admissions consulting industry is very small. Sometimes we say stuff that may not be politically correct. And we like the pseudonym, it’s catchy. Bottom line: You don’t want the schools to know you’re using an admissions consultant, right? What’s your problem with us being a little coy on this side, too?
Why don’t you offer free consults like other admissions consultants do?
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not like other admissions consultants. We give away so much advice for free that it’s ridiculous. A good number of people asking for those free phone consults never intend to buy, and we don’t play that game. If you’re a cheapskate, then read the blahg and be satisfied. Or you can try your luck at submitting a question or a full essay to be considered for a free review (to be posted on the blahg) or ask us your question on one of the forums where we participate. But no, we don’t feel the need to convince you that we can help you through a complimentary one-on-one consult, when we’ve spent the last many years publishing that help for free. If you’re serious about engaging our services to help with your apps, we have plenty to offer and our prices are beyond reasonable (considering the fact that you get accurate, actionable advice, we should probably be charging much more). You can start with one of the preliminary services which are low cost and low risk, and add from there if you find it worthwhile. We’re not trying to screw anyone.
back to General Wonderings
I’m in the military. Any special deals for me?
Why yes! We have a dedicated microsite for military bschool candidates. We offer a free blahg membership plus specific pro bono and reduced-rate services to those who have served, including options for Peace Corps / Teach for America alumni. Please see the military MBA site or contact gethelpnow at essaysnark dot com for more information.
I thought your prices were lower, now they’re higher. Why do they keep changing?
Prices go up as deadlines approach, and these price changes may happen at any time. This is essentially a “Slacker Fee” – also known as “supply and demand”: If you wait till the last minute then you can expect to pay more, since that’s when we’re the busiest. The cheapest times to sign up for our already-cheap services are February through June, and mid-October to November. At other times of the year, prices will be higher.
Tip: If you want to use EssaySnark for some later-round apps, then wait till the current deadlines pass and you will likely see prices drop again. For example: If it’s August, and you are planning to apply in Round 2 but not Round 1, then wait till late October to see the prices dip.
We almost always offer deals on purchasing additional essay reviews (repeat-BSer discount), and the bundles like the Complete Essay Package and the 4-School Set are quite inexpensive compared to purchasing the services separately. These discounts also can change at any time and they are based on what you’ve already purchased. Please see the Discounts page (off the My SnarkCenter menu) to check what you qualify for right now.
We like giving goodies to clients who refer others. If your buddy told you about EssaySnark, be sure to have him complete that form to get his thank-you – and next year, after you’ve been admitted to the bschool of your dreams, remember us when your friends ask how you did it. 😉
All discounts and deals available to you will appear, oddly enough, through the Discounts menu. Military candidates should submit their info following the instructions on the Military MBA page. We also offer deals for TFA, Peace Corps, etc. as explained on our Contact page.
Hopefully this explains the policies (and before you send an email asking for a deal, we suggest you check out this FAQ on discounts).
I have other questions – please help me EssaySnark!
Go here for ways to contact Team EssaySnark.
Return to FAQ index