Last year we did a Post-Mortem Reject Analysis for someone after Round 1 decisions did not go as expected. This person was a reapplicant; they had tried the year before, and then the reapp was also rejected. Here’s part of what we said after some back-and-forth questions once they got our assessment and were questioning some of the reasons that we laid out as causative factors for why they weren’t getting interview invites.
Finally — and this is likely not going to be easy to hear: There was an episode related by your recommender where he gave you feedback and you argued with him. [in the Post Mortem, BSers send in their entire app package, including LORs if they have them — which technically they’re not supposed to, but many applicants do] That type of debating seems to be part of your make-up — and it’s a positive thing! But taken to extremes, it can keep you from the greatest successes in life, which involve personal growth and the evolution of the self. We only mention that because a) the schools care a lot about EQ, and that story demonstrates the opposite; and b) it mirrors our own experience of interacting with you. Every time we assert something about why things haven’t gone your way, we get all this pushback from you with reasons why or questions about how we came to such conclusions.
We gave our professional view of your application in a detailed written report; we reviewed not only your current app but also the original one too. And the reaction seemed to be to question everything we said and push back, instead of using the opportunity to reflect on where we may have offered advice that could be useful to change and to grow.
We get it, this process is HORRIBLE! We’re telling you how things were screwed up and you apparently did everything wrong — and this stuff is so personal! It’s only natural to be defensive about it. We know you put in a lot of work on both applications, and we can see you’ve been successful in life, and are doing interesting things. But that’s not really the point. Learning to be open to feedback is a fundamental first step in making the most of this precious incarnation. Hopefully these comments are received in the way they were intended: To help you.
Notably, this individual’s attitude in interactions with us from this point forward changed completely. It was really quite wonderful to work with them thereafter. It appeared that they heard what we said in the way we intended it: constructive criticism.
Sometimes BSers don’t — and, we acknowledge, sometimes we lack the skill in delivering it in the way that it can be received.
Or put it more accurately: Sometimes we say things in a sh!tty way that we regret. When that happens, we try to re-do it, but it’s always a source of regret.
And, sometimes, we know that people get triggered.
It can be really hard not to think that we’re calling your baby ugly. (Because sometimes, err, well, sorta we are.) This process is so personal. You’re laying all of yourself on the line. You’re trying to jump through all these hoops that the schools have laid out for you. It’s beyond stressful, especially when the stakes are so high.
Getting feedback is just one of those things in life. Pretty much 100% of the time, in the moment when you hear it, it SUCKS.
Everybody gets defensive. It’s the natural mechanism that we’ve all been taught within our psyches.
The trick is, a) KNOW that this will happen – that you’ll get defensive, and b) find a way to manage yourself in that moment, to let it pass, and c) resolve to come back again later and spend time with the feedback when those emotions aren’t running so high.
We hear over and over again from BSers that this is what they have to learn how to do, and when they do, that’s where they discover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Here’s an excerpt from a review posted by a Success Story BSer after working with us last year:
Just one piece of advice to the brave supplicants -“take EssaySnark’s criticism POSITIVELY and that will do the magic for you. Cry, get over it, and start working on their comments – seriously!!”.
That’s like the best review we’ve ever gotten. Because it’s from someone who clearly “gets it” – that all we’re doing, when ripping your materials to shreds, is showing you what’s not working, and pointing the path to improvement.
There’s nothing in life better than seeing a report of an admissions success. We want ALL OF YOU to be receiving such happy news at the end of this process this year.
Please take everything we say to you with that in mind. We’re not telling you that you suck. We’re saying that the essay needs work, and that there are skills you can learn to make it better.