Writing admission essays for business school is no easy pursuit.
Like the entire MBA application, it takes a lot of hard work, time, energy, and attention to all details of the process.
Persistence is up there, too!
The most successful MBA applicants strive to produce a memorable application with essays that hook admission officers right in.
Today’s essay draft must be better than yesterday’s. Tomorrow’s essay draft must surpass today’s. You get the idea!
I’m not saying you should be writing every single day to improve your essays. Editing is another path to improving your essays as well as constantly learning about the MBA programs you’re applying to.
If you don’t read up on what’s happening at some of the business schools you envision attending, then your essays will lack that glimmer that makes successful essays stand out.
You’ve got to be in the know!
I’m digressing here but what I’m building up to is that to improve your essays, you will need all the feedback you can get from others around you: friends, family, professors, coworkers, etc.
This is usually one of the most difficult things to do but it’s a valuable way of making sure that your essays are sound and clear before you hit that ‘submit’ button.
Edit! Edit! Edit!
The Lonely MBA Applicant – A Temporary Moment
Unless you’re working with an admission consultant, writing MBA essays is a solo activity up until your work reaches its readers – the admission officers.
Once you hit that submit button, it’s no longer a solo endeavor. The essays become interactive, a prime target for either praise or scrutiny depending on the quality of your application.
And let’s face it, your essays along with the rest of your file will be passed down to other admission officers. They are all going to evaluate your application and see whether you have the juice.
Let’s not get discouraged though!
I know it may sound like drudgery having to hear that the essays have a life of their own once you submit your application. But it’s pointless to go by the “whatever happens, happens!” philosophy if you’re not going to give it your all!
Remember, think about why you’re applying to business school. What’s the reward? How badly do you want to go the business school of your dreams?
Do you really think that most MBA applicants who get into the business school of their dreams just take the GMAT, write a bunch of essays, press submit and voila! An interview invite is waiting in their inbox six weeks later? I think not!
They’ve all worked hard just like you and there is no reason why you shouldn’t give it your all.
If all you do is write essays and that’s it, then you need to do a little more. If you want happy admission officers smiling down at your file, embracing your stories and career goals, then you should have others take a look at your essays – critiquing and proofreading. ASAP.
Don’t Keep Your Essays to Yourself!
If you want good essays and don’t want to hire an admission consultant to edit your essays, you will have to start showing your essays to other people, preferably 2-3 people since more than that can become a bit crazy.
These people can be your parents, friends, coworkers, your boss (if appropriate), and others. Ideally, you want people who are writers and read often.
If you can’t find any, there are professional editors online who are not admission consultants but do have quite the eye for errors and examining the quality of the content presented.
You can usually find some at www.elance.com and they are not as expensive. I did this for a couple of essays and personal statement. I posted a job and had a few editing offers within hours of posting. I was also very happy with the outcome!
All in all, if you’re serious about writing your MBA essays, you’ll want to get opinions from folks who understand the nuances of application writing before you give it a final read and submit your application.
Even if you think your essays are blockbuster hits, it’s important to get comfortable letting someone read them so they can critique it.
You don’t want to regret not having done so and have all that hard work go to waste!
Critique Vs. Proofreading? What’s the Difference Anyway?
There is definitely a difference between critiquing and proofreading an essay.
The purpose of proofreading your MBA essays is to fix mechanical errors with spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If you don’t have grammar down pat, then it’s going to be hard to progress.
Make sure you’re on top of these from the get-go. Critiquing your essays is more about picking out the strengths and weaknesses – seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Are your career goals believable? Are you life stories captivating? Is your writing style consistent throughout the application? Does the language excite and compel? Do the essays flow? Are there gaps anywhere? Are your essays too general?
These are just some questions you should be thinking about that only someone who critiques your essay would be able to tell you. The more eyes, the better!
What about you? Do you share your essays for others to proofread them or do you think it’s a big waste of time? Are you using an admission consultant?
Remember, this space is for you so please feel free to comment!
My next post will touch upon the process of editing and asking those around you to edit your essays, and what to watch out for while you’re letting others read your essays.
As always, thanks for reading!