To all of you out there who had as brutal a round 1 as I did, I ask what is the most important lesson you learned from the first round of applications. I spent the last couple of days doing some serious self-pitying but now I realize it is time to make the most out of the experience gained from round 1. I find the most difficult part about assessing how my applications were received is that there is no actual feedback given, but I think I have pieced together a few things I need to change about my strategy for applications in round 2.
The most important thing I learned is that I was a little to conservative in the topics I chose to write my essays on. By conservative I mean I picked topics I thought the admissions committee would want to hear and not the topics that I am most passionate about. I believe this has led to my essays being full of good information but it also led to my essays being a bit dry and forgettable. If I had written about topics about which I am most passionate, they would have received a more favorable grade from the admissions committee.
Of course as I mentioned earlier I do not actually know if this assessment is correct or not but I think it would be interesting and helpful to hear what everyone else thinks they learned from their round 1 application experience.