Who Should I Ask to Review My MBA Essays?
The finish line is in sight – you’re almost there! You’ve written your MBA application essays
and are ready to get a second (and third and fourth and fifth) opinion. Well first off, good for you – many applicants write their essays, edit them themselves, and then hit “Submit” without looking back. You’re already one step ahead of the game by taking this critical step – recruiting a few additional people to review your essay.
But…am I not good enough? Why can’t I review my own essay?
Consider the following three points:
1. Sense – Of course you know what you mean at every twist and turn of your essay, but that doesn’t mean that the admissions readers will. The best way to assess the sense factor of your essay is to present it to an outside (i.e. non-you) party to read it. These additional readers will objectively question your content and context to ensure that the points you’re trying to make come across successfully.
2. Style and structure – Your objective reader will also be able to judge whether your paragraphs flow properly or if the jump from one idea is bridged logically. Sometimes writers may move from one idea to another too abruptly; this jump may make sense to you – obviously you see the connection between these two ideas – but an objective reader may notice that the transition needs to be spelled out for the sake of clarity.
3. Syntax and spelling – If a few others look at your essay, the better you chance is of catching each and every spelling, grammar, and word choice error. You’ve looked over your essay one too many times to look critically at each letter on the page. This essay needs to be proof-perfect, and you’re more likely to hit that perfection sweet spot if you recruit fresh eyes.
How many eyes are enough eyes?
You should ask 2-5 people for advice. These people should fall into two categories: those that know you well and those that write well. Ask 2-3 people from each category.
The people who know you well will look at your essays and see if the essay represents you and depicts your personality, qualities, and skills accurately, while the people who write well will check the quality of your writing, making suggestions to improve grammar, style, word usage, etc.
Can too many cooks spoil my essay?
This is a good question and the answer is YES. You don’t want to send your essay to every Tom, Dick, and Mary in your address book mainly because 90% of those people won’t be qualified to review your essay. Don’t be mistaken in thinking that more is merrier here. You don’t want less-than-valuable advice from mediocre (or worse) writers or people who don’t know you so well. Not only will their advice be potentially counterproductive, but you’ve got enough to do – do you really want to sort through the essay edits of each of your high school cheerleader buddies?
Should I go pro?
Almost everyone can benefit from professional essay editing
, and if money is no object, then I recommend that everyone procure editing. Since, however, money is generally a consideration, I would say this: If you are confident that your essays (as well as the other components of your application) are sound, and if the people who review your essay agree, then you may not need the assistance of an admissions editor. If, on the other hand, you feel like you need the assistance of an admissions consultant or editor to get you to that point, then I suggest you do go pro. A professional consultant or editor will serve as a sounding board if you have specific questions about your essay, or as an overall guide if you need more direction. You can engage the assistance of a consultant/editor at any point in the writing process – at the beginning when you’re floundering for a topic, at the end when you need some final essay polishing, or any time in between.
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