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Admissions Tip: Plan of Attack

With November wrapping up this week, Round Two deadlines for a number of programs are just around the corner.  As most applicants are targeting multiple schools and still working to narrow down their school selection, we wanted to take some time today to stress the importance of taking a deep breath and a step back and formulating a timeline for the coming weeks.  Establishing a set of incremental goals with regard to essay composition and recommender management at this point in the season will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that your aims are realistic.

One of our most important pointers pertains to the process of writing essays.  The urge to make progress on multiple fronts leads many applicants to work on essays for several schools in parallel, an approach that can be problematic.  One reason for this is that when one spends time immersed in three sets of essays at once, it’s easy to lose sight of the full picture he or she is presenting to any one school.  While it’s important to be oneself in the application process, it’s also crucial that an applicant tailor his or her materials to each school, a process that is made harder when constantly going back and forth among responses for various programs.  Another issue is that it’s easy to waste time implementing the same edits across documents for multiple schools, or to lose track of what one has changed in which essay.  For these reasons, we generally recommend focusing one’s full essay-writing attention on one program at a time.

Of course, your writing and story will improve with practice, and the last application you finish will likely be your strongest: a tricky situation, given that most applicants take care of their top choice school first to ensure that they’re able to submit in the earliest possible round.  With this in mind, we recommend that you build space into your timeline to allow yourself to revisit and revise each set of essays before submission.

The order in which you tackle tasks will naturally depend on the deadlines for each school. Therefore, let’s take a look at a selection of this winter’s deadline calendar:

November 27: INSEAD R2
December 4: Johnson R2
December 9: Kenan-Flagler R2
January 2: Ross R2, Tepper R2
January 3: Tuck R2
January 5: McDonough R2
January 6: HBS R2, Fuqua R2, CBS Deadline for Merit Consideration
January 7: Sloan R2, Darden R2, Wharton R2, Kellogg R2, Anderson R2
January 8: Booth R2, Stanford R2, Haas R2
January 9: Yale R2
January 10: Judge R2

Best of luck to all of our readers who are presently working their way through the lengthy application process!  Stay tuned to this blog for additional tips, news and notes as the admissions season unfolds.

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips

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