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Admissions Consulting: what is it?

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December 13, 2019

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Josh Jones

Ideally, an admissions consultant works with you like your marketing department will work with you to launch your startup’s new product or service.

Initially, it’s important to have a frank discussion regarding your objectives – now that seems obvious, but it really isn’t.  If your consultant simply rubber-stamps your list of preferred schools and/or your overall admissions strategy, then you need to switch consultants.

Is an MBA right for you?  Perhaps there’s another degree that would better serve your interests.

Are you picking the right schools?  Look, you may not be Harvard material, but you may be perfect for Dartmouth or Chicago – don’t just assume that you know what you want; take the time to make sure because you don’t want to miss the right school in your efforts to get into the best school.  (I know, I know rankings are critical, but – let’s be honest for a moment – your life isn’t going to end because you went to Chicago instead of Stanford; to the contrary, depending upon who you are and what you want to do, Chicago may even be better for you (all things considered)).

Are you pursuing the right strategy?  Maybe you should take some time to study – even if that means applying in a later round or, Heaven forbid, applying in a later year.  I know waiting isn’t for everyone, but it might be the right decision for you.

Please understand that I’m not saying we’re going to talk you out of anything; in many cases, we’ll simply reconfirm what you already knew (or, more accurately, thought you knew), but that doesn’t make what we’re doing any less important: this is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s worth investing in your due diligence.  

Once we’ve decided upon your objectives, it’s time to craft a strategy, and that means it’s time to talk with you.  You’ve led your life; you’ve done various things, it’s all in your resume, but what’s the theme that connects all of these disparate achievements and events?  Where’s the you hiding in there and how can we make sure that Admissions Officers will see that you and see it in the best possible light?

Then, it’s time to get to work.  You’re going to need to draft and re-draft your essays until we get them right, but writing is re-writing: don’t expect to get it right on the first draft, and don’t expect to get it right very quickly.  This will take time.

And whatever else you do, don’t expect your essay to look like anyone else’s.  It’s sometime said that every happy life is the same, but every sad life is tragic in its own unique way; by similar logic, every ordinary application is the same, but the great ones are unique.  If there’s a common theme to successful admissions essays, it’s that great admissions essays are stories. People react to stories far more than they react to anything else; it’s just how we think and process information, so that’s what you need to do – you need to make the story of your life compelling.

And that’ll take time.

And a little help.

Which is the essence of what we do here.

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