It is difficult, however I'm a little appeased when people tell me it only gets easier. I finished my first draft for a school essay. The main one - why MBA, why here. My reviewer gave me some great feedback that included 20% praise and 80% criticism. The good guy that he was, he actually apologized for the censure in the same mail telling me he felt i needed it to get better. The thing is I dont need yes-men at this point, so all his points were welcome.
I thought I'd sit the next day and work on the essay. Come up with brilliant points, colourful writing style, structure. I sat with my fingers literally in knots, my thought process going in circles and (hello!) I consider I'm generally clear headed. So I let that day pass in complete frustration.
One of my recommenders informed me that she wont be available for the rest of the month because of a home move and other personal activities. I had 1 day to come up with the outlines for jogging her memory. Seriously this was a great event. I sat and faced all the questions... 3 strengths, 3 weaknesses, leadership examples, interpersonal skill examples. For some reason I was able to find so many things I had done under her supervision. So it turned out that I took this deadline opportunity and completed my resume (2nd and final draft) and recommender 1 outline. I have however found that there are more questions asked by other schools to recommenders and need to add a little more to the outline for recommender 1. So suddenly this outline exercise has added to my knowledge of myself. I remember multiple things I have done that hopefully adds dimension or atleast offers choice to my essay examples.
It has also raised doubts on my choice of recommenders, especially for one who I know is extremely enthusiastic about recommending me, but given the kind of examples the other recommenders can show I am doubtful if I should use my enthusiastic recommender or not. What complicates this situation is that its difficult to do away with this recommender so easily because (1) she's a international customer (2) she's enthusiastic and uses words like 'brave' to describe me - all this unsolicited. I am still crippled with this question, so maybe as I get through this day and complete more recommendation outlines, I will have a better answer to this question.
I also have to say I'm loving the Accepted.com essays book. Its concise and to the point. I think I have a half mind to do a review on it when I get the time.
Key takeaways from this post
- Creating outlines for your recommenders really helps you remember your work and brings new insight to write essays.
- Recommendations need fantastic examples and not broad bombastic statements like X is brilliant or X has performed in challenging tasks and under extreme pressure.
- Writing outlines confirms or raises questions in your head, about the wisdom of your choice of recommenders.
PS : If you have reached to the end of this post, I have a few free BTG practice questions premium accounts to offer. If you have not read my review on this fantastic product, here it is What is the Newly launched Beat the GMAT practice questions all about ?. If you are interested do post comments on this post with your mail id.