x drafts + y rewrites = ?

MBA applicants around the world are starting to lock themselves away with laptops and immersing themselves in their essays. Unless they haven’t started yet or still brushing up their GMAT in which case that last sentence won’t help at all.

I came across a rather extraordinary exchange on a prominent forum the other day, that went a little like this;

Applicant 1: I’m 3 drafts down for HBS and done 2 drafts for Wharton….

Applicant 2: I’m on draft 4 for HBS

Applicant 3: I’ve done 6 drafts for HBS already!!!

Applicant 1: Man, I need to write faster. I suck at writing essays.

I think that really sums up my point. Since when did more drafts equal more quality? Who has six genuine separate stories that they need to tell the admissions team of their chosen school? Absolutely no-one, that’s who.

Maybe its because graduate business applicants by their nature are quantitative-heavy in general, they feel the need to measure themselves in such discreet terms. I’m sure that some applicants feel less than secure about their message and that they also need to brag about these stats online. And I’m absolutely certain that no-one who writes ‘6 drafts’ as they put it has any 1 draft that makes a good essay.


“A number-of-draft to quality ratio can be expressed with an inverse exponential equation”… Seriously, just shut the f%$* up!

I’m certainly working on my essays. How many drafts have I written? Well, for the one’s I’ve started worked on maybe 1.5 – 2.5? Its rare I complete tear up a draft and start again. I take bits out, I put bits in, I take bits out again. I cut down words, I use simpler clearer vocabulary. But I don’t start all over again, and I have no idea how many ‘drafts’ I’ve written.

I don’t comeΒ from any genuine experience, but I do have a good gut feeling about some of these things. If you’re out there, locked in your room, furiously crossing whole essays out with red pen, relax and write something about you that is true and matters. I’m sure it’ll be a better essay.

I’ll put the unusual rage displayed in this post down to light cabin-fever…


11 thoughts on “x drafts + y rewrites = ?

  1. Haha, I totally agree! Had to stop reading the forums for this very reason. Just remember that everyone on there is scared out of their minds and has no idea what they’re doing, otherwise why would they even bother mentioning how many drafts they’ve finished? Keep on trucking…you’ll be fine! πŸ™‚

  2. I wonder what these people mean by drafts? My working drafts get chopped and changed daily but it’s still draft #1 in my mind!

  3. Uh the statement right at the beginning is spot on. It really doesn’t help to read all this when you are still preparing to give that GMAT and cannot afford to distract your self by the applications. 😦 The no of iterations are seriously freaking me out!

    Great to stumble upon here! See you around.

    • Thanks Ellie – I wouldn’t worry too much. I doubt any real progress will start until serious time pressure close to deadlines stops me getting indulged in other distractions. Good luck with the GMAT!

  4. Pingback: Fridays From The Frontline - Clear Admit Blog

  5. As the other guys said i couldn’t agree more here to throw away the initial thoughts just like that.It makes me nervous that i’ve not yet begun with my applications as i’m prepping up for my GMAT for the last and final time and people are drafting 6 drafts for a single essay

    P.S: I really don’t know if its feasible for me to do 6 drafts on single essay ( that is 6(drafts)x3(essays/avg)x6(schools) = whopping 108 drafts πŸ˜› Maybe i do not have that much of writing skills in me)

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