Handling Conflicting Advice for your Application

Let’s say you follow my heartfelt, strongest advice and have other people review your application materials.  Congratulations, you just put yourself in the top 50% of applicants! Now, you get feedback from your friends and mentors.  Unfortunately, some of the feedback conflicts. For example, one of your helpers comments, “Be careful not to come off arrogant here,” and another comments, “I like this section- very assertive.”  You’re not sure whose advice to follow. What do you do now?

Consider the source.  Is your mom giving you advice that conflicts with a faculty member in veterinary medicine (let’s assume your mom is not in vetmed)?  Is your sibling, who is jealous of your success, giving you advice that conflicts with your classmate, who wants you to succeed? Don’t ignore these sources of advice, because they can absolutely be useful.  But weigh the sources appropriately.

This is where you, your individuality, your own approach, and your personal choices shine.  This is why asking for advice is not cheating. Unless someone writes your letter of intent and CV themselves, YOU are making decisions about what to change, what not to change, and how to change it.  These decisions differ among individuals and speak to who you are as an applicant.

Don’t take anyone’s suggestions made with Track Changes in Word and do ‘accept all.’  You need to evaluate each suggestion/correction and decide if you want to incorporate it or not.  This is also why my services are not cheating- YOU need to have written the sentence, and YOU need to modify it if necessary.

What if you get specifically contradictory feedback from two sources you trust a lot?  Someone advises “this sentence is great!” and another says “this sentence should be cut entirely.”  You can decide on your own or you can get a third perspective to weigh in. Remember, evaluators can vary widely in what they like and don’t like.  There is no perfect application. There ARE bad applications, and you want to avoid being one of those. At the end of the day, this is YOUR application- you get to decide what gets included and what doesn’t.

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