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I procrastinated and now my applications are due very soon! Can ApplicantLab still help me? If so, where should I get started?
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Look, in an ideal world, you would have gotten started months ago, but we totally get that often in life, situations are not ideal. 

Don't worry -- you can still get a TON out of the Lab, even if you don't utilize every since tool offered. 

We've had folks report that they took several days off of work to power through the Lab, and have gotten through a few applications within one week. 

Of course, it helps a lot if those applications have similar essays (like, say...in the past, Wharton / Columbia have had pretty similar essays) since that cuts down on the amount of "from scratch" effort with each school. 

If you're short on time, what we'd recommend is: 

  • Do a quick check of the first few "To Do List" items -- see if anything there still needs to be done 

  • Look at your "Strengths and Weaknesses" Report to be aware of any potential challenges in your profile, to keep in mind how to address them as you move forward 

  • Read the advice in the "Career Vision" section -- a lame career vision is the #1 reason otherwise competitive candidates get rejected. No need to do all of the exercises, just read the advice and make sure your career vision matches. Ditto for "Why MBA"

  • Brainstorming: usually, you can get through several applications with a minimum of 4 Leadership stories and 2 Failure stories (assuming that your recommenders will need to talk about 1 Leadership and 1 Failure story each, and you'll need to probably have at least one unique Leadership story for the essays (of course, this will vary by school, but this should at least be enough to get you started!). 

  • You can skip the Branding module -- not ideal, of course, but desperate times... 

  • If you're really strapped for time, you'll probably need to work on the Resume and the Essays at the same time. Remember to focus on the advice in the Resume module on how to make your resume as impactful as possible, and make sure your Essays do NOT copy the same wording from the resume! 

  • For essays, read the summarized "In a hurry?" advice at the top of each article, at a minimum. Then jump to Pre-Writing - start answering as many of the Pre-Writing questions as you can.Use the Pre-Writing notes to flesh out your drafts. 

  • Finalizing/Polishing: Use an online editing tool such as the Hemmingway App to do an AI-driven proof-read of your essays. If you have a little more time, share the essays with a friend, and then send them the Pre-Writing questions. Ask them how many of the Pre-Writing questions your current essay answers -- did you leave anything out? Did you focus too much on something that doesn't matter?  

Et...voila! In sum, the biggest value you can get in a short amount of time from the Lab is to use its frameworks and advice to "Sanity Check" your existing work and either power-through to build things from scratch, or to modify stuff you might have already been working on. 

No matter HOW you use it, we promise that every hour you spend in the Lab will provide a lot of value, all for less than the cost of one hour of a traditional consultants' time!