Once you decide who your reviewers are going to be, you need to get to requesting for a review. Before you proceed, there is something you must absolutely internalise.
Getting this review done is important to you. And the reviewer offering to take out time for you is doing you a favour. So it is extremely important for you to respect their time. Even if the reviewer is your best friend or if it is a working professional with a full time job. You ought to respect their time.
This means that you need to be make it as easy as you can for them to go over your application and offer feedback.
Give them enough time to review your application. You cannot be reaching out to them 2 hours before the application asking for a review and expect them to do it for you. They might do it out of their good heart. But it is strictly unprofessional and disrespectful to them.
This includes providing your reviewer sufficient context about the opportunity, why you wish to apply and what you look forward to gaining from it. Along with this, you also should share your complete application with them. For the reviewer to make sense of how you have positioned yourself, they will need to look at all the application elements together. So do remember to share your entire application including essays, resume, video and other elements.
Once you share information with your reviewer, it might a good idea to give them few hours/days to take a look at it. It is best that both of you agree upon a time that suits you both and set up a call or meeting. Do remember to show up exactly on time for the meeting.
As you discuss through, make sure you take notes wherever needed. This will help you remember all that you discussed about and will come handy later. Taking the review discussion casually, looking at it as the two of you chat over coffee and forgetting all the important points you need to incorporate in your application might not work well.
When your reviewer is passing on his/her feedback, stay open minded and be receptive to all that they are saying. Try and understand their point of view and why they think certain improvements should be made. An honest review might be a painful process. You might have thought that your application was amazing. But if your reviewer says it is not for x,y,z reasons, don’t take it to heart yet. Peacefully listen through and be open to consideration.
Yes, your reviewers might know you well and have taken effort to offer you feedback. But this does not mean that you should blindly follow any of it. When the review is done, you must sit down to think about what they said. Critically evaluate the feedback and accept it only if you think it makes sense.
Finally, irrespective of whether you use the feedback in your application or not, you should thank them for their time and effort. If their feedback did come handy, you should definitely let them know that it did.
Once you decide on your reviewers, intimate them well before time. Write your potential reviewer an email and brief them about your request. As discussed, remember to share all relevant information and make it easier for them.
Let’s look at the points you can include in this email:
Greetings and Purpose of the email - Say a Hi and then let them know that you are writing in to request a review of your application.
About the opportunity - Give them more information about the opportunity, Share relevant links wherever necessary to help them read through. But remember to not share just links. Summarise the whole opportunity in few lines, making it easier for them to quickly understand.
Why them? - Telling the reviewers why you decided to take their help in reviewing your application can really nudge them to help you out. Besides, it makes them feel good too.
Request for review - Finally close it out by seeking their consent in reviewing your application. It might also be good for you to confirm how they wish to deliver the feedback. Some people like leaving comments on the application, some prefer emails, some prefer calls while others prefer meeting in person. Giving them the flexibility to choose what works for them might be a good idea.
Before you close, Remember to thank them.
Once your reviewer accepts your request and agrees to review your application, you can follow up by providing further details:
You may include the following points in your email:
Thank them for accepting your request
Share your application - Tell them about your focus theme and also share your entire application with them.
Set a time to discuss - Based on how your reviewer wishes to deliver feedback, set up a time for your call/meetup. If they decide to leave comments or share feedback over email, then you can skip this step.
Once your review discussion is done, go back and thank them for their time. This can also go out as an emails and you may include the following points:
Mention the specific feedback you found useful
Mention how they review has helped you in improving your application
When this is done, reflect back on the feedback and edit out your application accordingly.
Congratulations. You have successfully completed one entire review cycle. Welcome to version 2 :)
Theoretically, the answer here is as many as you wish to, to get to a draft you are happy with. But practically, too much of anything can also be bad. Since all reviewers share feedback based on their perspectives about the program and you, some of these reviews might be contradictory. And an overload of comments can make you even more confused than when you were before.
Given the context, a self-review and 2 peer reviews is a sweet spot. It provides room for different perspectives to come in but also doesn’t provide room for way too many perspectives either.
Remember, quality is in the review.
A good, honest review can be time-consuming and even painful at times. But sticking through the process and honouring it can do wonders. So even when you you feel this takes up too much of your time or that it is unnecessary even, remember than the quality really lies in the review.