The Y Combinator application season is upon us. I have been through YC a couple of times and have reviewed thousands of applications as a volunteer in later years.
Typically, you hear advice focused on ways to improve your YC application so it gets accepted. Here are some tips on what not to do and why so many YC applications get rejected. I’ve also put down some advice about what else to anticipate and take into consideration as you navigate the application process.
In short, don’t overthink your application, and keep it simple and straightforward.
When should I submit my YC application?
When in doubt, read YC’s instructions and answer the question literally. Avoid verbose marketing lingo and keep answers short and concise.
The best applications are often those made at the last minute, because applicants do not overthink their responses and toil over details they think need to be shoved into a question. While I do not recommend submitting applications at the deadline because the system has had issues receiving submissions, you can capture the essence of last-minute submissions by being clear and concise.
Remember that your application should be good enough to get an interview, not win a prize. Go back to work instead of spending more time perfecting an application.
YC experiments frequently. For this batch and the last, there was an early deadline that would give accepted teams access to YC before the batch officially began. Applying early gives you an opportunity to land an interview in the early round and to update your application to be considered in the standard round.