News, advice and resources for business school applicants

Admissions Tips

Browse our weekly admissions tips, or choose the category most relevant to you: researching, planning, applying, deciding.


How to Choose the Right MBA Program

ann richardsPerhaps you’re at the beginning stage of the important process to identify which MBA programs you’ll apply to. Maybe, with multiple acceptances in hand, you have the exciting and life-altering task of deciding where you ultimately want to enroll. In either case, Ann Richards, interim director of admissions at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, has valuable insight to help you make the most informed decision possible.

“There are a handful of key elements that are essential when trying to choose the right MBA program for you,” Richards says. “Research, visit and conduct a self-assessment to understand what’s important to you,” she advises. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, MBA News, News | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Understanding Background Checks

background-checkWith a slew of schools releasing their R1 notifications in the coming weeks, we know that many of our readers will be asking about the background checks conducted by leading programs.  Here are some quick facts to help explain the process:

1) What are background checks?  Background checks involve the verification of information that a candidate has provided in his or her MBA applications.  Although the process varies from school to school, it usually includes checking that an applicant attended the undergraduate (or graduate) school(s) that he or she claims to have attended, received the grades indicated and earned the GMAT score reported.  It also involves the verification of the candidate’s employment history, job titles, starting and ending dates and salary/bonus information.  Finally, some background checks involve contacting recommenders to verify their support and confirming applicant involvement in community activities. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Kellogg Admissions Director Shares How School Assesses Candidates’ Interpersonal Skills

Kellogg01 editedThe director of admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has devoted a series of recent blog posts to demystifying the admissions process at the school. Her most recent post shares what she and her team are looking for as they assess candidates’ interpersonal skills.

How well a candidate fits with the school’s MBA program is a significant consideration for the Kellogg admissions team, as it is at many top programs. “Our community values collaboration, involvement and giving back, and we look for that in our applicants as well,” wrote Admissions Director Beth Tidmarsh in a blog post earlier this week. Candidates who thrive in team-based environments will fit in well at the school, she continued. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, MBA News, News | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Navigating the Waitlist

waitlistWhile the past few weeks have seen a number of admits and rejections handed down to round one MBA applicants, the fate of many remains uncertain.  There is no reason for waitlisted candidates to lose hope, as the top programs admit a fair number of individuals from the waitlist in round two and thereafter, but we know that cautious optimism does not make the wait for an answer any easier.  To help those in this situation make sure that they’re doing all they can, we wanted to share a few waitlist tips:

1. Know
and follow—the rules.  Schools vary in their stances when it comes to interaction with those on the waitlist; some shun communication from applicants and even go so far as to discourage on-the-record campus visits, whereas others welcome correspondence and assign waitlisted candidates to an admissions office liaison.  We know that the natural impulse is to reach out to the adcom and update them on that recent promotion or the final grade from that accounting class you took to bolster your academic profile.  At first blush, it might seem that there’s no harm in sending a short letter or making a call, but no matter how exciting the information you wish to communicate, ignoring the adcom’s instructions is ultimately going to reflect badly on you.  Though such a policy may seem frustrating or unfair, it’s important to respect and abide by the preferences of each school. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Decision Tips | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Drafting A Resume

ResumeAs candidates tackle interviews and preparation for Round 2 applications, we would like to revisit an important aspect of the application: the resume. Given the many roles that the resume plays in the business school application process, drafting a resume (or CV) is an excellent starting point for someone embarking on the next round of MBA applications. Here are several reasons why now is the time to focus on polishing your resume:

1) Crafting a resume can serve as the creative starting point for candidates trying to develop their positioning strategy and career goals for the MBA admissions process. Distilling all relevant educational, professional and extracurricular experiences into a coherent one-page document can be an eye-opening exercise. This step is helpful to many applicants because it can reveal overarching themes in their work and activities or bring to light key selling points in their profile. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips, Planning Tips | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Avoiding Common Pitfalls, Part II

pitfallLast week we offered some advice to help applicants avoid common pitfalls in writing their essays for the Round 2 deadlines.  This week we’d like to offer some more advice.  Although these tips might not apply to everyone or to every school, these are some good basic strategies to employ.  For personalized advice about your applications, contact Clear Admit directly.

1.    Think strategically when delving into anecdotes that are highly personal.
  While breaking up with your college sweetheart may have had some impact on who you are today, you’ll want to be careful about using personal matters as the basis for an essay.  While there are certainly exceptions, we find that examples from the professional sphere or from extracurricular activities typically make for stronger, and more compelling, essays, as they speak to the things that the admissions committee cares the most about, including qualities and skills that relate to professional success. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Avoiding Common Pitfalls, Part I

avoid pitfallToday we would like to offer a handful of essay pointers in brief in order to help applicants avoid common pitfalls as they gear up for the Round Two deadlines.  While we should caution that every applicant is unique and that some of these tips may not apply to everyone, we wanted our readers to have an introduction to some of the basic strategies they should be employing.  As always, contact Clear Admit directly for more tailored advice to your candidacy.

1.    Remember your reader. 
In application essays and résumés, applicants often get caught in the technicalities of their work, losing their reader in jargon.  Keep it simple in order to make your discussion easy for your non-specialist audience to understand.  Such clarity will help the reader to appreciate the nature and significance of your work. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: Plan of Attack

plan-of-attackWith November underway, Round Two deadlines for a number of programs are just around the corner.  As most applicants are targeting multiple schools and still working to narrow down their school selection, we wanted to take some time today to stress the importance of taking a deep breath and a step back and formulating a timeline for the coming weeks.  Establishing a set of incremental goals with regard to essay composition and recommender management at this point in the season will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that your aims are realistic.

One of our most important pointers pertains to the process of writing essays.  The urge to make progress on multiple fronts leads many applicants to work on essays for several schools in parallel, an approach that can be problematic.  One reason for this is that when one spends time immersed in three sets of essays at once, it’s easy to lose sight of the full picture he or she is presenting to any one school.  While it’s important to be oneself in the application process, it’s also crucial that an applicant tailor his or her materials to each school, a process that is made harder when constantly going back and forth among responses for various programs.  Another issue is that it’s easy to waste time implementing the same edits across documents for multiple schools, or to lose track of what one has changed in which essay.  For these reasons, we generally recommend focusing one’s full essay-writing attention on one program at a time. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Planning Tips | 0 comments

Perfecting the Virtual MBA Admissions Interview

shelly heinrichClear Admit’s own site and many others are filled with advice on how to apply to an MBA program, write an effective essay or choose a strong personal reference. Participating in an MBA admissions panel or fair can also help you strengthen these components of your application. Less discussed—but increasingly more important these days—is how to prepare for a virtual MBA admissions interview.

Shelly Heinrich, Director of MBA Admissions at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, recommends visiting the campus for an in-person interview if at all possible, as do admissions staff at many schools. “There is no better impression made than one that is done in person,” she says. “Additionally, the more you visit a campus and interact with staff, students and alumni, the more informed you will be about the program and the better choice you will make on where to enroll.” Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Interview Tips, Interviews | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: The Long Essay

Long EssayEssay content you’ve polished for one school often serves as a great starting point for the next application, but as we’ve often said, customizing this text for the school in question is key.  One particular challenge we see applicants struggle with each year is effectively expanding a short essay they’ve written for one program in responding to a question on the same topic but with a longer limit.  With this in mind, we’d like to offer some pointers on converting condensed comments to more extensive remarks.

1) Expand in proportion.  When taking an existing response as a starting point for crafting a longer document, one good rule of thumb is to build upon each subject to more or less the same extent.  While elaborating on your work to date might involve less time and work than the more research-intensive “why School X” discussion, it’s generally prudent to maintain balance among subjects and provide all of the major pieces of information a school requests in equal measure. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips | 0 comments

Admissions Tip: The Comparison Trap

comparisonWe wanted to take some time today to discuss a frequently made mistake in the application process.  In their desire to make their case to their target MBA programs, many applicants devote sentences and even paragraphs to explaining why the school in question is their “first choice” and arguing its superiority over other schools.

Though certainly understandable, this is actually not a very productive exercise.  Let’s consider a few reasons why from the schools’ point of view:

Tell me something I don’t know.
  A popular strategy – and not always bad one – for applicants seeking to demonstrate their fit with one school above any other is to study its website to understand the program’s self-determined selling points, and then profess an interest in those.  The thing that essay writers don’t always consider is that while a school’s distinguishing characteristics might be the factors that set it apart from others, this is not necessarily what the admissions committee wants to read about in an applicant’s essays.  The very admissions officer reading your file spends months every year pushing this marketing message out to prospective students.  Members of Harvard’s and Darden’s admissions staff know all about the merits of the case method, Kellogg and Duke’s admissions committees are already up to their ears in team orientation, and Stanford and Yale could not be more aware of the benefits of a small class size.  This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t touch briefly on these key points (the schools highlight these for a reason), only to suggest that to put together a really compelling application, it’s important to push beyond high-level differentiators and immediate association and demonstrate that you’ve learned about the program on a deeper level.  In making room for this level of detail within a restrictive word limit, cutting other schools out of the picture is a great starting point. Continue reading…

posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips | 0 comments

Page 1 of 641234...Last »