With the MBA programs releasing their Round 3 notifications in the upcoming weeks, the 2012-2013 admissions season is coming to a close for the vast majority of MBA aspirants. We’d like to offer our congratulations to all those who have gained admission to one of more of their target schools and wish good luck to waitlisted applicants whose fate is presently a bit less certain. For all those who submitted their applications in the final round and received an unfavorable decision, we’d like to share a few tips that we hope will make the process of facing rejection as productive as possible:
1) Understand the odds and consider reapplying in the early rounds next year. If you failed to gain admission to a school in its final application round, you should not give up hope or instantly assume that your profile contains some glaring weakness that will forever bar you from acceptance. Because relatively few spots in the incoming class are available by the time of the Round 3 deadlines, it is always most difficult to get into a school at this point in the year. In many cases, an earlier application is all that you need to find success in the process. Continue reading…
As many of our readers know, a small number of leading MBA programs offer admissions feedback sessions to applicants who did not make the admissions cut in a given season. Though we’ve touched upon this subject before, we’d like to use today’s blog entry to underline the importance of these feedback sessions for those of you who are considering reapplication.
While not all schools offer feedback, a handful of schools issue an open invitation to all unsuccessful applicants. Additionally, some programs occasionally offer feedback “by invitation” to top candidates for whom they just didn’t have room that year. In all cases, if you are given the opportunity to get feedback, you should absolutely take advantage of it. There are several reasons for this: Continue reading…
We have previously posted some correspondence tips for those applicants who have been waitlisted by schools that welcome supplemental materials and communication. Today, we’d like to provide some advice to those who are in an arguably more difficult position: waitlisted by schools that discourage further contact with the adcom.
This may sound obvious, but if a school indicates that they do not want supplemental materials, then you should respect their guidelines. In other words, do not send along a new recommendation or an essay if the program has clearly indicated that you should not do so. There may be exceptions to this—for example, if a dramatic change has taken place in your candidacy—but in most cases, you should simply follow the rules. Continue reading…
With many MBA programs beginning to release their R2 decisions, the spring notification season will soon be coming to a close. While we would like to hope that today’s topic isn’t apropos for too many of our readers, we wanted to offer some advice to applicants who’ve been rejected from their preferred programs and are planning on reapplying next season. While it’s important to take some time to deal with the disappointment, it’s never too early to begin thinking about the next season, and there are a number of steps you can take to improve your candidacy and move toward a stronger application.
1) Reevaluate. While it’s certainly difficult when things don’t go as planned, this is actually a great chance to take stock of your career and goals and to make sure that an MBA is still a logical and necessary step at this point. It’s this sort of reflection that can lead to refined career goals and a clearer sense of the reasons you need a business education.
Though many business school applicants know exactly what they want to do—and how much they hope to make—after they graduate from an MBA program, a surprising number apply to school without thinking about how they’ll pay for this expensive degree. While some students do foot the entire bill themselves or receive scholarship support from the school or an outside institution, the vast majority of MBA students borrow funds to cover their tuition and living expenses. With this in mind, we wanted to cover some very basic information on loans for the benefit of both recent admits entering school this fall and early birds just beginning to think about their applications for Fall 2013. Continue reading…
In addition to actively evaluating the applications of Round Two applicants at this time of year, many top programs revisit their Round One waitlists and consider the strength of those individuals with respect to the new information about the pool. While schools vary in their receptivity to correspondence from applicants, those programs that do welcome additional materials offer a great chance for waitlisted candidates to reaffirm their interest in the school and keep themselves fresh in the mind of the adcom.
With the second-round notification dates for a number schools coming up in a matter of weeks, we wanted to offer some tips to students who have been waitlisted at such programs while there’s still some time to tip the balance in their favor.
It’s clear that you should take advantage of this chance to add to your file, so the first real step is determining what you want—and need—to communicate in your waitlist correspondence. We suggest that you begin by revisiting your application with a critical eye. Continue reading…
What should an applicant do when placed on the waitlist at his or her dream school? While most applicants regard the waitlist in a negative light (we’ve even heard it described as “a sort of purgatory prior to getting dinged”), the best approach is to view the glass as being half-full (especially for R1 waitlisters). In all cases, getting waitlisted is much better than getting denied.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate this often difficult and mysterious process:
1) Know your file. Before you can develop a waitlist strategy, you need to understand where you may have fallen short in the application process. Read over your file with a critical eye and try to identify any weaknesses. Talk to anyone you know who might be able to give you feedback (MBA students at the target school, former admissions officers, admissions consultants, etc). Continue reading…
With the majority of schools having released their Round One decisions, many successful applicants will soon be facing the enviable – but often agonizing – decision of choosing between programs. Though we know that those of you in this position will already be juggling an overwhelming amount of information about the schools on your short lists, we wanted to offer a few pointers to consider as you identify and evaluate the most important facts and factors in making this decision.
1) Immerse yourself. If you have not yet visited campus, go to the school and see what you think of the environment. Be sure to attend classes, talk with students, tour the facilities, and so on. Even if you have already made the trip, it’s a good idea to attend the school’s events for admitted students to meet your potential classmates. After all, these are the folks whose thoughts you will be hearing in class for two years and who will making up your future network. Continue reading…
At the beginning of April, we discussed the importance of signing up for a feedback session when one is planning to reapply to a program that provides this opportunity. Today we’d like to follow up on that post by offering a few thoughts on feedback session etiquette.
While on one hand a feedback session marks the close of this year’s process, it’s crucial that you realize that the impression you make on the adcom member conducting the session may be added to your file and come to bear on your candidacy next year. Taking heed of the following advice could help to make your feedback session as productive as possible – both in terms of gaining information about your weaknesses that you can address now and fostering a positive relationship with the school that will pay off in the future.
Be pleasant. Though the admissions process is a highly emotional one and to have invested time, effort and money in an application without having an acceptance to show for it is undoubtedly very frustrating, receiving the adcom’s comments in an appreciative – not defensive – manner is of the utmost importance. While it might be tempting to argue with the adcom’s criticisms of your file or counter their comments about your weaknesses with steps you’ve taken to address them, this is simply not going to be productive. You should view this as an exercise in listening and an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the school. Continue reading…
With the MBA programs releasing their Round 3 notifications in the upcoming weeks, the 2011-2012 admissions season is coming to a close for the vast majority of MBA aspirants. We’d like to offer our congratulations to all those who have gained admission to one of more of their target schools and wish good luck to waitlisted applicants whose fate is presently a bit less certain. For all those who submitted their applications in the final round and received an unfavorable decision, we’d like to share a few tips that we hope will make the process of facing rejection as productive as possible:
1) Understand the odds and consider reapplying in the early rounds next year. If you failed to gain admission to a school in its final application round, you should not give up hope or instantly assume that your profile contains some glaring weakness that will forever bar you from acceptance. Because relatively few spots in the incoming class are available by the time of the Round 3 deadlines, it is always most difficult to get into a school at this point in the year. In many cases, an earlier application is all that you need to find success in the process.
2) Get feedback from the admissions committee. As we commented in a recent post, some of the top programs allow unsuccessful applicants to sign up for a feedback session with an admissions officer (sessions typically take place over the summer). This is a unique chance for you to learn how the committee perceived your application. Keep in mind that your audience with the adcom will be brief – try to approach the meeting with pointed questions about your candidacy in order to ensure that the feedback session is as productive and informative as possible.
3) Get feedback from other sources. Although a number of schools do not offer feedback, there are other ways to learn about where you may have fallen short. To start, you should read over your file with a critical eye and try to identify and understand your weaknesses. Take a step back from the process and be objective about your shortcomings. You might also share your file with colleagues who have been to business school. While this can be enlightening, you should also be careful about the feedback you collect on these fronts, since not all of it will be accurate (or consistent). Finally, you might seek feedback from an MBA admissions consulting firm. Clear Admit offers complete feedback sessions, including detailed written reports that provide an individualized road-map for reapplication.
4) Plan for a productive summer. Although it’s tempting to simply take a break from the admissions process after receiving a rejection letter, it is imperative that reapplicants use the summer months to address the weaknesses in their profiles. In many cases, reapplicants need to pursue outside coursework, retake a standardized test (GMAT/TOEFL), increase involvement with outside activities or take on new responsibilities at work. All of these tasks take time and cannot be addressed in the fall when application forms and essays should be the priority. By being proactive about improving your candidacy now, you will put yourself in a much better position to apply next year.
Though many business school applicants know exactly what they want to do – and how much they hope to make – after they graduate from an MBA program, a surprising number apply to school without thinking about how they’ll pay for this expensive degree. While some students do foot the entire bill themselves or receive scholarship support from the school or an outside institution, the vast majority of MBA students borrow funds to cover their tuition and living expenses. With this in mind, we wanted to cover some very basic information on loans for the benefit of both recent admits entering school this fall and early birds just beginning to think about their applications for Fall ’12.
The primary source of funding for U.S.-based applicants will be federal loans or alternative education loans. The main federal loans, available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, are the Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized), the Federal Perkins Loan and the GradPLUS Loan. Full-time students, usually those enrolled in two or more courses per semester, can borrow as much as $20,500/year through the Federal Stafford loan program. Perkins Loans are low-interest (a rate of 5 percent) loans with a maximum annual loan amount of $8,000/year for graduate students. The Grad PLUS Loan can be used to pay for the total cost of education less aid you’ve already been awarded. Those interested in applying for federal student aid should check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When federal loans are not enough, private loans can help bridge the gap in education costs. Students might contact their local bank or look into lender programs, such as SallieMae or Access Group, for details on borrowing eligibility.
International students are not eligible for federal loans but may consider private loans as a financing option. The International Student Loan Program (ISLP), for instance, offers a credit-based loan to international students who are looking to finance their education in the U.S. However, as with most private loans, this loan requires a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to co-sign. International students can also visit International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) to search for funds (as can U.S. citizens planning on studying overseas). Finally, most of the leading MBA programs offer private loans to their students in partnership with a particular financial institution – some of which do not require a co-signer – so this might become an option after one is admitted.
Many need-based loans are classified as subsidized, meaning that interest does not accrue while the borrower is enrolled in a degree program (whereas interest begins to accrue immediately on unsubsidized loans). Typical timelines of loan repayment can extend from 5 to 30 years, depending on the lender’s conditions of deferral and the amount of funds borrowed. After graduation, students usually have a six-month grace period before monthly repayment begins. While schools’ admittance packages usually include detailed information about financing the MBA, incoming students and applicants should not hesitate contact the school’s financial aid office for further information on available need- or credit-based loans.