Or, I really want to apply to bschool for next year. When can I get started??
This question typically comes from those who came to the application party late — who realized in like January that they wanted to go to bschool, and didn’t know that they were already SOL in terms of timing for the current year.
Or, it comes from people who were unsuccessful in their apps thus far — either by being not quite as prepared as they needed to be, or maybe just coming at it from an oversubcribed pool in another very competitive year.
Either way, we love this question! It means you’re motivated and aware (of deadlines and cycles) and ready to roll.
The thing is, right now, you’re a little too early.
(If you’re reading this and just decide NO PROBLEM! I’LL APPLY IN ROUND 3 AND THEN I’LL BE HEADED TO BSCHOOL IN THE FALL OF *THIS* YEAR!! we say stop!!! go read this!!!!!)
The admissions season typically kicks off in May.
HBS is usually the first school to release their essay questions for the coming year; Columbia releases their essays and their entire application then, and people are even able to start applying to Columbia’s Early Decision and J-Term rounds that early. Some schools like NYU and Cornell may not get questions out till August, but most will release them in the June/July timeframe. So, this will all heat up for the next season before you know it!
If a school doesn’t have its new essays out, then you probably should hold off and not get started on anything for them at all, as essay questions do tend to change, sometimes radically, from year to year. If you just want the practice in developing the content and starting to articulate your theme, then maybe you could proceed with the school’s current questions, but it could end up in some wasted effort, and besides, if you have new achievements in the next few months, you’d need to find a way to integrate those into the pitch later anyway.
So you may want to just sit tight for awhile.
In fact — you should be ENJOYING this time of year. Spring is right around the corner. You have FREEDOM. You are not sweating under the midnight oil with deadlines breathing down your neck, as you will be soon enough once Labor Day rolls around (that’s in early September for all you international peeps).
Go out and play! Hit the slopes for one last ski trip, or take an early escape to the beach. Do a Spring Break thing and have a good time.
You will be grunting under the heavy load of career goals and accomplishments and what-am-I-supposed-to-SAY-to-this-question before you know it. Relax and enjoy yourself. Torment will be upon you soon enough.