We had a Brave Supplicant tell us recently about feedback received from schools applied to last year. A few supercool schools are way awesome in doing this — the usual suspects, like Darden and Tuck (and does NYU do it? misremembering). So this BSer reported back to us about the things the adcom-y person said.
And we went through the commentary and just sorta sighed.
Because listen: No adcom is gonna tell you you don’t have a chance in h3ll at their school. It’s just not fair to say that to someone, mostly because it’s not technically true. You cannot predict the future. Who knows, maybe someone choked the donkey the first time out but then whips out an a-MAZ-ing app the next time through. Nobody can predict in advance what the candidate pool will look like the next time around (or can they?) — and anyway, it’s just not HUMAN to tell someone to their face or over the phone or whatever that they’re a loser and “we don’t want you, don’t bother even trying.”
That type of conversation would be like having to do the dirty work of breaking up with someone and saying it’s over, when you never even dated them. Who wants that?
So. The wonderful adcom folks who offer this feedback are very guarded in what they say. They even might be speaking in code.
If an adcom-y person tells you that they were gonna accept you if only your GMAT score was higher, it’s BS. (And if you think that’s what they said, you might have misheard them.)
It’s especially BS if your GMAT was already over 700.
No it doesn’t matter how overrepresented your type of profile already is. They didn’t not let you in because of the GMAT. (Or to phrase that without a double negative: The GMAT wasn’t the reason they turned you down.) They not-let-you-inned last time because of other stuff that was missing in your pitch. Stuff that’s harder to articulate, maybe, and even harder to point-blank say to someone: “We don’t think you’re strong enough.” Or “We don’t think you’re actually a winner.” ‘Cuz even if that’s what they thought when they read through your app last year — well, who’s gonna say that to your face?
What was likely missing from your app was the goods. Stuff like over-the-top incredible examples of leadership and impact. Stuff like how you changed an organization from the outside in. Stuff like your neverending enthusiasm for what you do and how it seeps out of your pores and it dribbled onto the page of your MBA application and even in digital form when they opened up your file they got WHUFF smacked upside the head with it WOW!!
They can’t say that you were missing that stuff.
Because first of all it’s way too subjective, and secondly, what would a poor BSer do in reaction to that? There’s nothing you can take action on if they said that.
No. They say the GMAT wasn’t quite competitive enough, or your undergrad GPA was a concern, or whatever.
Maybe those things were true, in the aggregate, but they weren’t why you were rejected.
It was the whole package. Yes, you can spend time buffing up those components — and you definitely should, if you’re planning on reapplying to one of those programs, so you have something concrete to hold up as evidence of improvement. But to some degree, that stuff is tinkering around the margins.
The person you presented on the page of those essays and other elements of your app just didn’t jump up and speak to them.
This time around — or the first time around, for all of you squeaky clean BSers who’ve just recently showed up* for the ride — you need to find ways to present a more FULL YOU picture. A more multidimensional view. You need to be able to talk about the impact you’ve had on others — and hopefully, if you were rejected last year, you’ve spent the last few months having such an impact.
Also hopefully, if you were rejected last year, you’ve already made a small investment in something that can help.
*If you have, in fact, just recently showed up — please don’t worry about our seemingly “poor English.” EssaySnark is well aware that “showed up” is grammatically incorrect in that sentence, but being grammatically incorrect is more fun sometimes.