Yes, we realize that it’s only April 1st, and the wave of Round 1 deadlines aren’t going to hit until the Fall. Shoot, most schools still have Round 3 deadlines coming up for the still-active 2013-2014 application season. Why on earth would we be suggesting that it’s time to get started on a 2014-2015 application when Spring has hardly sprung in many parts of the world?
Well, it’s because our data show it’s a good idea.
We went back over our client list from the past few seasons and a very impressive percentage of folks who get started in the April/May timeframe end up making it in to one of their top-choice schools. Like, 9 out of 10 who began the process with us around abouts this point of the last two years had success in getting into a GREAT school later on that cycle.
There’s no guarantees of course; it’s not like you’re going to win the game simply by starting early. The reason for the high correlation with success is because this process requires effort, and many of the steps will take you much longer to get through than you realize. If you don’t believe us, here’s a story of someone who knows that part of his success was due to exactly what we’re suggesting here: starting early.
Think about the GMAT. (We know you’re basically doing all in your power to avoid thinking about the GMAT, but that’s not an advisable strategy is you’re actually going to do this bschool thing at some point soon.)
If you already have your happy score in hand, then no worries, you can feel confident that you’ve done what you need to do on this very important aspect of your application.
But if your current score is not what you’d hoped – or if you haven’t even taken the test at all yet – then NOW is most definitely the time to begin studying in earnest.
First tip: If you’re applying this coming season, then you need to plan for your first GMAT test by June at the latest.
This gives you enough time to regroup and attack it again if it doesn’t work out as you’d like the first time through.
Since it’s already April, and since most people need a good concerted amount of time for dedicated studying to get a handle on the concepts and skills that this test requires, then, well, you’d better get cracking with those books and guides. A course might even be advisable. Know thyself, Brave Supplicant. If you’re the type of person who procrastinates and procrastinates and despite all good intentions, ends up playing video games every night till 1am instead of actually working through some GMAT math problems, well, we do recommend some type of course that you have to pay for. Sometimes simply the fact that you paid for it is enough motivation to get you off your duff and working the material.
It also wouldn’t hurt to get back in classroom-mode, by going to an actual in-person course. Not necessary of course, plenty of people do just fine on the test without paying for a bunch of prep work, but we also know that the GMAT test is unlike anything you’ve likely done before and if you’re unfamiliar with the sneaky trickster questions that the GMAC people devise, then you might benefit massively from letting someone explain them to you.
So, get real about the GMAT. If you haven’t tested yet, then honestly, June is the last date we’d recommend for a first test. That leaves you so much time to deal with worst case scenarios and dashed hopes, if it comes to that (which of course we hope that it doesn’t!). You need to preserve all of August for writing essays, so you need to realistically figure out how to nail this test well in advance of that.
OK then. First wake-up call has been delivered. If you’re serious about applying to bschool this year, then please get serious about the GMAT test!
More on this getting-started subject coming later this week. Stay tuned. (Next post is here!)