Hitting Round 2 (or more precisely, January deadlines) is critically important if you’re serious about trying to get into one of the competitive full-time programs. But, we’re obviously coming up on those deadlines really fast. If you’re starting to freak out that you’re not going to be ready in time, here’s some pointers.
First of all, to state it again even though we state it all the time: Round 3 — or, any deadline that hits in the March or later timeframe — is just going to be too late to be competitive. This is especially going to be true this year. The reason is that the schools get the bulk of their apps in the first two rounds and so they’re happily filling their available slots with the strongest candidates they get then. Most schools do still have some leeway to admit some stragglers in their last round but you have to be a VERY compelling BSer for them to find a spot for you. Remember, not only are you going to be competing against any other Round 3 applicant, you’re also hitting up against everyone on the waitlist for that school. Round 1 this year turned out exactly as we predicted: Some very strong candidates got offered a spot on the waitlist instead of being offered a spot in the class. So not only does your app have to be better than others in Round 3, it has to be better than others who are hanging out in the wings. We can assure you, there are some impressive BSers still waiting for their chances.
That doesn’t mean you can’t apply then. It just means you’re not likely to make it in. And then you’ll be a reapplicant in a few months’ time. And that can present REAL challenges.
Next, let’s clarify what this “No Round 3” advice really means: As we said above, it’s warning you against trying in the final round at the full-time programs at these competitive American bschools.
That doesn’t mean that Round 3 can’t fly at any school, or that it’s not a great idea for you specifically. To wit:
- Schools where Round 3 is viable
- Possible PROGRAMS where a Round 3 application might make sense
- Possible SITUATIONS where a Round 3 application might make sense
If you want more information on the pros and the cons, check out our little guide called All You Need to Know about Round 3 (and were afraid to ask?).
We even offer a service called the Late Season Strategy Review, to help you analyze your own chances based on the exact schools or programs you’re considering, with personalized feedback from the ‘Snark on whether it makes sense.
And finally: You actually would have time to get a full set of Round 2 essays reviewed. Pick up your school’s MBA essay strategy guide and get cranking. We are available to help out even for you late-to-the-party types.
Getting rejected is no fun, and it’s expensive. Get a handle on your chances before you cram a bunch of apps in – and make sure you understand the risk profile of trying in Round 3 before you skip out on the opportunity at hand right now with Round 2.