It’s a brutal world out there.
We’ve been thrilled to get reports of many many Brave Supplicants making it into really good schools this season (with the usual sprinkling of admits to the great schools too) – yet in several cases we’ve been shocked and surprised to hear of WHERE some of these BSers ended up. Instead of landing a spot at Wharton or Columbia or Tuck or Duke, we’ve seen a more-than-usual number of extremely well qualified candidates end up at Cornell and Darden and Ross and INSEAD.
Now don’t get us wrong, that second list is comprised of some truly top-notch schools. The people we worked with who ended up at those places are pretty happy about things. Lots of reasons to be proud of an admit to any of them. But some of these candidates could’ve easily scored a spot a titch higher on the rankings in any other admissions season.
As we said, we did still see admits to H/S/W, but… more than one who we expected to get in to those places ended up waitlisted – or outright rejected – even when they were bringing super strong profiles.
We are nervous to see what these top U.S. schools publish in their class profiles for this entering crop of students. It was bad last year (Class of 2017) when average GMAT scores went up so much at so many places. It’s hard to imagine that those averages could go up further, however we’re bracing ourselves in case it happens. It would not be impossible.
The factors contributing to this can be summed up as:
- More competition – obviously
- From better-qualified applicants
Those GPAs and especially GMAT scores are taking on more and more prominence, and it’s apparently becoming harder and harder for certain schools to resist playing the rankings game. In fact, we’ve hypothesized here on the blahg and in our school application guides that Wharton and MIT in particular have started paying much closer attention to the GMAT scores of the applicants they admit, since those two schools seem quite fixated on improving their standings. Wharton is gunning for Harvard and Stanford. MIT is trying to recover from a hit they took this past season. Based on reports we’ve gotten from BSers out there, Duke and Tuck unfortunately both seem to have tilted more in that direction, too, after being holdouts in not focusing quite so much on a static test score to make their decisions.
It’s not only the GMAT that matters. As we said, we saw plenty of highly qualified applicants who did not make it in. It’s the whole package, for sure. It’s always been the case that a high GMAT score does not guarantee anything in the world of bschool admissions. Over our decade-plus of doing this admissions work, we have seen lots and lots of BSers with scores in the 750 range who came away empty-handed based on having otherwise flat or plain-vanilla, undifferentiated profiles.
Yet this year, we saw people who honestly made no mistakes on their applications, who did a good job with the essays, who did their homework and showed their enthusiasm and fit for the school, and yet still did not manage to break in and be admitted. Those adcoms sure were choosey.
The reason we’re banging on this drum again is because those of you who have not yet made it in – or those of you who are thinking of trying for the Class of 2019 – have a prime opportunity at hand RIGHT NOW. Now is the time to make changes to your profile.
For many improvements, now is the ONLY time to do so.
GMAT scores cannot keep going up to infinity. However, we don’t expect to see them going DOWN anytime soon either. Based on the outcomes we’ve seen this season, the Class of 2018 is one impressive set of students. If you got in ANYWHERE this year, you should be proud.