Whether or not you have apps pending in Round 1, you should be putting at least tentative plans in place for Round 2. If Round 2 will be your first apps (or if none of the Round 1 apps have worked out thus far) then you really (really really really) need to be getting busy, like, NOW.
You need to:
- Figure out which schools to apply to
- Figure out which to do first
But really, none of that matters. You just need to GET STARTED. Round 2 is your last opportunity if you’re aiming to be sitting in a bschool classroom in the Fall. Round 3 will simply be too late.
Do you think you want to apply to Columbia this year? OK great, do that app.
Get started on those essays today.
Or, do you think you want to apply to Ross?
Do that one.
It honestly does not matter at this point which schools are on your list. If you’re thinking you’re probably going to apply to a certain school, then that’s a great place to begin.
The point is, BEGIN.
As you know all too well, time has this crazy habit of moving fast.
It moves especially fast when a deadline you’re trying to avoid is on the horizon.
Well, guess what?
That deadline is more than just on its way.
It is HERE.
If you are serious about trying for bschool this season, you need to get serious NOW. You do not have the luxury of time any more.
Yes, Round 1 is an advantage. Whether you took advantage of that advantage or not is at this point irrelevant. Round 2 is what you’re left with. Unless you have an admit in hand, you must be planning to also apply in Round 2. If you haven’t applied anywhere yet and thought you had two more rounds to choose from, well, hate to break it to you buddy, you don’t.
If you want to be in the MBA Class of 2019, then you’re in one of these categories:
- Applied and admitted – woohoo! Congrats! There are a few schools that have issued decisions on early apps already, and some of you are in this enviable position (but most BSers are not).
- Applied and interviewed – another woohoo, you’re still in the running! Lots and lots in this category. If it was a by-invitation school, then you must’ve done something right. But, no counting chickens till they’re hatched, old boy.
- Applied and interviewed – at an interview-everyone school. This is also a good position to be in since you now have some experience in writing essays and also with interviewing, and that’s valuable if you don’t make it in, but the problem is that you have literally no idea if you’re going to make it in or not.
- Applied and rejected – uh-oh. That’s a super bummer. But! At least you got the rejection part out of the way early! You know that you’ll be doing Round 2 and that’s some valuable information there.
- No apps submitted yet. Well, better late than never, BSer! But we’re definitely talking to you when we say that Round 2 is your time. Round 3 just won’t work for the vast majority of applicants to the very best schools.
The highest-risk class of BSer is #3, and of course #5 since you have no prior experience in this process to build from. If you’re in the #3 group, then please take this advice seriously and get moving. Don’t get lulled into complacency by the fact that you interviewed at, say, Kellogg. That does not mean anything! It’s the admit that matters.
To the #2 group, we’re feeling more confident on your behalf but we also don’t want you to get blindslided. Applying to bschool is like dating – you keep going with the process until you find The One – and until The One says yes to you!
Why are we rattling your cage now? It’s still November! Don’t you have time? After all, the Ross adcom is fond of saying that you don’t need to spend a whole lot of time on the essays. However, they clearly do not appreciate what goes into writing a good set of essays. The BSers we know who get admitted to Ross put just as much effort into their essays as they do for the “harder” schools – which means, they put in A LOT. And, over and over again each year, the ones who we see winging it with their apps are the ones who end up with few (or zero) options.
Except for Ross, every other adcom wisely advises to put some serious time into this essay-writing endeavor.
That means, do it now.
That does not mean applying to all the schools. It means applying to the schools that are right for you. Hopefully you have a sense of which those are by now. If not, you’d better get busy on that, too! (Our Comprehensive Profile Review offers some real-world assessments of whether your current list is in line with reality or not.)
That being said: Part of a viable strategy is to NOT submit apps everywhere just to get them submitted. This is not a numbers game. We strongly suggest that you hold back on at least one of your top-choice schools, and NOT apply right now.
That way, you’ll have one school in reserve to do as a “fresh” application for Round 1 in the Fall if none of these Round 2 attempts work out this season. It’s always easier to get in as a new applicant rather than a reapplicant, particularly when the original app is submitted in Round 2 which is only a few months away from when Round 1 apps will be due next season (it may seem like forever away to be talking about Round 1 next year but honestly it will be here very quickly!!! remember how fast the summer went this year, and how Round 1 snuck up on you? yeah, that.)
If you have more than one Round 1 app still active and in play, then congrats to you for being set up so well in this hypercompetitive season. You still don’t want to assume anything about those apps. At least sketch out a preliminary plan, and take a look at the deadlines, so you know what you’re facing if the news coming down the pike in two weeks’ time does not go your way. Obviously we hope that it does, and that you end up with an abundance of riches and the dilemma of which to choose! But taking the conservative approach, it would be wise to have a short list of targets prepared, and start having a look at their essay questions, and even a plan of attack of how you might proceed, if worse comes to worst and you walk away empty-handed when all the decisions come down.
If you do have apps in play, then the next few weeks are going to be brutal; you’re probably done with the interviews and all you can do is to wait. And drink egg nog. Many BSers tell us every year that the waiting is the hardest part.
We don’t wish more essay-writing on any of you. But we also don’t wish any panicked essay-writing on you either. Walk through your options, so you come into this prepared. You do NOT want to end up facing down a boatload of more applications with only three weeks to complete them.
When you get the happy news of successes, we will be here to celebrate! We hope that time comes soonest for all of you.
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