(Well, besides picking up The Reapplicant Guide…)
If you are looking down the barrel of the reapplicant shotgun and wondering what you can do to increase your chances, we’ll lay out a biggie right now:
VISIT THE SCHOOL.
If you did this already, you’re off the hook.
If you didn’t – if you made it all the way through the application process last year without setting foot on that school’s campus, and if you’re planning on giving them a shot again now, then please figure out how you’re going to get your booty out to wherever they happen to be located on the planet.
Visit the school.
No it’s not mandatory – and no we’re not trying to insinuate that the reason you were rejected is that you didn’t visit. But visiting imparts advantages. You will learn stuff about them. You will demonstrate your enthusiasm for what they offer. It could even help you stand out from the crowd.
Plus, it’ll be fun!!
You’re saying you want to spend two years of your life in this place. You may as well go check it out and see what it’s like. Wouldn’t it be weird if the first time you set foot on campus was your first day there as a student? Yeah, kinda.
Please visit the school. It will help.
And do it soon. The schools will be closing up shop for the summer in just a few short weeks – not literally, the admissions people will still be around, but the students will all be gone. Off to internships and new jobs. Not hanging around waiting to talk to you at Happy Hour like they are right now.
Oh yeah – thought we’d mention – we got this from an MIT Sloan adcom chat one year:
“We certainly make note of those who visit, as we have a check-in at the beginning of our events, including the events abroad.”
Other schools keep tabs on attendance, too. No, you won’t be rejected if you didn’t visit – but you think it doesn’t get noticed if you do?
We cover this topic regularly on the blahg so we’ll just link to the original post about it: Your window of opportunity for a school visit is NOW. You can go sometime this summer but the experience won’t be nearly as useful.
You can also check out the whole archive of posts on school visits if you need more convincing.
Here's what others have said about this:
The applicant who visits a school communicates multiple good things to the adcom: interest, curiosity, and willingness to invest for starters. All else being equal (which is only true in macro economics 101) the applicant who does this is more likely to get an admit than one who does not.
I suspect this is especially true for the strong applicant in situations where the adcom might be concerned about yield. Somone who has visited has demonstrates commitment over someone who hasn’t.
And “it’s fun” is a terrific side effect. Although it can be tough on the liver or sleep schedule, this can help you assess fit. 😉
Maybe we should retitle this post something like “Opportunity for travel and drinking!!” 😉 To, you know, really sell folks on bschool.
We definitely agree, those who do the campus visits often see a higher rate of admits than those who do not, not as a direct causation but there’s certainly correlation. Possibly it just makes the applicant so much more convincing in everything they say about the school in the app and particularly the interview. Your point is also well taken about the yield question, which can happen even more when application volumes go down.
Thanks for the additional angles! Always nice to see you around these parts.
Quick question for you. I like the idea of campus visits and they are definitely helpful when writing essays.
However, I’m applying to Duke in Rd1 but couldn’t visit them. I’m really interested in Duke but started my application late. Alos, because of storm warning had to push out the visit and now left with two options.
Either I pay hefty amount and visit now before RD1 or go two weeks after Rd1 at reasonable airfares? I’m trying to talk to lot of students and alums so as to get their perspectives and work on essay 2 but can’t decide when should I visit and still make it count?
@secondtime: A visit right now isn’t going to make or break the decision for you — unless you’re saying you’d try to get there THIS WEEK? If that’s an option for you, especially if you’re a reapplicant (?? unclear but your username implies?) — then taking advantage of the Open Interview opportunity really could be wise!!
The thing is, sometimes we deliver that answer to a BSer in a similar situation, and they pull out all the stops and they go for it…. and then they don’t make it in. And then they’re pretty dejected and sometimes even PO’ed, since not only did they not make it but they did all this stuff and paid all this money, and didn’t. So as long as you’re being realistic and understand that it’s not going to guarantee anything — and imagine how you’ll feel if you do it, and it does not pan out — then the advice holds. If this would truly put you in a financial bind, then skip it.
If you don’t visit now and get in on the interview (need to contact the admissions office immediately if that’s even an option!) then don’t bother scheduling something for 2 weeks later. Just sit tight and see if you get invited to interview. If you do, then that’s your prime opportunity to get on campus.
Also, to anticipate a follow-up: If you can’t make it happen, this isn’t something to try to explain in an optional essay. There’s some fields in the app about it so answer those and leave it at that. Don’t say anything about the storm or whatever. The adcom knows that that impacted some people but it’ll really sound like an excuse, so we say skip the explanations on why the on-campus thing didn’t happen.
If you can make it work though, you’re in for a treat! A great time of year and obviously a great school. Let us know what you decide to do!
Thanks for your prompt response. This was super helpful. I’m not a re-applicant to Duke but this is my second attempt at MBA app. I was also not thinking of interviewing (even if it is this week). Just wanted to visit and learn more about the school so that it helps me add more flavor to essay 2 and later in the interview, if invited and I thought it will also help show my commitment to the school.
I know there isn’t a guarantee but if it puts my case strongly, I might as well do the visit now. But as you said, if it’s not going to make or break visiting school before round 1 (given above details), then I might as well wait for the interview. I’ll end up missing the great weather if I get invited to interview.
Let me know if your advice would be any different given additional context. Sorry, I guess I should have been little more detailed earlier.
So, do you still think visiting now before deadline could be worth the rush? and round 1 interviews happen in late november so that’s the reason I thought of visitng 2 weeks later.
If you’re not going to interview, don’t waste your visit on a rushed one. Focus on the essays! With T7 and counting, that’s way (way!!) more important!!!!! 🙂