OK, picking up the discussion of reapplicant strategy from yesterday (which was mostly focused on HBS/Stanford reapplicants):
In that case, then an obvious improvement in a metric like GMAT score is going to be noticed, and appreciated, and likely put you in a strong position. But that’s not all you need to do.
What if your essays were crap last time?
If your GMAT was already over, say, 730, then it’s likely that essay execution was at least part of the problem. (This is not a hard-and-fast rule, and we’d need to dig into the app to say for sure – you can go for our Post Mortem Rejected App Review if you want us to give you more definitive insights into what kept you out last time.) Submitting the same low-quality essays even with a higher GMAT may not turn out in your favor this time. You’ll want to make sure you’re pitching them better.
If your career goals made no sense at all last time, then rethinking your reasons behind wanting an MBA is going to be helpful. That’s true at most schools, but not all. A lot of schools are de-emphasizing the goals, though they’re still remarkably important for the admissions teams to evaluate (for many programs). What if you said X in your career goals last time, and now you’re saying Y? Does that work?
Well, it might, but it would help to explain the rationale in your change. If you’re unsure, or don’t know if the deltas between last app and now are too wide, then we can suggest our Career Goals App Accelerator, which lets you submit your goals from the original app so we can look at them in conjunction with the goals you’re planning for now (plus, you get two full rounds of detailed feedback, to make sure you’ve hammered things through!).
Most schools are quite welcoming of reapplicants. MIT likes to say that their admit rate from the reapplicant pool tends to be two points higher than from the overall set of candidates. Two points is a lot when you’re in <20% acceptance rate territory! What Yale advised in an online chat many years back amounted to this (paraphrased from Yale SOM Admissions):
We do look at your previous application so thread the needle between – don’t submit exact same app since that says you did no work, and don’t make the 2nd app be so different that you seem like a totally different applicant. Need to show a progression from one to the other. Highlight what’s changed. We do look at the previous one, have that in mind as you prepare reapp.
It’s a balancing act.
Darden has recently advised that they do not expect career goals to change from one application to the next. That adds even more complexity, doesn’t it?
Your reapplicant strategy thus may need to vary a tiny bit based on which schools you’re applying.
The bottom line though: You should be the same person from application to application. It is really ill advised to try to come up with a different strategy surrounding career goals for every school.
You’re one person, saying you need an MBA right now, to go do the next thing in your professional life. Just because you’re applying to different schools doesn’t mean that those goals should change. (This advice is universal, not only for reapplicants.)
Our Reapplicant Roadmap can guide you through the thicket of complexity if you feel you could use more assistance.
Or just go for our Essay Decimator on whichever school you’re trying again at. You can include up to four essays in the Standard Essay Decimator service, which in many cases means your reapp essay can be reviewed for the base price (depends on how many essays the school has, obviously, and if you need an optional essay too, which sometimes BSers do).
One way to approach this:
Tackle a “fresh” application first. That way, you can do the clean-slate approach, and develop your strategy from scratch, unencumbered by the realities of a prior app on the books.
Do this for a school you really really like – not a so-called “safety” school. This will let you put your best foot forward, and figure out your content strategy and the set of topics that you have available to deploy. Do all that you can to use contemporary topics, meaning, stories from the past year, that show you in a position of leadership, bringing impact and results. Go further back if you have better stories in earlier years, but try not to. That way, you’ll be thinking through topics that will be most powerful for your reapplications too. Just don’t limit yourself in the “fresh” apps; explore everything. The focus is on learning to write a good essay, since there’s a lot of skill that needs to be developed to put together an awesome application. (The fact that yours didn’t make it in initially implies that there was some not-awesome going on in what you submitted back then.)
Then once you’ve got some material built out, and you’re confident that the pitch for your “fresh” school is coming together, which usually happens around Draft #3, then turn your attention to your reapplication.
You’ll be in a better position to do a good job on all of your apps if you try this approach.
Finally: For almost everyone, overhauling the resume is going to be important! This is true whether you’re a reapplicant or a fresh one, and it’s true no matter how great you think your current resume might be. We’re going to talk more about resumes here on the blahg soon. Don’t overlook this important asset in your application materials!
We have plenty of support available to you, whether it’s a brand-new experience of writing for admissions, or this is your second time around the ferris wheel. The Complete Essay Package is an excellent structured walk-me-through-it approach for literally anyone starting out and learning the skills. We’re here to help, grasshopper! Let us know what you need.