These items are not necessarily going to get you rejected (though some of them might!). These points are designed to help you present a professional, polished image to your admissions reader, which makes it easier for them to like you. Remember, eliminating friction and making it simple for them to read your application and understand your profile is a high priority for everything you present to the adcom in your app.
In no particular order:
- Use correct capitalization throughout your application. This means capitalize the first letter – and only the first letter – of your first name, and your last name. Don’t enter data in ALL CAPS and don’t do the lazy textspeak thing of not using caps at all. “Surname” means last name or family name.
- If the application does not force you to enter data in a field, then it’s truly optional. Examples typically include such things as racial identity and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference, marital status. However, it’s usually in your own interest to answer such things. You don’t have to, but even if you’re a straight white cisgendered male, there’s nothing in that statement that is going to prevent you from an admit. And saying that you are LGBTQ*, or heck, that you’re a Republican… none of these attributes will ever result in an accept or deny decision unto themselves. It’s not how this stuff works. If you leave all the demographic fields blank, then the adcom reader going through your app simply is unable to visualize you as an individual human being and that’s the reason you don’t want to do that. The most important thing in constructing your app is you want to give enough details that your adcom reviewer can form an image of you in their mind when they go through. They don’t consciously know that they’re doing that or seek out to do it — but they do it. All of us do it. And when that image that’s constructed becomes more vivid and clear, it allows you to be more than “John” or “Javier” or “Jayaramthan” to them; it allows you to be a person. This is majorly advantageous to you when they are deciding your fate.
- International applicants: Do not convert your academic results to the 4.0 scale used in the U.S. if they are not naturally reported that way by your college or university. Just enter the data from your transcripts or diploma as it’s captured by your registrar. Include the front and the back of the transcripts when you scan them. Follow the schools’ directions carefully!
- Double-check your dates! One of the most common errors we see in applications when we do a post-mortem review after a poor BSer was rejected (which unfortunately is often the first time that long-term blahg readers come to us for actual one-on-one help on their apps — which is a little late, given all the resources we have available) is dates of employment on the application that don’t match dates presented on the resume. This isn’t something that you’d necessarily get rejected over, but it is an indication of sloppiness and poor attention to detail. If you can’t sweat the details on something as important as your application to bschool, then what do you really care about? It’s not a good look.
- If you qualify for an app fee waiver and you have not requested it yet for each of your schools – do that this week! Some schools have an approval process that takes a few days or a week. If you run out of time, and have to pay the fee in order to submit by your deadline, they won’t refund you even if you would have qualified for a waiver.
Remember that the app dataset is an application asset unto itself. It’s not just a tedious form you have to fill out. It’s part of your presentation. This seems to be an overlooked opportunity for many. Check out the category of posts we have here on the app dataset to learn more about how to leverage this element.
If you get our Sanity Check pre-submit app review, we’ll go through your application to make sure that you’re not committing any major foolish mistakes. And, Speedy Review is built in to that service – fast turnarounds!
*Kudos to Wharton for being the first school (that we know of) to publish the percent of LGBTQ in their incoming class — which for the Class of 2021, is 5%.