As we’ve been discussing, there are certain situations where an update of your new status is warranted. The admissions office will want to know about things that have changed in your life.
Today is a much more straightforward situation.
You retook the GMAT or GRE, and now you want to let the admissions office know of your shiny new score.
First, not all schools accept updates — not even for test scores. Whatever you submitted to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton? That’s what they will be evaluating.
Other schools encourage retesting, including schools like Columbia where they have a whole set of fields within the application where you can promise to retest in the future, post-app-submit, and then you’d sure better come back to them with a new score once that date has arrived!
These days, many schools like Kellogg and Tuck even allow you to update the application yourself. You just log on and submit the new score there.
Other schools need you to send in an email with your new score.
So, first step: Figure out:
a) If they accept updates at all — read their site!
b) If so, HOW they accept updates — log onto your app to see!
They will tell you how to submit updates if they do accept updates.
Emailing the adcom is a whole ‘nother topic which we’re going to post about separately very soon.
Important guideline: If you indicated in the application or in an optional essay that you are either taking a class, or plan to retest the GMAT or GRE on a certain date, then when that date comes and goes, you’re obligated to communicate with the school with an update (again, assuming that it’s a school that accepts updates). These are material facts that can impact how your candidacy is evaluated.
If you wait too long to send in this update, then the school might even reach out, asking what’s up. That’s not such a great email to receive. (Because it means that they were sitting there waiting for you to come through, and you didn’t come through, and then they’re the ones who had to carry the burden of follow-up. When that was supposed to be your responsibility.)
If you didn’t proactively communicate with them because you blew off the retest date, or because you did retest but didn’t get a great score, and now they’re coming to you asking for the update…. and you have to admit this not-great news to them. Yeah, double-whammy of not-goods.
Instead, regardless of whether you are proud and positive of your retest accomplishment, or you’re feeling sheepish, demonstrate your maturity and follow through. You’ll get brownie points for that. Especially if you bombed on the retest.
Some schools actually give brownie points for any attempt at retesting — even if the score does not go up. They know how hard these tests are. If you submitted your app with only one test attempt on your score history, and you try the test again post-submit, and it does not improve, within the domain of certain admissions offices that’s still going to be seen as a positive. Not as much of a positive compared to actually increasing the score, but still a positive. Not a negative. So just communicate!
When you do so, include proof. Send in your unofficial test score report. If you’ve completed an online class to help boost your quant profile, send in the unofficial transcript or grade report from the school’s student information system. (Coursera and unaccredited MOOCs do not give you much value in this context of profile-boosting. We don’t really suggest sending in those proof of completion reports at this stage. Only do this if it’s a for-credit course at an accredited college or university. You can include Coursera type completion certificates when originally submitting the app for schools that invite them, but it’s not something that’s going to matter for your profile once the app is under consideration.)
The most important advice with all of this is DO IT QUICKLY.
If you submitted for any of the standard round deadlines a few weeks ago, then it’s very likely the admissions team will be opening your app for evaluation sometime soon. They won’t go back and re-review it later if your updated score report or transcript comes in after they’re done. The update needs to be there now!
And, just because we’ve said that, don’t feel tempted to give an update now that an update will be coming again soon. If you have not yet updated them, and that’s because you don’t have the new test score in hand yet, because you had to reschedule it or something, and it’s going to come in a few days…. we’d probably advise to sit on your hands and not send an interim “It’s coming soon!” type email now. Do your best to contain the number of emails you send in. Limiting contact to essentials is going to be better. Being a high-maintenance applicant who contacts out of an abundance of nerves is not going to solidify your case for admission; it’s just going to make the admissions folks sigh when they see yet another message come through with your name on it.
Sometimes, you want to be the name that they DON’T recognize. Ya know?
If you’re thinking of following up with admissions about your application and you’re stressing about whether or not to do so, you can leave an update about it in SnarkCenter in the School Targets notes field, and we’ll check it out and offer some input to you if you want. We’re around and happy to help! If it’s a more involved situation, our Private Consult lets you share the details and what you’re strategizing upon.
This can be one of the hardest phases of the application process, because you’re doing a lot of waiting around and wondering. There’s a good way to spend this time. Worrying about your chances and overthinking things is not one of them! Get off the internet and go do something, you’ll end up much happier that way. 🙂
If we can help on these tactics on your specific situation, let us know!!!