You got your app in.
You did your best to report everything about your background thoroughly and accurately.
Now you wander back to that app to admire your amazing work and… you discover an error.
You weren’t looking for a new job, but one falls into your lap. Lickety-split, in the matter of two weeks, you find yourself quitting the job you’d had at the time of submission, and switching over to a new opportunity. Now your application facts of work history and resume are out of date.
You opted for a stealth retest strategy: You wanted to retake the GMAT after you got your app submitted, and you decided not to inform the adcom about it in advance, because you weren’t sure you’d be able to bump up your school. But huzzah! You did! Now you have an improved test score and how do you get it to their attention??
These are all very different cases, and each has a different path to follow when it comes to informing the admissions office.
The first thing to evaluate when you realize you’re in this situation is how material is this information to the admissions decision?
A job change? That’s pretty significant.
Will it affect your outcomes, if the school knows you’re now in Job B, when you have reported the older Job A on your app?
Will it affect your outcomes if (eek!) you’ve been fired?
Even then, probably* no.
What might affect outcomes is how you handle the relaying of information.
In other words: If something that you perceive as negative happens to you and you choose not to divulge, this could come back to bite you.
Say you get arrested for drunk driving.
Does the adcom deserve to know this?
You can go back to the application and examine the questions that they asked you. In most cases, no, they don’t ask you about arrests. They ask about convictions.
As a random example, here’s the language from the UCLA Anderson MBA application:
That’s an extreme situation and there are not that many BSers who’ve been convicted of a crime (but if you have, you’d better disclose it! Because they do background checks if they admit you and you decide to matriculate). If you were arrested, you’re probably full of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and worry. You don’t technically need to ‘fess up to the adcom about it unless it proceeds to the next stage and you actually get pinned for it. Could you tell them? Sure, if it’ll make you feel more at ease about the situation, but probably better would be to talk to a therapist about everything first to make sure you’re coming from a healthy place (and then you’ll have even more to share with the adcom, about how you’re being proactive and working on your issues, which can help mitigate this negative in the eyes of the adcom, and which can also help you figure out how you ended up in a situation where you got arrested in the first place, so you can learn and grow from that experience).
What if you get in an accident, no arrests, no convictions — but somebody dies? Through no fault of your own?
Again, an extreme situation, even more extreme than the first example.
In this case, actually we’d suggest that you find a way to inform that admissions office. It would not technically be something that is mandatory to divulge. But you might want to. Because it’s a Really Big Deal and a life-changing event, and, dunno, might be something you want to share. This is just our take based on seeing things from the adcom’s perspective, on what they would want to know about you. (They’d probably want to know about the drunk-driving arrest too! But that’s almost fully a negative in terms of impact on your candidacy, whereas this example is in a different category.)
These things are near-impossible to determine in a vacuum though. If you want our take on your specific situation, you can go for our Private Consult and lay it all out for us, and we’ll give input on what seems like the prudent course of action to take, considering all of the facts.
We didn’t make it through all of the cases on “when to update the adcom” today so we’ll be discussing this more. If you have a specific situation you’re grappling with, hit us up in the comments with what’s going on — you can do so anonymously — we’ll try to incorporate that into our next post of the series (oh look here’s the next one!).
*We say “probably” because it really truly depends on the circumstances. If you just submitted apps with these glowing incredible recommendations from two people at this firm saying you were the best thing since sliced bread, and now they’ve let you go less than a month later, well what’s up with that? Or perhaps even more suspect: You submitted apps WITHOUT recommendations from your current job, and then you are suddenly out of work from that job… The adcom will be left guessing, and the things they assume may not be so positive. Finding a way to take control of this situation, often best accomplished through overcommunicating, may be the smart strategy here.
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