If you have signed up for any of the business schools’ contact lists and have not yet submitted this season, or if you’re following them on Facebook or attending any admissions events, you likely have been inundated with enthusiastic messages encouraging you to pull the trigger on a Round 3 application. There are a number of schools that really lay it on heavy at this time of year.
This post is a warning.
It is in the school’s best interest to increase the number of applications that they can pull in. The more applications they get, the lower their admit rate. The more applications, the better they appear compared to their peers. The rankings that all of you are so hyperfocused on in your quest to get into “the best” schools are driven by data like this. The schools BENEFIT if you submit an application.
That doesn’t mean that they will blindly encourage apps if there are no spots available. A very few schools are more candid about this. But ALL schools want app numbers to go up. The admissions staff are measured on these metrics internally. It’s likely that at many schools, the adcoms’ bonuses are tied to them (that’s just a guess but it would be shocking if it were not true).
So you need to have a skeptical eye when you review these marketing messages from the schools — or from any organization, really.
Would it make sense for EssaySnark to encourage a bunch of Round 3 applications? Why yes, it would, because then there would be a bunch of nervous and stressed-out BSers in the market for services. BUT WE DO NOT DO THAT. Because it’s not in the BSer’s best interest to apply right now. If you’re going to apply anyway, then great, hit us up for some help. But we are not going to sell you a boatload of ideas about how your chances are good or that a Round 3 app has equal chances, just in order to get people to sign up for our services. If you see any admissions consultant do this, then you should run the other direction.
If a school is doing it, then it’s not quite that bad, because yes, especially this year, we do expect schools to be admitting at least a handful of candidates at this stage of the cycle. Some years they admit practically no one. We need to see how Round 2 washes through in total before we can say for certain but it does seem that there may have been some mild softening of the market this season. Which means that, yes, a well-prepared application with a watertight app may have a chance in Round 3.
BUT THERE IS MISINFORMATION A-PLENTY.
Such as the title of this post, which is unfortunately the name of a video that Berkeley-Haas has put out, in their “Admissions Myths” series.
What they mean to say in that video is that if you apply in Round 3, and you don’t get in, you won’t be jeopardizing your chances of an admit if you want to reapply the next season. THIS IS TRUE AT ALMOST EVERY SCHOOL.
What they’re saying is that they don’t have a negative view of you as a candidate simply because you tried in Round 3, and you’re not going to be blacklisted. They won’t be automatically prejudiced against you when you reapply the next time.
This is all true.
But what is NOT understood by the admissions people putting these marketing messages out in to the world to encourage Round 3 applications is that figuring out your essay topics for your reapplication is REALLY EFFING HARD when you’re a reapplicant with only a few months between App 1 and App 2.
It absolutely DOES weaken your application.
Your first app will be full of your best stories, your strongest topics, the ideas you came up with easily when faced with the essay prompts.
Your reapp will force you to dig deeper — and the best reapplication is one with new and different information that’s CONTEMPORARY — that’s happened to you and that you’ve accomplished since the first time you applied.
Talk about a total nightmare process for many people.
If you submit a reapp in March and it’s unsuccessful, then guess what? Come August, you’re going to be pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to say.
Can you use the same stories?
What if the school doesn’t change its questions?
(Berkeley-Haas tends to change its questions — at least most of them — but they still are going to be looking for similar qualities, and those are often tied in to the same stories as you would have written about in your original application.)
All of this is HARD.
We love Berkeley-Haas, we really do, but we’ve seen some of the messaging they use. They get it wrong on their statements to the applicant pool. The admissions folks (with the possible exception of Dawna Clark at Darden, who did a year in admissions consulting in between working at Tuck and rejoining Darden again a few years back) have zero appreciation for what it takes to build a quality application. This stuff is work. Writing essays is a non-trivial task.
If you go into a Round 3 application be very very careful that you a) don’t paper the country with apps, and b) put careful thought into your reapplication plan — before you submit a single one.
Cover your bases. Think all of it through.
And simultaneous to applying, find ways to really bump up your game at your job. Become an even bigger contributor. Plant the seeds NOW for what you’ll need to present in a reapp essay in the Fall.
As an insurance policy.
You know, just in case.
And of course, we do have a very affordable service called the Late Season Targets Review if you want some input on these all-important Round 3 application strategies and possible reapplicant plans!
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