Well, unless of course, if Harvard says they want to meet you to interview.
For the loads of other candidates who are going to be told, “sorry” and given the so-called Early Release from Harvard’s Round 1, next Tuesday is going to massively suck.
A very large percentage of those people are actually TOTALLY QUALIFIED and will UNDOUBTEDLY (if they play their cards right) MAKE IT IN TO ANOTHER REALLY GOOD SCHOOL. One without the word “Harvard” in its name, but a good school nonetheless.
Yet on the “release” day, all these well-qualified and capable Brave Supplicants turn into the most self-doubting and dejected group of people on the planet.
In fact, if you got all of them together in one room on that release day that will happen next week, you’d probably see the world tilt off its axis due to the weight of the depression and despair.
To try and be at least a little useful and not totally sad in our post today, here’s what you can expect (all on 12-hour time not 24-hour):
- Tuesday, October 6th at noon Eastern time: Round 1 interviews and “release” news to come(go here to convert to your local time ):
- Boston (U.S.A. – Massachusetts) Boston (USA – Massachusetts) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 11:55 am EDT UTC-4 hours
- San Francisco (USA – California) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 8:55 am PDT UTC-7 hours
- Delhi (India – Delhi) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:25 pm IST UTC+5:30 hours
- Paris (France – Île-de-France) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 5:55 pm CEST UTC+2 hours
- Moscow (Russia – Moscow) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm MSK UTC+3 hours
- Buenos Aires (Argentina) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:55 pm ART UTC-3 hours
- UTC (GMT) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 15:55
You should get notification via email — and check your spam folder. The email should arrive by 12:05pm or so Eastern time, just after noon in Boston — barring a cruel internet outage or some other poorly timed delay in delivery. You can also log on to your Harvard application and frantically click the “refresh” to see if status changes.
What will happen then:
You’ll either get:
That coveted invite (low probability but not impossible);
or, an invitation for “Further Consideration” which is a holding bin they place you on, that’s somewhat like the “deferred” status that Columbia uses for their Early Decision candidates — kind of a waitlist, but not really, since at HBS you haven’t even been interviewed yet (see our HBS guide for more on this)…
Or you’ll be “released” which sounds like you’re a fish that they caught and threw back because you’re too small. 🙁 🙁 🙁
You can read up on these details elsewhere throughout the blahg, the HBS interview info on our Harvard Essay Questions page being a great place to start.
Why are we saying that this will be “near-meaningless”???
It’s because the decision that Harvard issues on your application bears next to no relationship to the decision any other school will eventually issue.
If Harvard invites you to interview: Yes. Strong signals. Highly correlated with positive outcomes, whether eventually at Harvard or at some other school.
Not invited to interview? Released at first opportunity?
Literally no insight can be gleaned from that.
It’s incredibly unfortunate that, for many very competent, very qualified, even reasonably differentiated applicants, the first time you get feedback on any of your applications for bschool this year will be a rejection.
And you know what? THAT SUCKS.
It ends up sending a very wrong message.
Getting “released” from Harvard does not necessarily mean that you will have no chance at all, or that all of your apps are doomed to failure.
But, for lots of folks, it’ll be the first decision rendered, and it will send many of you into a tailspin.
So, we’ll be warning you as you move through this first big milestone: Yes of course there’s a chance you’ll get invited to the next stage — especially this year, where for a variety of reasons, we expect schools including Harvard to be potentially issuing more invites than they typically would. If you get invited to interview at any school, it’s obviously an amazing compliment and a very strong sign indeed.
AND: There will be many, many well qualified candidates who will get the “Thanks but no thanks” on Tuesday, and it’ll be very easy to let that take all the wind out of your sails, and make you assume the worst. It’s particularly tough timing because there won’t be opportunity for a rebound to other Round 1 applications at that stage. Pretty much all the rest of the top schools will have Round 1 already closed. Yes you will have plenty of opportunity to rebound for Round 2 — but that’s all the way off in January. If the “release” from Harvard makes you wonder if you screwed up strategy on all of your apps, then it could cause sinking feelings of dread and despair. (Note: We do have a Post-Mortem Reject Analysis available — but we don’t often suggest BSers go through that on Harvard, for the same reason we’re talking about today: Getting rejected from Harvard is more a reflection on the realities of competition at Harvard than it might be on your chances anywhere else. Getting a Reject Analysis on an app that was rejected from, say, Columbia would be way more instructive and useful.)
We’ll continue with thoughts and insights as you wait out the days from now till next Tuesday — and maybe you’re still working on apps that are being submitted this week. (The Sanity Check is also available if we can help on any of those!) We know that we’re often the Doom-and-Gloom Snark when it comes to chances for Harvard — mostly because we want to help you manage expectations and understand the situation with this school. It’s not that we don’t believe in you. It’s just that — at least in the past — Harvard has been, what’s the word for it? oh yeah, a wee bit snobby on the kind of candidate that they have opened their doors to considering.
Maybe with everything else in the world and the sea of change that is happening right now, things will be different this year. We can hope for it. We will wait and see right alongside you for what destiny awaits next Tuesday for the current crop of amazing candidates that we know all of you to be.