We’re now at about the halfway point for Round 1 and many of you have seen lots of activity on your applications! We’re hearing of plenty of interview invitations coming in, and lots of excited and nervous Brave Supplicants who are gearing up to make a solid Zoompression.
(We’ve got an MBA Interview Prep Guide if you’re looking for info on how to prepare!)
For others of you though, instead of the good-news status-update emails where you find out you’re moving forward at the school you’ve applied to,
As we cautioned a month ago, right before Harvard issued its interview invites, getting rejected from certain schools is not really meaningful.
As in: You can’t extrapolate anything from the outcome of being turned down by Harvard Business School.
Other schools, though, if you get the “early release” news in mid-season, well yeah. That outcome does in fact give you useful information about the state of your app. If you’re turned down by a school like Darden or Duke that has an early action round, where the decision comes back to you quickly, then that gives meaningful input that you can take to heart: There is something wrong either with your profile, or with the pitch.
If it’s the profile, well you’re in luck! We’re still early enough in the season that you can take action on that! If it’s a low GPA: You can take action! If it’s a low standardized test: Again, take action!
If you’re reasonably certain that your academics and test scores are solid enough to at least make it to the interview stage, then that means it’s the essays, resume, or recommendations that were the cause of the downfall — and again, the answer is, take action! Resumes can be overhauled. Essays can be approached differently. Recommenders can be offered support.
And of course there are dozens if not hundreds of posts on the EssaySnark blahg in each of those categories for the perusing — the search box at the top of the righthand menu of the main page, and the categories dropdown below it, can help you find what you’re looking for based on topic or keyword or school.
What if your app has been turned down from a school like Columbia or Booth?
Schools at that tier are giving you incredible information in a “no thanks” decision. Obviously we would much rather hear about you moving to an interview at these places!! But, if you have already suffered the blow of being turned away at one of these schools, then this is where an opportunity lies. For starters, it’s highly likely that the essays were not a strong point of the application, and even sight-unseen, we can predict that there would be room for improvement in the way you approach your essay writing project for the Round 2 schools that you’re targeting. If Columbia or Booth have said no to you, then a common reason is that the goals were not well defined. If that was an issue for you, then fixing that now can improve your chances at many other schools that you might be thinking of for Round 2 — including places like Ross or Tuck or NYU.
As much as it hurts to get rejected, you actually did yourself a real favor by applying in Round 1. Having an early rejection from a top school at this point in the season means you’re able to step back and evaluate what the problems could be. It truly and totally sucks to have an app rejected, so we’re not trying to say that it’s a good thing. But, it is a good thing that you’re now in a position to do things differently for the rest of the season, and potentially see different outcomes in Round 2.
Want our take on what may have been the issues with your Round 1 application? Our Post-Mortem Application Review is a detailed assessment of the entirety of one of your apps, head to toe, to identify where the problems were, so you can regroup and restrategize, and have a new go at things for the remainder of the admissions season. If you’ve been turned down by HBS, then it might be useful to get that rejected app reviewed. However, much more utilitarian would be a reject analysis for schools like Booth, Columbia, Duke, INSEAD, or for rejections that won’t come till later, places like Kellogg or Yale. The Post Mortem could be valuable for you regardless of which school’s app you want evaluated, but if you’ve unfortunately gotten multiple rejections already, then certain ones can be more revealing in terms of what we can offer as feedback that is more applicable to improving your chances at other schools you’re tackling from here.