It truly sucks to be stuck on the waitlist, especially if you were placed there in Round 1. Why does it suck? Well obviously because it’s a total limbo state, where you have no idea if it’s going to work out and you should be planning a move to a new city / country, or if it’s just going to wither on the vine and die and you’ll be left with nothing in another few weeks or a month.
But what sucks the worst of all is being on the waitlist and watching the school advertise its Round 3 deadline so loudly.
Because c’mon, if you were good enough to have them want to keep you hanging around, why can’t they just accept you? Why do they have to keep encouraging new whippersnappers to apply?
It’s discouraging for sure. It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, we like you, but what if someone else comes along who we like better?”
This is one reason why the Round 3 thing just feels so unfriendly for applicants. We get it, the schools want to offer one more chance, especially since there’s a really big difference between who you are in November or December, and who you are in March or April.
Reflect back on that: Now that it’s Spring, do you feel like the same person you were when you were putting your app together in the Winter?
For many people, applying to bschool is something they’ve worked on for well over a year. That’s almost definitely true for those who try in Round 1, including those who got waitlisted then. But for many last-round applicants who are putting an app in right now, they may have only recently decided to apply, and crammed for the GMAT a few weeks ago. Some people decide to go for an MBA as part of a New Year’s re-examination and goal-setting process. They’re reasonably fresh to all of this stress and chaos that MBA apps present.
If you applied in Round 1 last Fall, or Round 2 in January, you’ve been stressing and chaos-ing for quite some time now — especially if you’re still on the waitlist.
It hardly seems fair for the top schools to essentially be placing preference on those who’ve stressed and chaosed for far less time than you.
It’s like you’re in a relationship for awhile, long enough to be talking about whether maybe the two of you should get married, and you’re even starting to shop for the ring. And then all of a sudden, this significant other in your life who you thought you might be ready to commit to asks if it’s OK to see other people. You’re like, “Huh?? I thought I was good enough! I thought you thought we had a thing!”
OK that analogy doesn’t fully hold, but still.
It feels like a kinder thing to do would be for the schools to clear the waitlist before they accept any apps in Round 3.
Or maybe not, if that means that someone is rejected when, who knows, maybe they would’ve gotten in if they stuck around longer.
It’s hard to say what’s best in these cases. We do know it feels mighty unfair to watch the schools be so encouraging to everyone to “Yes you should totally apply in Round 3!!” when we know there are very strong well-qualified candidates hanging out in their limbo state still.