Last year we published a piece called “Tuck sucks” which is unfortunately still the general opinion here in Snarkville. 🙁
We actually want to like Tuck — really we do! For years and years, we promoted Tuck to certain BSers who we knew would fit their culture and could thrive in the community they have.
There’s still a good number of people out there for whom Tuck might be an excellent choice. Unfortunately, based on the way that Tuck is managing admissions, we’re not so keen to promote them to everyone.
Tuck just seems like they’re more on a downswing than up. Don’t get us wrong, we still think that Dartmouth offers a great education!
But here’s the deal, Brave Supplicant:
Tuck went from an interview-anyone policy, where if you got yourself up to Hanover then they’d be happy to host you for a day of on-campus events including an interview with a second-year student.
Then, their reaction to the pandemic apparently was “Interview some of you who want it, but only if you are really on top of things and paying close attention.”
Yes yes yes, Tuck still has a by-invitation interview when they review applications. They will totally ask to do a videocall interview if they like what they see in your essays, recs, resume, etc. That’s fine — but that’s how all the schools do it.
Tuck has taken away one of their key points of differentiation and replaced it with a weird dangly fruit thing that isn’t actually much of a reward.
Mostly what we are seeing is people finding out about the open-interview window at Tuck when it’s too late for them to take advantage of it.
That happened last year for sure (thus, our snarky post about the suckiness of it all). It’s happened again this year in Round 1.
The reason is that most people don’t really start their Round 1 application efforts until mid-August. Yes, of course, we wish it were otherwise, but that’s simply the reality of how applicants work.
By the time they hear of Tuck — which is more of a sleeper school — and learn enough about them that they decide to apply, this open-interview window will have passed.
Fine, fine, then that means they can apply and go into the hopper of hopefuls who may (or may not) get the interview invite. But it’s a missed opportunity, and it often makes applicants feel bad.
Making applicants feel bad is one of the main things that business school admissions teams should seek to avoid.
This same cycle happens all over again for Round 2.
By the time someone decides that they need to be applying for Round 2 schools, chances are it’s only AFTER they got decisions back from Round 1, and realized that, oh no, they didn’t get in to the schools that they had hoped for.
So then they seek out new schools to try for in Round 2 — and lo and behold, there’s Tuck, and dang it, that opportunity for the open interview thing has already passed.
That’s because most Round 1 decisions don’t happen until the first and second week of December. And Tuck’s open-interview thing is only available for those who SUBMITTED a completed app by the first of that month.
Even those who are planning ahead for Tuck in Round 2 since the beginning are not typically in essay-writing mode at the end of November. Sure, yes, absolutely, they should be! But very few people are.
So Tuck is offering this dangly carrot of a wonderful thing — this chance to request an interview and have that great opportunity — yet those who will actually be able to take advantage of it are far and few in between.
The other reason Tuck sucks is WTF IS UP WITH THAT ROUND 2 DEADLINE ON JANUARY 3RD???
C’mon Tuck. You couldn’t make it January 4th or 5th or 6th or 7th???
Why on earth did you think that was a good idea?
Oh wait. You’ve thought so for multiple seasons in a row.
This is one of the EARLIEST Round 2 deadlines of all the schools. It comes straight on the heels of the New Year’s holiday. People are feeling discombobulated when they have to submit their apps on that day.
Sure, from your perspective, Tuck Admissions, you may feel it’s inconsequential, that applicants should be prepared and ready, and have everything lined up and get them submitted before then. And that’s a nice sentiment. But it’s not how it works.
There is zero impact to YOU, Tuck Admissions, to having the deadline even 24 hours later than this. (Honestly, it wouldn’t hurt you to have it 2 or 3 days later would it??) But there is only grief that you’re inflicting on your applicants by having it that first day back from the holiday.
Not a fan, Tuck.
Maybe this is particulary heartbreaking because, many moons ago, EssaySnark dubbed Tuck the Applicant-Friendliest Place on Earth.
Not so much anymore.
We often say not to judge a school by its admissions team, but it’s hard to hold fast to that stance when we see bad decisions being made such as this.
If you are considering Tuck for Round 2, then you’re going to have to get your app together sooner than most, and you may want to take advantage of this unfortunately early interview deadline on December 1st. Which means you would need to get the app finished and submitted (and pay the damn app fee, which may end up being an unnecessary waste of money if you end up being accepted by your Round 1 applications), and yes we do encourage you to jump through the adcom’s hoops and do that. Tuck is a great opportunity, if you can make it through the unnecessary gauntlet that the admissions team has devised.
Or, hey Tuck, if you don’t want to interview everyone, just ditch that option completely and run your admissions the way other schools run it: Three rounds. Invite-only interviews. Early release if you’re rejecting them. This interview-everyone idea is nice but it’s no advantage to applicants if they can’t take advantage of it, right?
Here's what others have said about this:
This seems about as applicant friendly as they can be given the circumstances. Pre-COVID, the guaranteed interview required you to travel to campus, likely requiring a flight, rental car or bus ticket, and a hotel in pricey Hanover. You’re looking at $500 and at least 1 day off work for many. In contrast, I feel like submitting a month early is a pretty low bar to clear to guarantee the interview (although I don’t see huge value in guaranteeing one without the strong Tuck interest signaling that came with visiting in person).
@alecel – Thanks for the comment! We totally see your perspective – AND, still standing by our critique. 🙂 It’s not quite so bad for Rd 2 candidates who in most cases are already in the getting-ready-to-apply mode right now… But in Rd 1 it was an exceptionally early deadline, and if they really want to give candidates this opportunity then it seems like they’d make it easier to take advantage of. But you’re right, it’s way better than getting on a plane and schlepping up to New England, in terms of outright cost! What you’re raising is an interesting question: The school visit experience used to be a critical part of the school research process. What is going to happen as we move back into a travel-friendly culture again? Will schools like Tuck revert back to previous expectations, where candidates had to come to campus as part of the application? We’re betting that many of them will, since it’s the schools who hold the power, but who knows? We’ll have to wait and see how that goes!!