Most of the advice here on the blahg is about “DON’T DO IT!!” – meaning, a last-round app to bschool is very very challenging and has much less probability of success than it does in the first two rounds of the admissions season. There are many factors and reasons for this and we discuss them…
There is much celebration happening in Snarkville this week – so many admits!
And so many of you with multiple admits!! WOO-HOO!!
This week that’s only exciting.
Next week and the week after….. well, that’s when it may start to become a little overwhelming.
If you’ve made it into more than one MBA program, the first thing to say is CONGRATULATIONS!! You are in elite company. (Not crazy about that term but, well, you know, it’s a valid one to describe your situation!!)
We know from your acceptance that you are not a slacker! At least, not one who lets your procrastination habit totally derail you from executing on life’s plans. Woo-hoo for that!
This has been one of the most liberal and generous Round 2 cycles in recent memory; lots and lots of wonderful BSers have gotten into lots and lots of their programs.
Oddly, Round 2 is apparently becoming an easier round — which it never has been before. It’s traditionally been much much harder to get in during Round 2, since the app volumes tend to be way higher at this second half of the season. However, what we’re seeing these days is some schools are holding off on Round 1 and not admitting all the well-qualified candidates that they might, because they don’t know what they’ll get in Round 2. So they’re using the waitlist a lot, or some candidates are unfortunately being rejected outright in Round 1. Round 1 was kinda grueling this season, and many were disappointed.
And then Round 2 came around and the schools sorted through all the apps and while they may have gotten oodles and oddles of candidates submitting (high volumes), they’re not seeing oodles and oodles of strong ones (lower quality), and so they’re more inclined to make acceptance offers to more and more of them than they had in Round 1. That’s also combined with the new reality that’s apparently here to stay, where many applicants are applying to 6+ schools in each round. That means that the schools have an impossible-to-predict outcome from their side; many of them have to admit way more than you would expect, because they know that most who they’re accepting are also going to be accepted at other schools, too, so the adcoms cannot count on all of their admits ending up as students.
Also they know that there are consultants like us warning candidates about Round 3 being really hard to get in, so their app volumes will be low in the final round of the season. (Hint: Because of all these factors, this year Round 3 might be viable for more of you who are considering it!!)
Basically all the past trends and rules of the road are out the window. There’s a new admissions environment happening and many of you are the beneficiaries.
That’s happy news indeed! Much to celebrate!! It’s not like the schools are admitting just any old Joe; instead, they’re finding spots for the very good candidates who are buttoned-up and prepared — whereas in the very recent past, you had to be even more than buttoned-up and prepared and very good, you had to be INCREDIBLE to make it in. At least for now, it appears that those days are over.
Huzzah!!! So exciting to see so many of you well-deserving BSers make it in to these amazing schools.
And now of course…..
You have to decide where to go!!
You’d think this would be the easy part, the fun part, the no-brainer part. Nope. This is where the sheer torment begins.
Once you’ve got the champagne glasses washed and put away after celebrating your many successes, then the reality sets in: What are you going to decide? Which will you choose?!?
Thankfully we’ve written on this quite a lot!
Check out the category on the EssaySnark blahg titled: “Deciding on a school (multiple offers)”
And if you have a special situation where you want our input: The Private Consult is perfect for that!
Or if you were a consulting client this year who we helped with essays or apps, lay your questions on us in the SnarkCenter School Targets notes field. Tell us what you’re thinking, which direction you’re leaning, what your rationale is. What are your priorities? What do you care about most from this whole MBA endeavor?
Articulating that clearly for yourself is an important step in making a good decision, and that’s likely going to take quite a bit of thinking and pondering and ugh-ing before you get there.
As you muddle through the seemingly impossible over the next few weeks and maybe even months: Don’t forget to be glad you’re in this position!
If you have “only” made it into one school: Nothing wrong with that! You deserve to be equally proud!! It’s no small feat to get such a win!
If you have not yet made it in: We’re here to help!!! We’ll be continuing with our “What can I do now?” series soon, for any of you who are either just starting your first apps in advance of a Round 1 app this summer, or who have come up short, and will need to consider either trying for Round 3 in a scramble in the next few weeks, or will be doing a longer game as a reapplicant for Round 1. Let us know how we can add value and assist in your process!!!!
Actually, read this. It’s Everything You Need to Know, in one compact little guidelette. A few prognasticators have hinted that this year’s app volumes were up in Rounds 1 and 2 so there’s even less likely (if they’re right) that a Round 3 app has a chance. We talked before about why the schools have…
And yes, that’s true. But the people who are saying that have never struggled with the challenge of figuring out what to write as a reapplicant. And so what we say to their advice is: DON’T LISTEN We touched on this marginally in the Be careful about applying to Columbia now post earlier this week,…
Columbia Business School is as you know a great school, but they do their entire process differently, both because they don’t have rounds in the same way as other schools, and instead have rolling admissions. And this could trip an unsuspecting Brave Supplicant up. So every year around this time, we take it upon ourselves…
But they do happen to be schools with Round 2 deadlines in the future. Does that mean you should apply? It would be in our self-interest to say YES! APPLY! Because then we could try and sell you the need for some consulting services to increase your chances of success. But that’s pretty distasteful don’t…
Well this is a welcome change! We’ve been harping on the uselessness of Round 3 here on the blahg basically since its inception and now Harvard Business School has acknowledged the reality that Round 3 is not really helping. It’s definitely one of the most applicant-unfriendly things around — heck, we even took the former admissions team at Harvard to task for their very mixed messages about it in the past.
The only one who benefits from Round 3 is the admissions teams who can report to their deans that their app volumes were higher because they encouraged hapless BSers to apply late in the season even when the adcom knows there’s no room.
Because let’s think about it:
If a school has ANY applicant on its waitlist, why on earth would they be encouraging MORE applicants to apply??
It’s like if you’re engaged to someone who you’ve decided is A-OK in your book…. and yet you’re still active on Tinder.
Just doesn’t seem right.
Some schools like Duke don’t even want international applicants to try in Round 3 due to stress and possible delay from the visa process.
And on-campus housing is often quite scarce. And some schools have far less scholarship money there at the end of the season. So even if you got in, there were challenges and major disadvantages (though that wasn’t the case with HBS who always has spare money available for granting scholarships when they want).
Not to mention the fact that someone who tries in Round 3 sets themselves up at a significant disadvantage when they’re rejected — which most Round 3 candidates are — and then they have to pull everything together into a brand-new but not-new reapp in just a few months.
So this is a good thing. As we said yesterday:
Finally! A top #bschool ditches Round 3. Thank you @HarvardHBS! Hardly anyone ever got in during that last round and it just raised applicants' hopes unnecessarily. Let's see if other schools will be brave enough to follow. https://t.co/fxzznxKx3B
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) May 15, 2018
Will other schools turn this into a trend?
We’re betting that most of them won’t, for that reason we just stated above. Heck, MIT Sloan only recently added a Round 3 when they hadn’t originally had one. They’d been a two-round program for ages, and then switched like two seasons ago.
Admissions directors are rewarded for having more apps come in every year. Harvard and Stanford and maybe Wharton are the only schools that have the abundance of app riches, that would allow them to entertain something this drastic (and we really don’t see Wharton ditching their last round). For other schools, dunno. There’s quite a bit riding on things like applicant volumes.
Harvard has long been a trend-setter among bschools. They can afford to be.
Some other schools in the past have taken risks with their applications (notably UCLA many seasons ago, when they asked for an audio essay) and have seen app volumes decrease. Who knows if it was a direct cause-and-effect relationship but common wisdom in the admissions office that year was that it was. Making big changes can be dangerous to a school that’s not comfortably ensconced in the lead.
The only known outcome of ditching their Round 3 is that guaranteed, the school’s numbers will go down.
Harvard of course is still maintaining its Round 3 but only for a special category of applicants, those who are currently in college and want to try for their 2+2 program. So it’s not like they’re getting rid of it entirely.
But this is one of the applicant-friendliest moves that we’ve seen come out of a top school in awhile.
Also recently, Tuck’s new-ish admissions director made a big deal about how they’re standardizing their rounds which is also helpful in terms of reducing some confusion, but unfortunately they also decided to take away a mid-season round that many applicants valued, so unfortunately that change didn’t really tilt in all of your favor. Would much prefer to see three rounds, one in September, one in November, one in January!!!! And preferably not the very first week of January! But alas, does anyone listen to the ‘Snark???
We had predicted that HBS would be making more substantive changes to its essay question this year which has not happened, but turns out they are in fact making a very significant change overall.
Now, if only Chad Losee could find a way to do something about THIS! The major problem with the way Harvard handles its MBA admissions
We don’t offer this advice lightly, because we know it’s discouraging and not what many people want to hear. And, it’s very possible that we’re wrong, or your situation truly is different! You don’t have to listen to some old ‘Snark out there on the internet. You just need to make sure you’re going into…
Happy Groundhog Day, Brave Supplicant! To continue with our Round 3 Reality Check series, today we’ll talk about programs that might be in range for an admit even at this stage of the season. In case you missed them: What about Round 3? To Round 3 or not to Round 3 Who / what situations…
Hey BSers! We’re reblahgging this from 2015 because dang, that was three years ago, and this info is timely for where some of you are at today!!!
And yes, we realize that those answers were unsatisfying to many of you.
“You’re telling me to WAIT, EssaySnark?? Why in heck would I want to WAIT? I procrastinated my way to this point where I missed out on my prime opportunity to apply – but now I realize that that was a mistake! Now I know that I **NEED** to go to bschool. Now I’m ready to do this thing! Why on earth would I WAIT??”
There are in fact a few other options to consider at this time of year. Here are ones for you to consider.
1. A lower-ranked program often still has openings in Round 3.
You don’t even need to go too far down the rankings to find a program that could still be open to an app from you. While we don’t encourage it, we have seen people make it into Cornell, Ross and Darden with a last-round application. If you’re even more flexible (and you have a halfway-decent profile) then a school like Georgetown or USC or Vanderbilt should be in range. It depends on your priorities, and of course on the school. We talked about some bschools where Round 3 is viable before.
2. INSEAD has multiple intakes and rolling admissions.
This means that they sometimes have openings during parts of the season when other schools are full. The more competitive candidate pools will not have the best shot in any INSEAD Round 3 but depending, again, on your profile, there could be an opportunity for you to try for INSEAD right now.
3. LBS also has four rounds – so Round 3 is possible for them.
You’re good to go with a Round 3 on any school that has four rounds. LBS is the main hold-out among top schools that still does this (besides INSEAD but they have a year-round apps, rather than the standard September/October to March/April season). NYU also now has four rounds but their schedule is more like Tuck and Duke, where they all have three deadlines in the timeframe where their peers have two. Anyway: Yes to LBS. It is definitely more competitive than their Round 2 but it’s doable, and you have some time remaining before that date hits, too.
4. Part-time programs are often not yet at capacity. Same with Executive MBAs.
These programs are often still accepting candidates through the summer, and Round 3 is nearly always still feasible. We discussed possible programs where a Round 3 app might work previously.
5. If your profile is ah-maz-ing, you could still make it into a top school.
The problem with this advice is that few people understand what “ah-maz-ing” really means. You can check out our posts here on the blahg about “the Harvard type” as a hint – you need to have a profile that’s near that caliber even if you’re trying for a school like lowly old Tuck in the last round. If you want some guidance on whether you’re all that (or not) – or just get a sense of what you should really be focusing on right now – you can go for our Late Season Strategy Review to get some help on evaluating your chances. And of course, our little booklet-thing called Everything You Need to Know about a Round 3 Application lays all of this out for you in greater detail.
The most important consideration when you’re thinking about applying now: Will it mess up your chances next season if you end up as a reapplicant? That’s a real risk (we go into all of it in the Round 3 booklet). You need to be looking at your cross-season strategy right now. It may seem like you’ve got nothing to lose to submit a bunch of apps at the tail end of the admissions season but that’s not actually how reality works. You need to consider your options carefully.
But yes, every year we see BSers squeak in under the wire in Round 3. We don’t recommend it but if you play your cards right, it can happen. Mostly we see people NOT get in, so don’t get your hopes up too terribly much – but we’re around to help if you want to do the Hail Mary!!!