Competitive, but not impossible.

Stephanie B. - Admissions, March 12, 2013 | 0 comments
Tags: applying, admissions, advice

Final b-school application rounds are notoriously the most competitive; the majority of ‘seats’ have been filled and, in many cases, much of the scholarship money has been allocated.  Although the climb may be steeper, reaching the finish line via the final application round is possible. 

We spoke with Laura and Sara, current students who each applied in the last round, about their path to Tuck and what they think it takes to be admitted as a competitive final-round candidate.  Unsurprisingly, there were a few common themes that are important for all applicants regardless of the round you apply to.

Sara wasn’t completely satisfied with her professional life.  So although an MBA was something she had been considering, when her company began undergoing some changes, she decided she was ready for a change as well.  Because she wanted to ensure that she presented the best possible application, she opted to let a few rounds pass.  Additionally, providing a little explanation in your application as to why you’ve chosen to apply at this particular time helps the committee understand your motivations better. 

The takeaway:  Apply when you feel your application is at its best, even if it means taking some time to get it there.

Standing Out
An admissions committee’s job is not an easy one.  They see a lot of applications from very worthy candidates, so it’s incredibly important to ask yourself how you’re unique and then show it through the application process.  Laura chose to differentiate herself by highlighting a unique background with Teach for America and microfinance.  Impressive, yes, but this can be simpler than you think; what are you passionate about? What distinctive experiences have you had? Can that passion and experience help illuminate who you are as a person or who you aspire to be?  For instance, Sara is an avid marathon runner and was proud of where she comes from. These details, though they may seem inconsequential in the application process, helped provide a foundation for making her case.

The takeaway:  Differentiate yourself in a genuine way and tie back to your MBA, career and personal goals.

Final Notes from Laura and Sara
Study a school’s culture, because fit really is important!  Are you right for Tuck?  Is Tuck right for you?  An MBA requires a lot of resources and two years of your life – make sure you’re spending them wisely. Once you’ve determined that the fit is right, spend time speaking with as many people as possible; students, alumni, staff.  Tuck offers a number of opportunities to visit campus, meet us on the road or connect online.  Take advantage!
Lastly, there are always other options.  If your first attempt at getting into Tuck doesn’t work out in your favor, take time to reassess your goals and your application – whether it’s the way you present them or their value.  Often, feedback from the Admissions Office is also available for those wishing to re-apply.

The takeaway:  Have a plan B. While you may not get the outcome you hope for, the process will no doubt teach you something about yourself and help guide your next steps.

Tuck’s final application round is Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

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