Kristin Roth, associate director of admissions, recently hosted a chat on Beat the GMAT titled If at First You Don't Succeed: Tips for Reapplicants. In that same spirit of helping you submit a stronger application than before, we've elaborated on some of her tips—read on!
First, what do we think of reapplicants? We are happy to see them! The fact that you continue to be committed to the idea that you will contribute to and thrive in our community shows us you sincerely want to be here—and we like that! That said, we want to see reapplicants who have taken steps to strengthen their candidacy, not someone who simply resubmits the previous application. Spend some time evaluating what areas might have held you back the first time and work hard to improve them. Some common areas that come to mind are: GMAT score; limited quantitative skills; limited work experience; unclear goals or reasons for wanting to come to Tuck; failure to differentiate yourself from others.
On the GMAT, while there is no magic number required for admission, and we admit people with a wide range of scores, if you find your score is significantly below our average, you might want to consider giving it another try. If you are at our average, but know you can probably do better, a higher score does help strengthen your application.
If you are someone who has had very limited exposure to quantitative skills during undergrad or through work, and/or a low quant score on the GMAT, you might want to consider taking some classes to show us that you can handle the work. Suggested classes would be financial accounting, statistics and microeconomics.
In terms of work experience, again there is no magic number as to how many years you must have, but if you are only a year or two out of school, you might want to think about waiting a little longer to reapply until you get some more experience under your belt. Additionally, if you are on the briefer side of experience (and actually, this goes for any applicant) you really want to highlight the quality of the experience you have had. So even if it is brief, show us how much you have accomplished.
Unclear goals and/or reasons for wanting to come to Tuck is something we see from a lot of applicants. While we don’t need your life plan down to the most specific detail, having a good sense of where you are heading is important. The best answers to this question tell us what you want to do short-term and long-term (and short-term should not be “getting an MBA,” we want to know what you want to do post-MBA) and why you want to do that. What in your past experiences has led you to this conclusion? Next tell us why an MBA is going to help you reach those goals, and try to be more specific than just “getting business skills.” Finally, tell us why an MBA from Tuck, as opposed to other schools, will help you reach those goals. Talk about unique programs we offer that are related to your area of interest or how the community will support your plans.
Finally, articulating your distinct candidacy can be hard sometimes, but focus on being yourself. Let your personality come through. You are more than just your job or where you went to school. Tell us who you really are and what you are passionate about, rather than telling us what you think we want to hear. Tell us what makes you unique and how your experiences will contribute to the community and the learning of your classmates.
Procedurally, applying as a reapplicant is just the same as the first time you applied. You must complete the entire application, including all of the essays. Additionally, you must complete a reapplicant essay explaining how you have strengthened your application, so going through the analysis outlined above will be helpful. (There will be a "have you previously applied to Tuck?" question that triggers this.) Even if the essay prompts are comparable to those from previous years, you're strongly encouraged to rewrite all of them. Some of the topics you choose may be very similar, but approaching them with a fresh voice is likely to make them stronger.
We will have your prior application when we review your new one, and will refer back to it. However, we will not review it as carefully as your new application, so make sure that anything important is included in your new application. It can also look sloppy (or even dishonest) when things don't seem to match up between the two. Finally, a note on timing: The application pool does get increasingly competitive as the admissions season goes on. As a reapplicant, you should be in a fairly favorable position when it comes to feeling ready to submit. The earlier you can do it, the better.
If you're able to, we encourage you to come to campus for an interview, even if you already interviewed before. It provides another opportunity for you to share your story and explain what you have done in the past year to improve your application. However, if you are not able to visit again, we will have your prior interview evaluation on file. We may, or may not, invite you to re-interview depending on whether we need additional information.
Good luck! We look forward to hearing from you again, and remember; some of our favorite students at Tuck were ones who got in on the second try (and a few on the third!).
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