One of Tuck’s defining features is our small student body. The personal scale of the program is critical to creating the immersive and collaborative trust-based community for which Tuck is known. The unfortunate result of a small student body is that the Admissions team cannot admit anywhere near all of the fabulous candidates we see. Every round we have to make incredibly difficult decisions. If you were among those not offered admission, you may be thinking about reapplying to Tuck and wonder what we think of reapplicants, how you might improve your chances next time and what the process is.
First of all, we hope you will reapply to Tuck! We view reapplicants positively. The fact that you remain enthusiastic about Tuck and want to contribute to our community enough to give it another try shows us you sincerely want to be here—and we like that! That said, we want to see reapplicants who have taken action to strengthen their candidacy, not someone who simply resubmits their previous application. Spend some time reflecting on your prior application and identify what areas might have held you back the first time. Then work hard to improve them.
To give you some ideas on what you might need to work on, I encourage you to start with our Admissions criteria. Tuck is looking for students who are smart, nice, accomplished and aware. You should make sure that you are demonstrating these four attributes in your application.
Sometimes applicants strengthen their candidacy by improving their GMAT/GRE scores. There is no magic number required for admission, and we admit people with a wide range of scores; however, if your score is below our average or you think you can score higher, then you might want to consider giving it another try. A higher score can make you more competitive in a strong applicant pool.
If you are someone who has had very limited exposure to quantitative concepts in your education or work experience, you might consider taking some classes like financial accounting, statistics, microeconomics or finance to demonstrate that you are prepared for the rigors of an MBA program. Please note that taking classes is not a substitute for trying to improve your test scores if the GMAT/GRE is what is holding you back. The value of classes is that you will set yourself up for success when you begin your MBA.
At Tuck, being smart is not solely about test scores and your GPA. We are also looking for confident humility, curiosity, and a willingness to stretch yourself and learn from others. Think about whether you have conveyed those qualities in your essays and interview.
By nice, we mean something very specific. I encourage you to spend some time with our definition and reflect on whether your application, essays and interview highlighted how you demonstrate those qualities in your actions and impact on others. Luke Anthony Peña, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, has written some great blog posts on this topic which you might find helpful as you think about it further.
Some applicants need to strengthen their candidacy by getting more work experience or by better highlighting their professional or community accomplishments and impact. Again we are not looking for a particular number of years of experience (but if you are only a year or two out of school, you might want to think about waiting to reapply until you get some more experience). Quantity is not important, quality is. Be sure that your results and progression are clearly articulated. If you have changed jobs multiple times or have a gap between positions, be sure to explain what was going on. The optional essay is a great place to do this.
Unclear goals and/or a lack of understanding how the Tuck MBA will help you reach them 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 headed, and why, is important. Luke’s blog on our short answer questions should give you some great ideas on which to reflect.
Finally, you may need to work on articulating your distinct candidacy. This 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. Even if the essay prompts are comparable to those from previous years, we strongly encourage you 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.
If you're able to, we encourage you to come to campus for an interview, even if you 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.
While it may not feel like it now, we hope you will view this extra year or two before you start your MBA as a positive. You have the opportunity to gain additional professional experience and take on new responsibilities. You have more opportunity to lead and collaborate, challenge yourself, get involved, reflect and grow. You may find that as a result, you will be a stronger student and get more out of the program.
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.