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3 Ways to Potentially Improve Your Overall Application (Even After You’ve Sent It In!)
During application season, most Business School applicants assume that once they’ve submitted their applications that the process of applying to Business School is ostensibly over. While they are certainly free to believe that (and can ‘rest on their laurels’), they’re missing out on several steps that they can take to potentially improve the strength of their overall applications.
Most Business Schools receive thousands of applications across the application Rounds. All of those applications take time to review – often weeks or even months can go by before an Admissions Committee has decided whom to invite to attend School. Forward-thinking applicants can use that time to their advantage in any of the following ways:
1 - Retake the GMAT and score higher – Every Business School has what it considers an acceptable ‘range’ of GMAT scores that the School expects each applicant to score in (and the lower end of that range for most Programs would likely surprise most applicants). If you have a concern that your current GMAT score is only ‘good enough’, then there’s the potential to retest and submit a higher score. With GMAC’s new retesting policies, you have the ability to take the GMAT every 16 days (but no more than 5 times in any 12 month period). You could potentially take the GMAT another 2-3 times while the Admissions Committees are reviewing applications. With the proper study materials and a little extra study time, you could replace a strong GMAT score with an amazing one.
2 – Request an Interview – Certain Programs require an interview as part of the application process, while others keep it as an optional part (they tend to interview applicants who they ‘like’ but are not completely ‘sold’ on) and others don’t do interviews at all. One of the subtle things that Business School AdComs look for in applicants is ‘degree of interest’ in that specific Business School. Every applicant clearly is interested in attending (since they all applied), but there is a marked level of difference between someone who just sends in the application and someone who reaches out to request an interview. Additionally, Schools often encourage an Applicant to visit the Campus and take a guided tour, sit in on some classes, connect with current students and meet members of the Admissions Committee. Each of these activities can go a long way in conveying how serious you are in attending that Program.
If you’re granted an interview, then that’s great – you’ll have the opportunity to go in and really ‘market yourself’ directly to the people who decide who to invite. If you’re not granted an interview, you might still get the subtle ‘credit’ that comes with asking for one.
3 – Report any significant accomplishments that occur (promotions, awards, etc.) – This one is generally a far rarer opportunity than the other two, but still has the potential to make a difference. All Schools (and especially the ultra-competitive ones) are looking for “leaders”, so anything that you can offer that proves your ability to lead (or achieve) can serve as an extra reminder of how fantastic an applicant you are. The fact that you’re also able to make big achievements while in the process of putting together your applications and/or immediately after applying has the added benefit of showing that you can succeed in multiple ways in the same general timeframe.
Much of the work that would go into these tasks comes down to the individual. However, it’s important to make sure that your efforts are respectful of the process. You can always communicate with the respective Admissions Office(s) to schedule a visit or if planning to submit supplemental information.
When it comes to improving your GMAT score though, there are almost certainly study materials that you haven’t tried and areas that you can still improve on. Considering the grand ‘scale’ of what goes into applying to Business School, the fact that you can still make a significant improvement with just a little more effort (and AFTER the application deadlines have passed) is something that every applicant has to consider. To that end, we’re here to help.
GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,