Have you looked at the calendar of MBA admissions deadlines? Round 2 Winter deadlines have passed at most top-tier business schools.
So, if you haven’t submitted your applications by now, you’re facing a major decision. Should you prepare apps for Round 3 deadlines in March/April? Or is it wiser to extend your campaign and aim for Round 1 in October?
Let’s compare the rationale for each of these options:
REASONS TO TARGET ROUND 3 FOR 2013 ENROLLMENT
– You’ll enroll and graduate one year earlier than you would by waiting for Round 1.
– If you don’t anticipate earning a promotion or if your current job is in jeopardy, why wait?
– It’s good timing for non-traditional applicants, even those with a modest GPA and/or GMAT, since adcoms want to “round out” the class profile.
REASONS TO TARGET ROUND 1 FOR 2014 ENROLLMENT
– 6 extra months to build a stronger candidacy for more selective schools; add professional accomplishments, bolster non-work leadership profile, mitigate low GMAT or GRE, etc.
– More seats in the class available since there is no prior waitlist.
– Conveys to adcoms that earning an MBA is your top priority, not an afterthought.
– More merit-based financial aid available.
– If not admitted immediately, there’s an opportunity to be waitlisted for consideration in next round.
SO, WHAT’S BETTER FOR YOU?
The key question is how long will it take you — 3 months vs. 9 months — to build a candidacy and produce applications that maximize your chances for admission to your targeted schools. The pros and cons impact different applicants in different ways. However, a qualified admissions consultant like The MBA Exchange — starting with a free, expert assessment of your strengths, weaknesses and admissions potential — can help you determine the right timing for your situation and then help you achieve your goals.
And remember,”doing nothing” is also a choice — one that will only constrain your chances for MBA admission no matter when you apply.