MBA Waitlisted: Now What?

All that time and effort devoted to your applications and interview, followed by weeks and weeks (and more weeks) of waiting, only to be informed now it’s not over yet. Your dream school has just placed you on the (gulp) waitlist.

So, how does that make you feel: Defeated? Frustrated? Exhausted? Angry? Well, none of those emotions are going to help you achieve your ultimate goal of MBA admission, so get past that negativism as quickly as possible. While other waitlisted candidates are sitting around, bemoaning their limbo status, wringing their hands, you can step up, get back in the game, and take some meaningful action.

Here are 5 suggestions from the admissions experts at The MBA Exchange to help you advance from waiting to WOOO-HOOO!!

1. Adjust your attitude.
There are thousands of rejected b-school applicants out there who would be thrilled to be in your shoes right now. So, take a bow and applaud yourself for having confirmed that you are fully qualified for admission. This moment of self-awareness will help you prepare to demonstrate the kind of confidence that MBA adcoms expect to see in an admit. Be the candidate you want them to see, the one described in those glowing recommendations and stellar essays.

2. Leverage your assets.

Your candidacy clearly has core strengths or you probably would have been denied rather than waitlisted. So, take stock and identify your greatest attributes – professional, personal or academic – and think about new ways to demonstrate them in ways that you can describe to the school in your waitlist updates.


3. Mitigate weaknesses.
Your candidacy also has some vulnerabilities, gaps or overlaps. If you didn’t explain those holes adequately in your application, you should do so now in an update email to the school. If there’s some action you can take – e.g., starting a new project at work, prepping for an improved GMAT or GRE, enrolling in a calc or stats class, etc. – to make this weakness less evident, that’s even better. Finally, if you can’t discover what made your application less than perfect, or you’re not sure what to do about it now, engage a professional admissions consultant for a waitlist consultation.

4. Leverage relationships.
Who do you know – other than original recommenders – who could be your champion and cheerleader? Someone credible who views you very positively, who would like to help you get admitted, and who knows you well enough to contact the admissions office and present solid examples of your strengths. Bonus points if he or she is a current student or graduate of the targeted school.

5. Convey passion and commitment.
As they dole out the last few seats in the incoming class, adcoms know the value of an offer of admission. The last thing they want to hear when they extend an offer to a waitlisted applicant is: “No thanks, I’m going to another school.” So, you need to make it very evident and convincing in your updates that, if invited to enroll, you will do so, gladly and immediately. Period.

Only after completing these 5 steps will you have maximized your chances for admission. You don’t have to sit, wait and settle for being waitlisted … so go for it!