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Round 3 or Round 1- That is the Question

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myEssayReview Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
11 Jan 2012
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Round 3 or Round 1- That is the Question

Post Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:11 pm
At this time of the year applicants reach out to us with the perennial question “Shall I apply in Round 3 or should I wait for R 1 in the next application season?” Well, I tell them that there is no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this question. The answer depends on their personal situation, profile, level of preparation, preferences, and a bunch of other factors.

Without doubt, Round 3 is the most competitive round, especially for M7 schools (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Columbia). The schools beyond the top 10 also receive tons of applications from applicants who were rejected by top schools in the earlier rounds. So if you are one of those applicants who you couldn’t apply in earlier rounds due to certain professional and personal circumstances and are now considering applying in Round 3 (or R 4 or 5 for some schools), here are some facts that you should consider:

1. Most Competitive Round:

By the time Round 3 comes around, most of the class seats at the top programs have been filled, with only a few available spots left. At this time, the Admission Committee is looking at filling any gaps in the class with applicants from unique backgrounds, so if you belong to an industry that is already represented well by the class, then your chances may be bleak. Also, the Admission Committee is re-evaluating waitlisted candidates alongside round 3 applicants which makes the competition more fierce for the limited number of available seats.

2. Few Scholarship Opportunities:

In addition to fighting for a few available spots, Round 3 applicants will also have very few chances of getting scholarship as most scholarship money is allocated at this point. So if you are looking for scholarship money, then Round 3 may not be a good time for you to apply.

Thus, Round 3 is the most difficult round for MBA applicants. That being said, it is also true that schools have this round for a reason and amazing candidates are accepted every year in the last round. Therefore, if you have compelling reasons to start school in Fall, and feel that waiting for a couple of months will not work for you, given your professional and personal situation, then probably you should take a shot in this last round. For example, if you have a highly unique background that would truly add to the class, and you have put significant amount of time and effort in putting together a stellar application (essays, resume, LORs) then you should go ahead and take a plunge. Again, make sure that you submit the strongest application in all aspects- GMAT, work experience, leadership, EC’s etc. In short, your application should jump off the page and amaze the Admission Committee. But I strongly recommend that you explain in the optional essay why you waited until the last minute to apply.

However, if you fall under the following categories, it is worthwhile to wait until Round 1:

1. Less than Stellar Application:

If your profile has the slightest weak area, it’s time to buckle up and use these few months before Round 1 to work on those areas and strengthen your application. For example, if your GMAT is not very competitive for the program you are applying to, then it is time to retake GMAT for better score and apply in Round 1 with a stronger application. We often see applicants putting off their application to the next admission cycle because they are not absolutely happy with their GMAT score.
Another reason to wait until next round can be your work experience. If you have about three years of work experience, and you are targeting US B schools, adding a few months of experience to your résumé will definitely benefit you. Make sure to volunteer for leadership roles and challenging projects at work and get involved in volunteer activities to boost your candidacy.

2. Re-applicant Status:

In my experience in the past six years, I have seen that sometimes applicants apply in Round 3 just to gain some experience of the application process, and they end up getting rejected. After 4-5 months, when they decide to apply to the same school in Round 1, they apply as reapplicants and have to write a reapplicant essay to show the areas of improvement. This can become truly challenging for them if they haven’t achieved anything significant in this short period. To avoid this, they sometimes have to change their options and apply as first time applicants to other schools which may not be on top of their priority list. Considering this risk, it is in your best interest NOT to apply to your dream school in Round 3.

Whatever decision you make- Round 3 or Round 1- you must carefully evaluate all the pros and cons of that decision. We wish you good luck on your application.

If you want to discuss, sign up for Free consultation or email me at poonam@myessayreview.com

This blog post first appeared in myEssayReview blog. http://myessayreview.com/blogs/?p=3066

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