Are you planning to apply in Round 3 (or in the last round) of a school’s application cycle? As you may be aware, the final application round is a very difficult one, given that there are so few spots left for schools to fill (while most US schools’ final application round is the third round, many European schools' last round is the fourth round). As a result, it can often be better to push to Round 1 of the following year instead of applying in the last round, but that needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you have determined that Round 3 is the best round for you to apply in, below are three things for you to consider.
Take the time to think about what makes you unique
While every candidate needs to think about his/her strengths and what makes him/her unique within a competitive applicant pool, this is especially true for those applying in the last round. What can you offer your class that will pique the Admissions Committee members’ interest to want to know more about you and extend an invitation for you to interview with only a few spots available? Reflect upon your accomplishments to date to assess what makes you authentic in order to stand out. If it’s helpful, take some time to brainstorm with family members and close friends.
Apply to multiple schools
Because schools have limited space in the last round, it’s to your advantage to apply to multiple schools to give yourself the best chance of admission. Too many times, I see candidates putting all of their eggs in one basket; while this strategy may make sense on a case-by-case basis (depending on what a specific applicant’s reasons are for applying to an MBA program), it is a risky course of action. As you think about your own particular circumstances, be thoughtful around the schools you choose to apply to. Schools should not think that you are applying there as a last resort! It is important to make sure that your fit and knowledge of each school is coming through in each application.
Have alternative plans in place
In Round 3, it’s always a good idea to have tempered expectations since the admissions process that late in the cycle can often be unpredictable. As a result, make sure to have contingency plans in place should you not receive admission to an MBA program. For example, this could include plans to reapply in the following application cycle and what you could do in the interim to strengthen your profile.
Keeping this advice in mind as a Round 3 applicant will help you go through the process with confidence!
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.