On a business school waitlist – what should you do?
MBA round one and early results are out and some of you may be celebrating with exciting news, while some of you may be dealing with rejection from the business school that was at the top of your list. For those of you who have been placed on the business school’s waitlist, it’s unsettling and disappointing because there is no clear decision, but keep in mind that being placed on the waitlist isn’t a rejection; rather the admissions committee has decided to continue evaluating your application. While there is no guarantee you will be taken off the waitlist, you should use this time wisely in the event the waitlist opens up. Since being in limbo can be confusing, here are tips five for what you should do:
1. To wait or not wait:
First off, you have to decide if you are willing to give up a guaranteed spot at another school for the possibility that you may be accepted from the waitlist. If the MBA program you are waitlisted for isn’t your first choice, then it may make sense to decline the offer to be placed on the list. Carefully weigh your options before you decide what to do.
2. Follow the business school’s process:
Every business school has a different waitlist process so make sure that you review and observe their guidelines carefully. Some schools only want to know if you would like to remain on their waitlist, while others are open to receiving additional information and updates. And still others may offer suggestions to strengthen your candidacy.
3. Retake your tests:
What were your scores like? If your GMAT score is lower than average, then it might make sense to take it again. Do you need to demonstrate English language skills? Take or redo the TOEFL to demonstrate your English language proficiency.
4. Update the school on your activities:
Some schools allow an update letter or essay; so think about what has changed since you applied. Got promoted? Volunteered with an NGO? Taken an online course? Summarize the changes in your life and share highlights in a succinct essay or letter (maximum 500 words). You should send this letter a month after you get your notification as it gives the school time to get a clearer sense of how many spaces they have left to fill.
5. Additional letters of recommendation:
Some schools may allow you to send additional letters of recommendation. Reach out to recommenders who can offer a new perspective to your candidacy. The admissions committee is not interested in reviewing the same instances they have read in your previous letters of recommendation. Alumni of the MBA program who know you well can also offer the admissions team a good perspective on your fit for the program.
By remaining on the waitlist and updating the admissions committee, you are communicating your commitment to their MBA program and your willingness to work hard to achieve your goals. Don’t panic and rush to send in new material. Doing so without reviewing and polishing your work may squander any opportunity to show change or improvement in your candidacy thereby hindering your chances.
If you want help with how to maximize this time, get in touch with The Red Pen MBA team.