B-School Waitlist Strategy

Applying to MBA programs is an incredibly time and money intensive process, and it may seem like getting “waitlisted” is just as bad as receiving a death sentence.

That’s not always the case, and having the right strategy is incredibly important to guaranteeing that you do not squander any opportunity you may have to improve your chances of getting off the waitlist and into your dream school.

According to a former admissions board member for the Wharton business school, having an experienced second opinion to help advise and refine your application materials greatly increases your chances of acceptance.

It’s important to maintain communication with your school of choice

Immediately make it clear to them that you are serious about attending their school if accepted into the program. You may be asked to make a nonrefundable deposit to hold your place in the program if you are accepted off the waitlist. Also, be aware, that because you are in a holding position, if another previously accepted student declines admission at any time and you are selected off the waitlist to fill that student’s slot, you must attend or forfeit your deposit.

If you do decide to commit to a school where you’ve been waitlisted, and have notified them of your desire to attend pending your acceptance, you must then decide if/what supporting materials and supplements you will submit to the board in hopes of getting them to select you for admission. Tom warns that applicants should be careful to censor what materials they send to their desired school. Flooding them with additional letters and notifications of small achievements can actually work against you, as the admissions board is already attempting to sift through application materials from thousands of students.

Finally, it’s also important to make sure that you are prepared for the additional time and emotional energy that will go into the uncertainty of acceptance for the next few months.

Are you willing to put yourself through that, or might it be better to move on and make a decision amongst the schools you were accepted to? This is a highly personal decision, but stress and uncertainty are not to be undertaken lightly.

Click here for more information on our MBA Waitlist Strategy and to work with one of our excellent Admissions Consultants.