Tag Archives: GMAT

Applying to Business School: Which Round is Best?

If you are applying to business school, you may be weighing the pros and cons of applying during Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, or in some cases, even Round 4. If you apply during an early round, will your application be measured against the most competitive and prepared students? On the other hand, if you apply during a later round, will it be too late and will most spots be filled?

Which Round is Right for me?

Most business schools offer three application deadlines, and a few offer a fourth. The application dates for Round 1 (early September or early October) versus Round 2 (early January) are typically three months apart. Rounds 3 and 4 deadlines tend to occur in late March to early April. Below is a snapshot of the application round deadlines for the top 20 business schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

2016-2017 Top 20 Business Schools Application Deadlines for Full-Time MBA Programs
In order of US News & World Report Ranking

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Early Admissions: Early Action and Early Decision

An Early Action round is only available at some schools, and this round is usually in early September or October. Schools that provide this application option allow students who are reapplying or who are sure they have selected their top choice to demonstrate their interest by submitting an early, non-binding application. Early Action also usually includes consideration for merit scholarships. Columbia Business School offers a binding Early Decision option for students willing to commit to attend if accepted.

Benefits of Applying Round 1 or 2

Applying during Round 1 has many benefits:

  • Every spot in the class remains open
  • The admissions staff reading your application is just beginning the process and has not yet been inundated by applications
  • You will hear your admissions decision earlier and be able to make future plans earlier
  • If you are denied from your top-schools in Round 1, you’ll still have time to submit applications to your second-tier schools in Round 2
  • Financial aid and scholarships are most plentiful in Round 1
  • More on-campus housing options are available
  • International applicants need more time to process a visa application

The bottom line, however, is that you should apply during Rounds 1 or 2, at whichever point you can submit your best application. Do not delay and wait a whole year to apply just so that you can apply in Round 1. If you need more time to raise your GMAT score, make campus visits, or enhance your career goals and fill educational gaps, it is perfectly fine to apply during Round 2.

For example, the Wharton MBA Program encourages all first-time applicants to apply in Round 1 or 2 as the majority of the class is selected during these rounds. Harvard also urges applicants to apply during Round 1 or 2. Yale, similarly, encourages students to apply during Rounds 1 and 2, but goes even further, stating that there is no difference at Yale in selectivity between Rounds 1 and 2.

In a few cases, though, the difference between Rounds 1 and 2 is meaningful. Stanford’s admissions website states, “If you plan to apply in round one or two, we strongly encourage you to apply in round one. Over the last few years, the number of applications we receive in round two has increased, making it more competitive.” Stanford also gives the opportunity to attend Admit Weekend for Round 1 and 2, but not Round 3.

Dual Degree Programs

If you are planning to apply for a dual degree, there are some programs, such as Wharton’s MBA/JD, which require you to do so by Round 1 or 2. Other schools, such as Harvard, allow you to apply for the MBA/JD joint degree during any of the three rounds. If you are interested in a dual degree, be sure to check the specific admissions deadlines of your top choices.

Planning and Preparation

When considering application deadlines, you should take into account the length of time that you need to prepare. According to Judith Hodara, the former director of MBA admissions for the Wharton School, prospective MBA applicants should begin to prepare six to nine months before the MBA application deadline. This includes securing letters of recommendation, preparing your resume, writing essays, taking the GMAT, completing any additional coursework, and gathering any other application materials.

Putting together all of the pieces of your MBA application and knowing when to apply can be a daunting process. Collegiate Gateway is skilled in the art of helping students put their best foot forward. Feel free to contact us—we’re always happy to help!

More B-Schools Accept the GRE

An increasing number of MBA programs are allowing applicants to submit scores from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), rather than the GMAT. Today, over 800 MBA programs around the world permit applicants accept the test, including Harvard, Wharton, and Stern.

This trend comes in the wake of changes in the GRE to align more with the rigor of the GMAT.  In August of 2011, the ETS (Educational Testing Service) revamped the GRE, expanding the test from three to four hours and incorporating new types of questions in the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections. In the verbal reasoning section, antonyms and analogies were entirely removed, and text completion and sentence equivalent questions were included. In addition, more reading comprehension questions were added, with multiple-choice questions in which several answers are correct. The quantitative reasoning section was also changed to place greater emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios.

According to the ETS website, institutions benefit from accepting the GRE in addition to the GMAT because it provides an “even bigger, more diversified pool of highly qualified applicants.” Furthermore, GRE test takers come from a variety of backgrounds in terms of nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, and undergraduate major. In a 2012 interview with US News, Nikhil Varaiya, director of graduate programs at San Diego State University, states that  “[Universities] are seeking MBAs who have science and engineering backgrounds, disciplines in which students have traditionally taken the GRE for admission to graduate programs.”

Some test takers find the GRE more practical because it is offered at more locations than any other graduate admissions test and is more affordable, according to ETS. The GRE is also generally considered to be an easier test. Business Because, an online community for those interested in business school, recommends taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, as it places less emphasis on grammar and logical arguments and the math is easier. In addition, it does not have the newly added GMAT section of Integrated Reasoning, which combines all the difficult parts of the Verbal section with quantitative analysis and data interpretation. There is also the added bonus of having more options for graduate school in case an applicant should decide to apply or attend a non-MBA graduate program, either in addition or in place of business school.

However, the drawback for some test takers is that the GRE places a heavy emphasis on vocabulary and requires two essays instead of one.

Regardless of which test applicants take, it is important to remember that the GRE or GMAT is just one data point in the portfolio of an applicant. When looking for the next group of MBAs, applicants are considered based on a wide variety of criteria, including their leadership and work experience.

For more information on MBA admissions, contact Collegiate Gateway. As always, we’re happy to help.