While for those who just finished off their third round b-school applications, it’s already time for others to begin thinking about “next season.”
Application season begins in earnest after all of last year’s applications are processed, and every final offer of admission is made and filled. While schools will continue to tweak their student body which is set to start in the fall by filling gaps and chasing yield, for the most part, by early summer, they are busy getting ready to launch the next season’s application information. Generally, most schools release their applications in July, but until the new admissions essay questions are announced and any changes in application instructions are rolled out, applicants who find themselves playing the waiting game can begin making good use of this down time.
For one thing, prospective applicants can visit target schools. While classes are still in session, school will often allow you to come by and sit in, meet professors and students, and sample the wares.
Don’t wait until finals week, but up until the near-end of the school year is a great time to see schools and try them on for size. If you miss this window, you will need to wait until fall, since schools are not as interesting to visit during the summer when all the students are off doing internships, and often in the fall, it can be difficult to find open tour slots for the most popular schools. Plus, you will likely be very busy in the fall writing applications, and often we find that applicants write better ones when they wait until after their visit to put pen to paper. You don’t want to be crammed for time because you waited until August or September to book your visit.
Secondly, during this long runway time, you could be studying for and improving your GMAT score, which has become increasingly important to gain the attention of top schools.
Just like school visits, you would ideally have your score secured before applications come out, so you can focus all your time on preparing them. A good GMAT score can make up for a multitude of shortcomings in your academics, so buckle down and get busy studying, taking a prep course, and taking practice tests. You will most certainly be glad you did.
Additionally, to prepare for application season, you can be doing all the legwork which can become overwhelming the closer you get to the fall.
Obtaining transcripts, documenting extracurricular involvement and tracking down the appropriate administrative contacts you will need to do so can be remarkably easy when you approach offices in the summer when students are gone. Speaking of administrative details, touching base with potential recommenders is another great way to wisely use the next several months to your advantage. Remember, the better your supporters recall your impact, the better their recommendation will be—spend some quality time meeting casually with those whom you plan to ask to recommend you for b-school.
Finally, taking some time for good, old-fashioned introspection is always recommended for candidates to clear their minds, think on their strengths and weaknesses, and recall stories from their past which illustrate leadership potential and teamwork ability.
If one of your weaknesses is academics or GMAT, you have the time now to take additional courses, an opportunity which could be gone if you wait until after you submit your application, at least if you want to be recognized for such an achievement by the admissions committee.
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