Decisions, decisions. With admissions offers coming in (or possibly not), it’s a good time to figure out your move-forward MBA plan. What to do?
Most applicants don’t get into their dream school. This is the straightforward reality and simply means that you probably chose wisely when you picked schools to make application, with some reach schools, some safety schools and some in-between. Still, it’s the time of year when offers begin rolling in, so it’s time to make some choices.
The first thing to assess is whether or not your frame of mind has changed since you submitted your applications.
Perhaps you went on a late-stage visit or did some deeper investigation into your target schools’ career centers to discover that what once looked like a top choice has since dropped into second place. Even if your dream school comes through, you must be certain that it’s still your dream to attend there. Myriad life changes can alter your outlook, so before you commit to something you once thought was certain, you need to, well, be certain.
Of course most applicants who get invited to attend their top choice schools say yes, so it may be disingenuous to imply anything outside of instant acceptance would be improper.
The tougher decisions come when you are admitted to a backup school but are not sure it’s really where you want to not only spend two years of your life, but where you want to claim as your own forever more. An MBA is a terminal degree, after all, so you will be wearing that sweatshirt for a long time, and will someday be telling your kids about your experience there.
For many applicants, the words “don’t settle,” are beginning to haunt them.
Before you are wooed by the schools who are courting you with a “yes,” ask yourself if it makes sense to throw in yet another round of applications just to see what happens. Perhaps there’s a school which was not on your radar, but you have since decided may be a good fit? Despite all the hullabaloo around submitting an application in the 3rd or later rounds, if a school is truly a good fit, you might just have a chance.
If a school where you have been accepted is giving you a hard time about making a decision, don’t let the pressure get to you.
Having an acceptance puts the advantage in your hands, and most schools don’t get upset if you decide to defer your decision. Sometimes, pausing before you tell them yes or no can result in scholarship or fellowship offers as schools begin to play the yield game. It’s anybody’s guess where they are in filling their slots by now, so maybe you can get lucky and sweeten the offer simply by putting off your decision.
Whatever you are leaning towards, it’s never a bad idea to seek advice.
Reach out to alumni contacts, family, friends, or any confidant you trust who also has your best interests at heart. Your MBA admissions consultant is also a good resource for helping you weigh your options. Remember, it’s your future, so spending some thoughtful time on the decision is warranted.