What should I do during the “in between?”

As we bask in the post final round lull of MBA application season, the lovely “between seasons” part of the year, we know it won’t be long before this fall’s applications will be open once again.  

Even with several months of prep time ahead, however, applicants this time of year from all over the world will soon face the reality of whether or not they will make it in time to submit for early rounds or regular round one.  Still others have the opposite problem.  These are the folks you love to hate, the overachievers, who will work diligently all spring and summer on their applications and be in the enviable position to sit on their application packages for several days while they spend some reflective, contemplative time mulling over its nuances--just in case they think of that last little insight to make it even better before they turn it in.  Like a pastry chef putting the last ribbon of icing on a perfectly crafted wedding cake, these sure-fire seat-stealers are asking themselves an entirely different question:  when should I submit my finished application?

Ultimately, when the time comes, however, there is probably no more heart-pounding moment in the application process than clicking that little “submit now” button on your computer.  

On the one hand, it’s thrilling to be finished, but on the other hand, you’re asking yourself if it’s good enough?  Isn’t it nice to be thinking about being done before you even get started?  Hopefully by the end of summer, you will have had the help of a qualified professional like Amerasia to guide you along the way and to look over everything, but if you do find yourself in the coveted position of being done well before the actual deadline, do you submit at that time or wait?

For those wondering if there is some sort of strategic advantage to getting it in early, you should know that for schools with a hard deadline (as opposed to a rolling deadline), this doesn’t exist.  

Schools do not begin their process of vetting out applications until after they are all in the door.  This of course makes for a very busy week following the admission deadline, especially since most people wait until the last minute anyway (thanks to human nature), but for those who are up at 11:59 desperately hoping their computer doesn’t crash so they can avoid missing the cutoff, rest assured, you will not be penalized.  There is, however some advantages to submitting early for schools with a rolling deadline.  These admissions committees actually fill seats as applications come it, so the earlier you are in the door, the more seats are available and the more likely it will be to get one of them since you are not being compared to the entire application pool.  In short, if they like you, you get an offer.  Keep this in mind as you are pulling your application together.

One reason you might want to put off submitting to hard-deadline schools (non-rolling admissions) is because you might just think of that one extra bit of information you could add to make your application better.   

I always recommend putting finished applications “on the shelf” at least while you work on your other schools, just in case those schools draw out something you might have regretted not putting into another application.  This is particularly good advice if you are ahead of the game and getting started early.   Just be sure you don’t literally wait until the last minute, as there have been nightmare scenarios of server crashes and overloading, which is stress you simply do not need.  A good rule of thumb is to submit when you feel the application is at its best, and hopefully at least a day or two before the actual deadline!  In the meantime, relax and enjoy the long ramp ahead.  Good luck!