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Overview of Business School Admissions Process

When applying to business school, you will find that the admissions process can be rather extensive. Most schools are very selective and will look at a variety of factors to determine whether or not you fit their program. Before you are placed under their microscope, you will want to make sure that you are as prepared as you can possibly be.

Business School Admissions: When to Apply to Business School

Begin by applying to your school of choice as soon as possible. Most business schools have either two or three application deadlines/rounds. Applying in the first round will increase your chances of acceptance, because there are more empty spots available. By the time the third round has commenced, many students have already been accepted, which lessens your chances considerably.


Round Admissions vs. Rolling Admissions

Business schools have two basic types of admissions policies: round admissions and rolling admissions. Business schools that use round admissions have multiple deadlines for applications. Business schools that use rolling admissions accept applications between two set dates. 

Round Admissions

Business schools that use round admissions typically accept applications in multiple rounds. Most have between two and three rounds, though it is not unusual for a business school to have as many as five rounds.

The main difference between round admissions and rolling admissions is that there is more than one deadline with round admissions. Applicants who are working with round admissions can usually choose to submit their application in the fall, winter or spring.

In most cases, it is better to submit an application early in the first round. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If your application isn't as polished as it could be, waiting until the second round to submit may be best.

How Round Admissions Work

Although every business school is different, most schools announce round deadlines during the summer months. Institutions that use a round admissions process typically have at least three rounds, but may have as many as four.

  • Round One: The first round usually occurs in the fall.
  • Round Two: The second round typically takes place in the winter.
  • Round Three: The third round almost always occurs in the spring.

How to Decide Which Round to Apply In

Deciding when to apply during round admissions can be difficult, especially if you are applying to more than one business school.

Round one is typically the most desirable round because all of the openings in the program are still available. This means that admissions committees are likely to be less selective at this point.

Round two is worth the wait if you need more time to prepare your application or retake the GMAT. There is usually less competition in this round.

Round three (or round four) applications should be avoided if possible. While there is a very good chance you will still be given a fair shake by most admissions committees, there are fewer spots open at this point.

Rolling Admissions

Business schools that use rolling admissions accept applications between two set dates. Applications are reviewed as they are received and program spots are filled on a continual basis.

When you apply to a school that has rolling admissions, it is always better to submit your application as soon as possible. Read more about rolling admissions strategy.


Business School Admissions: Your GPA

An applicant's GPA can be evaluated many different ways depending upon the school. The median GPA for applicants admitted into top business schools is approximately 3.5. If your GPA is less than that, it doesn't mean that you will be excluded from the school of your choice; it simply means that the rest of your application should make up for it. Once you get the grades, you're stuck with them. Make the best of what you have. See also:

Business School Admissions: Your GMAT Score

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardized exam used by business schools to assess how well students are likely to do in an MBA Program. The GMAT exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. GMAT total scores range from 200 to 800. The majority of test takers score between 400 and 600. The median score for applicants admitted into top schools is 700. See also:

Business School Admissions: Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are often used by students during college admissions or by job-seekers looking for employment. Many colleges prefer that applicants supply at least two letters of recommendation during the admissions process. If you want to truly enhance your application, recommendation letters should be written by someone who knows you very well. See also:

Business School Admissions: Essays

When applying to business school, you may write as many as seven application essays ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 words. Essays are your opportunity to convince your school of choice that you are the right pick for their program.

Writing an application essay is no easy feat. It takes time and hard work, but it’s well worth the effort. A good essay will compliment your application and set you apart from other applicants. See also:

Business School Admissions: Your Interview

Interview procedures vary depending on the business school you are applying to. In some cases, all applicants are required to interview. In other cases, applicants are only allowed to interview by invitation.

Preparing for your interview is just as important as preparing for the GMAT. A good interview will not guarantee your acceptance, but a bad interview will surely spell disaster. See also:

Sample Letters of Recommendation

Choosing a Business School

Admission Resources

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