The earliest deadline this year? As always, it’s Harvard Business School with a Sept. 9th cutoff date for the first round. That’s a full week earlier than just a year ago which was eight days earlier than the previous year.
Typically, it takes two to three months to hear back from a school with the verdict on your application. Despite the early Sept. 9 deadline at HBS, the school says candidates who’s get a decision until three full months later on Dec. 10. Stanford will notify applicants in its first round on the same date as HBS but you don’t have to apply to the school until Oct. 1, three weeks after the Harvard application deadline.
Most schools have three application deadlines, but that’s not always the case. MIT Sloan has just two, with a round one deadline of Sept. 22 and a round two final deadline of Jan. 8. Dartmouth’s Tuck School, on the other hand, has four rounds, starting with an early action date of Oct. 8 and an April round deadline of April 1. Columbia Business School is different from most of its peer schools in having a rolling decisions schedule with an early decision deadline of Oct. 8 where applicants have to agree that once accepted they will attend Columbia and withdraw their applications from other schools. The final deadline at Columbia is April 15.
The general advice: Apply in the first round when none of the seats in the class are filled. At most schools, early applicants have an advantage over those that complete their applications in later rounds. There are some other reasons why you want to get your app in early:
- The ability to receive a scholarship award from the school’s Financial Aid Office prior to the date by which you must respond to your offer of admission.
- Ample time to complete recommended quantitative and/or language coursework prior to arrival on campus.
- Access to on-campus housing lottery systems at some schools.
- Sufficient time to complete the visa application process for international candidates.
- Attendance at a school’s Admit Weekends. Sometimes, round three candidates lose out on this opportunity.
All that said, the best time to apply is when you believe you’ve done the best job possible with your application. If you have to rush and cut corners to make round one, don’t. Hold off until another round. At all the highly selective business schools, admissions officials are looking for reasons to cut you from the pool. After all, the odds are substantially against you and as many as 80% of the candidates in any school’s applicant pool are usually fully qualified to attend. So you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward when you do apply.
We’ll update this list continuously as more schools provide info on their new deadlines.
EARLIEST APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR 2014-2015 AT TOP SCHOOLS
|School||First Application Deadline||Admission Decision|
|Harvard Business School||Sept. 9, 2014||Dec. 10, 2014|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Sept. 17, 2014 (Early Action)||Oct. 29, 2014|
|Yale School of Management||Sept. 18, 2014||Dec. 8, 2014|
|MIT (Sloan)||Sept. 23, 2014||Dec. 17, 2015|
|INSEAD||Sept. 24, 2014 (September 2015 Intake)||Nov. 28, 2014|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||Sept. 24, 2014||Dec. 17, 2014|
|Chicago (Booth)||Sept. 25, 2014||Dec. 18, 2014|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||Oct. 1, 2014||Dec. 10, 2014|
|Pennsylvania (Wharton)||Oct. 1, 2014||Dec. 16, 2014|
|UC-Berkeley (Haas)||Oct. 1, 2014||Jan. 15, 2015|
|Cornell (Johnson)||Oct. 1, 2014||Dec. 17, 2014|
|Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||Oct. 5, 2014||Dec. 15, 2014|
|Michigan (Ross)||Oct. 6, 2014||Dec. 19, 2014|
|Columbia Business School||Oct. 8, 2014 (Early Decision)||Rolling decisions|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||Oct. 8, 2014 (Early Action)||Dec. 18, 2014|
|Virginia (Darden)||Oct. 10, 2014||Dec. 17, 2014|
|Emory (Goizueta)||Oct. 10, 2014||Dec. 4, 2014|
|Georgetown (McDonough)||Oct. 10, 2014||Dec. 20, 2014|
|Texas-Austin (McCombs)||Oct. 14, 2014||Dec. 18, 2014|
|Indiana (Kelley)||Oct. 15, 2014||Late December|
|New York (Stern)||Oct. 15, 2014||Dec. 15, 2014|
|University of Washington (Foster)||Oct. 15, 2014||Dec. 15, 2014|
|North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)||Oct. 17, 2014 (Early Action)||Dec. 15, 2014|
|Duke (Fuqua)||Oct. 20, 2014 (Early Action)||Dec. 19, 2014|
|UCLA (Anderson)||Oct. 22, 2014||Jan. 28, 2015|
|Vanderbilt University (Owen)||Oct. 28, 2014||Dec. 12, 2014|
|Washington University (Olin)||NA||NA|
Source: Business school websites