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Application Preparation Tips for the Summer

If you played sports, you probably loathed the summer. Sure, you could attend camps or play in leagues. Generally, you’d spend June and July pumping iron, repeating fundamentals, and boosting conditioning. Alone in an empty gym or 90 degree heat, you didn’t have anyone to cheer you on.  Instead, you pushed your limits, with only a vision for yourself and an unshakeable belief: Games are won long before they’re played.

Applying for an MBA program is no different. Here are the facts: You’re going to be competing with thousands of high achievers for a few hundred slots. Some will tally higher GMATs. Others have overcome poverty and disease to graduate summa cum laude. They are engineers, entrepreneurs, and project managers. And they too have graduated from big-name schools and worked for big-name firms. Those are the people who are vying for the same slots as you are. Like you, they are very special people indeed.

And that’s why the summer is so critical to success. Right now, your competitors (i.e. potential classmates) probably aren’t sunning themselves at Cubs games or taking the great American road trip. They’re leading company and community initiatives. They’re finishing online courses to turn weaknesses into strengths. And they’re sharpening up their business school applications. Like fall athletes, they’re thanklessly training and sacrificing over the summer, out of the public eye, winning round one long before their applications are even due.

Maybe you need a summer to “take it easy” and “re-charge.” But what happens when the pace picks up in September? And what will you do when the unexpected – an emergency or a departure – wreaks havoc on your fall? No, the summer is the perfect time to prepare for the fall admissions sprint according to Shawn O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Stratus Admissions Counseling, a top admissions and career consulting firm for graduate students. In a recent column with Beat the GMAT, O’Connor outlined his strategies for using the summer downtime to enhance your chances for being accepted. Here is some of O’Connor’s advice:

Prepare for the GMAT or GRE:

“Students who study for the GMAT…or GRE during the summer almost always score higher than their counterparts who study during the other seasons…For young professionals, the typical summer slowdown at work (especially between July 4th and Labor Day) provides valuable additional hours to devote to test prep. Many students and young professionals mistakenly shun test prep during the summer because they understandably want to take advantage of the opportunity to travel while the weather is balmy. This no longer represents an excuse to put off your studying for these all-important exams…(as you can use) digital blackboard and video conferencing technology to… prepare for these exams throughout the summer without having to give up their summer fun.”

Conduct an Inventory of Your Extracurricular Activities:

When it comes to extracurricular and community involvement, “the vast majority of college students and young professionals are lacking the depth of involvement necessary to be admitted to the top schools. This summer is a great time for you to take such an inventory so that you can develop a plan, if necessary, to deepen your involvement this summer and fall. Planning ahead is essential for success in the business, law, and graduate school application process.”

Write an Essay and Resume Draft:

“Too many applicants wait too long to begin preparing their business, law, and graduate school applications. This can have long-standing ramifications in terms of where you get in and how much scholarship aid you receive. At Stratus Admissions Counseling, our most successful applicants, those who get into HBS with a GMAT in the 500′s…are those who start their applications in the spring or early summer for fall submission. Indeed, we are already at about 80% capacity for the Round 1 MBA deadlines in September and October. If you are applying this year, don’t waste any more time. Your future depends on fully leveraging this summer.”

For additional insights from O’Connor, click on the link below.

Source: Beat the GMAT

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