The waitlist sucks – No one ever considers that they could get on the waitlist. It’s basically the school telling you “maybe” instead of “yes” or “no”. It sucks. You put together this application that takes hours and hours, and the school can’t even tell you yes or no. What’s more, if you want to turn that “maybe” into a “yes”, it’s going to take months of kissing ass. There’s no way around it if you really want to get into the school, and it’s not fun at all.
What I’d recommend
Don’t set expectations too high – This applies mostly to your friends who haven’t applied to business school. They will ask you where you’re applying, and you’ll want to tell them. Before you do, take a moment to reiterate that you are APPLYING. Not admitted, not even waitlisted. All you have done is filled out an application and given them the $200+ application fee. Any high school freshman with a part-time job could do that. I say that because, from a personal standpoint, people will just assume that you’re going to get into whatever schools you’re applying to. Telling them you didn’t actually get into the top school you applied to after they assumed you did is a really awkward conversation, even if you end up getting into a different top-tier program with a scholarship.
Don’t focus on the number – I’m sure a number of people will look at the GMAT score I posted earlier and think, “Wow, this guy is going to get into all of the top schools.” That’s just not the case. There are four parts to your application: the score, the resume, the essay, and the interview. They’re all roughly weighted equally. Just because it’s much easier to compare your GMAT score to your peers doesn’t mean it’s more important. I would have raised the GMAT average for Stanford or HBS, and I didn’t even get an interview. If schools could share the “average” essay or resume mine would have been below average. Don’t get hung up on the number.
Talk to your peers – There are literally tens of thousands of people going through the same process as you. Get to know them. Help each other. Maybe one of them knows an adcom at a school you’re applying to. Maybe one of them paid for an admissions consultant and can share their recommendations with you. Maybe you couldn’t make an info session and you can trade notes. Maybe one of them got into the same schools as you and can tell you how they negotiated a bigger scholarship. Whatever the case, your peers are a great resource. Leverage them.
I wish you the best of luck in your applications. My wife and I are excited to be moving up to Evanston to attend Kellogg in the fall and can’t wait to meet all my future classmates. If there’s anything you want help with, please post in the comments below. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to answer your questions, but I can guarantee that someone reading this article will. Again, best of luck!
Dean Nordhielm will be a member of Kellogg’s Class of 2017.