Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. However, the chances of being accepted go down as the rounds advance. Therefore, the possibility of acceptance in Round 3 is lower than it is in Rounds 1 or 2. There are also fewer grants and scholarships available in later admissions rounds.
But don’t pack up your application materials just yet. You still have a chance of being admitted if you apply, while your chance is reduced to ZERO if you don’t. Working with an admissions consultant can help you make your application stand out and get you admitted, no matter which round you apply in.
Here are 4 reasons to apply in Round 3:
- You have your heart set on joining the Class of 2020. If you feel that it’s now or never for you to attend b-school, you should absolutely apply R3, or even R4 if your program has that option.
- You are an exceptional candidate. If you have the stats, experience, and qualities that the admissions committee is looking for, then you should apply in the later rounds. Since there are, of course, some students admitted in R3 and R4, you may be one of them with your impressive profile.
- You have plenty of time, money, and energy. If you can handle going through the arduous process now and then again during next year’s R1 (if this round doesn’t work out), then you don’t have anything to lose. Any feedback you get (if you get rejected) can be very useful when you apply next year.
- You have a plan to improve your chances of acceptance. Our clients sometimes find that they don’t get into their “reach” schools, and decide to apply to programs where they have a better chance of being accepted.
There are also 6 reasons to wait for the next R1:
- Your essay needs more work. If you don’t have time to perfect your essay before the R3 deadline, wait for next year. Our clients have a greater probability of acceptance by waiting and applying with flawless essays than by rushing and submitting disorderly essays in R3.
- You’re going to take the GMAT again. If your GMAT score needs improvement, then you should wait until you’ve had time to study and retake the exam. Hopefully, your result will be higher, making your chance of acceptance better.
- Your recommenders haven’t completed their letters. You want to have the best recommendations possible for R3/R4. You’re better off waiting for next year and have the most impressive recommendations possible.
- Your work experience is lacking. Taking the extra time will allow you to gain more work experience and chances for things to write about in your personal profile.
- You’re not sure about your goals. A strong applicant needs to demonstrate clarity about their goals and reasons for wanting to attend a specific b-school. While waiting for R1, you can do some serious soul-searching and will be better equipped to provide well-thought-out responses to application essay questions.
- You’re an international student. Today’s environment is making it more difficult for international students to receive the visas they need to attend U.S. b-schools. Wait until you have all of your paperwork in order. You don’t want to be rejected because of a missing visa.
Not sure which round is the best round for you? Check out Accepted’s MBA Admissions Consulting Services and work one-on-one with an application expert who will help you get ACCEPTED – at the ideal time for you!
Linda Abraham is the founder of Accepted, the premier admissions consultancy. She has coached MBA applicants to acceptance for over 20 years. The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, and Poets&Quants are among the media outlets that seek her admissions expertise.