Strategies for Navigating Application Uncertainty Post Submission

how dealing with uncertainty

In light of the disruption that coronavirus has provided during this round 2 / round 3 application season, we’re seeing schools respond with a few changes.  A number of schools have announced deadline extensions, exceptions in test requirements and waitlist expansions, among other things, to accommodate this unique challenge in our market.  As such, it’s been a bumpy and uncertain admissions season for applicants. We’re going to provide you with a few things you want to think about during these times of uncertainty when you’re waiting on your application decision.

Stay active on the waitlist

It’s easy to feel somewhat helpless once you’ve submitted your application.  If you’re like many applicants, you check your status regularly and may wake up in a slight panic as you check your phone for school updates!   Fortunately, you can take some control back by staying active on the waitlist. We recommend providing one update to the admissions committee if you have any significant updates to provide (historically about a third of our applicants).  Some examples of meaningful updates include:

  • Promotion at work
  • Improved score on your standardized test
  • Meaningful activity in the community (e.g. board position)
  • Update on coursework you may have taken to mitigate a weakness

A waitlist update should only be provided if it’s meaningful; we don’t suggest you provide an update if it’s not meaningful as it will likely be interpreted as poor judgement.  If you do provide an update, make sure to keep the update short and sweet as it is one more document that must be consumed and processed by the admissions staff.  

Consider Round 3

Historically, round 3 (March / April deadlines) has been the “forgotten” admissions round where fewer than 10% of the applicant class is filled, however, that has changed.  Applications have been down over the years (likely changing soon) and round 3 has been a tool schools have used to maintain yield and continue to grow the class. Several schools have pushed their round 3 deadlines back due to the coronavirus challenges, so this could be a good opportunity for you to add another target or stretch school to your list for consideration.  If you’re like most people, you’ve caught up on your Netflix, you’re limiting your public exposure, and you shudder to think of another company conference call, so writing another application is a pretty good use of time.  

Build your Profile

Let this sink in: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  We see a number of applicants that have the “submission hangover”.  You worked so hard to crank out your applications and you do nothing for the next several months.  While that may be OK if you get into school, if you don’t, you will be behind the curve as you prepare to re-apply.  Proactively address your weakness in anticipation of reapplying in the future. If you end up getting in, no big deal; if not, you will be ready to go next application season with a stronger profile.  Remember: no one ever asks how many times you applied to school, simply where you WENT to school. Keep the faith and keep working!  

Pro Tips: 

Quiz: What are my weaknesses?

Video: How to mitigate my weaknesses