Instead of a clear “yes” or “no,” some candidates will find themselves on an MBA admissions waitlist. Some schools, such as the Wharton School or Harvard Business School, ask candidates not to provide additional material. Many programs, however, will accept new items of information and provide the applicant with feedback on his or her areas of deficiency. Applicants should follow the waitlist instructions provided by each school. For example, Chicago Booth allows waitlisted candidates to submit a 90 second video restating their qualifications and interest in the program. Here are some steps to consider if you are waitlisted:
Write a Letter Restating Your Interest
If the school is your first choice, make it clear to the admissions committee that you will attend if accepted. Schools often use the waitlist to manage enrollment for the coming year, and would like to achieve a high conversion rate when they extend offers of acceptance.
Secure Another Letter of Recommendation
Seek an additional letter of recommendation from someone who can attest to your leadership and character. You can ask someone senior at your work or a key leader at an organization where you provide notable community leadership. You can consider securing a recommendation from an alumni member of the school in question, particularly if the alumni member has gone on to achieve notable success. The ideal additional recommendation letters will shed light on a new dimension to your applicant profile that wasn’t evident in your previous letters.
Address New Accomplishments
Let the school know if you have been promoted at work or if you have taken on a leadership role with a non-profit organization. You should let the admissions committee know if you received an employee recognition award. Let the committee know if you are shouldering more responsibilities at work or are helping to lead a new company initiative.
Directly address shortcomings of your application. If your GMAT score is lower than ideal, for instance, consider retaking the GMAT and showing improvement. If you lack an analytical background, take a math class at your local college and earn an “A.” The admissions committee will appreciate your commitment to improving your qualifications.
Visiting the school can signal to the admissions committee that you’re serious about attending the program. In your letter, explain how the visit demonstrated that you were a good match for the school, how the specific program would help you achieve your long-term goals, and how you can contribute as a member of the community.
Dr. Shelly Watts