Based on your goals and qualifications, you can now intelligently choose schools. Look at specialty rankings (U.S. News, BusinessWeek) for a quick start but don’t rely on them blindly. Go thoroughly through school websites. Read student blogs. Talk to current students and recent alumni.
Generate a list of schools that fall into one of the following three categories—reasonable reaches, on-pars, or safeties. It’s best to choose at least one school from each category, though some may want to apply to more (applying to six or seven total is about average).
Here’s a breakdown of these three categories:
• Reasonable reach – Acceptance to your reasonable reach is a bit of a stretch, but not impossible. A strong application could make your reasonable reach a reality.
• On-par – You have a solid chance of getting into your on-pars with a good application. Your scores and experiences make you a competitive candidate for these schools.
• Safety – You should have no trouble getting into the safety schools on your list. (Don’t be too cocky though; slacking off and turning in a half-filled-out application will get you dinged even at the schools in this category!)
When determining which schools fall into which categories you’ll need to keep in mind the following: How does your GPA and GMAT score measure up with the averages of your target school? Are your skills and experiences particularly well matched with your target school? Are your goals in line with one school more than another? Look at the class profile for accepted students to your target programs to see how you measure up. Would you fit in?
Once you can answer these questions, you will have generated a realistic list of schools to apply to—and the more realistic your list, the better your chances are of gaining acceptance to at least some of them, if not all.
Participating in an MBA fair is a great way to know if you are a good fit for your target schools. The MBA Tour will be holding events in the US during July, so register now to attend an event near you!
Like the advice you see in this post? Download Accepted’s special report, MBA Action Plan, for more practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It’s free!)
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.