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Application round strategy

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Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2009, 11:53
I plan on applying to four schools (all M7) in the next R1 and R2. What's the ideal strategy?

At first I thought applying to my top 2 schools in R2, to have practice with apps for the less desirable schools in R1. Also I've heard that the keeners apply in R1, making R2 less competitive for top schools.

On the other hand, applying to my top 2 schools in R1 may save me the hassle and $ applying to additional schools if I am accepted to one of my top 2. Would I get the feedback in time before submitting R2 apps?
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2009, 18:48
I don't know where you've heard this but all schools (including adcoms) seem to always suggest that they receive far more applicants in R2 than in R1.

CrushTheGMAT wrote:
Also I've heard that the keeners apply in R1, making R2 less competitive for top schools.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2009, 21:31
I've read that many people recommend not to do more than 3 apps per round

I actually agree with your strategy...

Maybe you can apply to say school 2, 4 first round
To balance the competition/practice for apps

And 1, 3 in R2
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2009, 21:47
I totally agree with the perception that R1 is more competitive than R2. Some of my friends, and I, have applied in several rounds and anyone has been admitted in Round 1. (and I am talking about people who has got in to Booth, Kellogg and Tuck)
bsd_lover wrote:
I don't know where you've heard this but all schools (including adcoms) seem to always suggest that they receive far more applicants in R2 than in R1.

CrushTheGMAT wrote:
Also I've heard that the keeners apply in R1, making R2 less competitive for top schools.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 04:36
There is some value in saving your "safety" schools for R2. That was you can save yourself the work of applying if you get into a more desirable school.

However, most people have noticed that their first couple essays are no where near the quality of later essays.

My strategy was to apply to a couple "sweet spot" schools as my first apps, then one of my stretches in R1. I was lucky to get admitted to on of those schools before I sent in my R2 apps, so I ended up dropping my safety school and applying to another stretch school.

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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 07:18
Some of it really depends on the application deadlines too.

If you have a safety school with a December decision date, I'd recommend applying in R1 so you can have an admit under your belt before the holidays. Likewise if you don't get in, then you can seriously reconsider your candidacy and approach to your apps before you submit your R2 applications.

On the same token, if one of your top choices has a late R1 deadline, I'd try to get it in R1.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 09:11
If you are pretty sure about what schools you would like to apply to, this is what I would do. Start working on this past years essays now. Most likely they will stay the same or at least somewhat similar. If you do this, you can easily apply to 4 schools in rd 1. This way, you will have alot of the work done, you will have thoroughly thought out your essays, and you will have more than enough time to visit schools early this fall. Also, you will likely have a interviews before rd 2, so you will have the opportunity to somewhat gauge your chances and then apply to safeties in rd 2 if necessary. If you get ahead of the game right now, you will have a much less stressful app season next year.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 10:38
dghazer wrote:
If you are pretty sure about what schools you would like to apply to, this is what I would do. Start working on this past years essays now. Most likely they will stay the same or at least somewhat similar. If you do this, you can easily apply to 4 schools in rd 1. This way, you will have alot of the work done, you will have thoroughly thought out your essays, and you will have more than enough time to visit schools early this fall. Also, you will likely have a interviews before rd 2, so you will have the opportunity to somewhat gauge your chances and then apply to safeties in rd 2 if necessary. If you get ahead of the game right now, you will have a much less stressful app season next year.


This is what I'm doing. I wrote some draft essays this winter. Now I've gone back and looked at them and they are dreadful, I am thinking was it really me that wrote this horrid crap? If you are starting in August, I can definitely see saving some "good" schools for R2. I think you have enough time to put together good essays for R1 and if that's the case, then I can't see any benefit to leaving it to R2. If you are happy with your essays, the only other benefit is getting an interview under your belt; you could just try and schedule the school you want the most for later if that's possible.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 16:14
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what worked for me (it's also somewhere in my profile and stuff, but I'll summarize here) is:

- Apply to at most 3 schools per round
- Write your app for the school with the LATEST deadline in R1 first (in my case, Haas, 11/4)
- Refine that 1st app and then put it aside
- Work on your 2nd and 3rd app using the new found knowledge from the first app
- If you have time, go back to your first app and realize how crappy it looks (even though you thought you were done with it), refine that
- Come back to the 2nd and 3rd app and refine it even more. SUBMIT.
- Submit your 1st App (the one with the latest deadline) after some more refinement

Rinse and repeat for Round 2.

The benefit of this method is that you don't have ANY "throwaway" apps, and that all your applications can benefit from the knowledge you learn as you complete each app. The downside is that you need to give yourself at least 3 weeks to "complete" that first app, and at least 2 weeks for each subsequent app. Then you need probably 1 week to refine each app again before submitting.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 17:13
Anyone know when this year's essay questions start to come out?
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 17:33
generally in the late summer, around July or August for most schools.

My recommendation, start NOW with the general "Why MBA, Why School X, Why Now?" and "Example of Leadership" essays. Those will stay relatively the same for most schools. By writing those essays now, you'll begin piecing together your story for the application and will make your life much easier when you're applying to multiple schools later on. My biggest regret was not writing the essays earlier (I started in mid-August for 3 schools in R1 and 1 in R2).
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 06:47
People always say that your first couple apps are your weakest because of the learning curve.....but then again, the more essays you do the more stupid mistakes will be made because the mental endurance factor will come into play (i.e. leaving in the wrong school name etc). Upon review of my own essays, I found both of these to be true (typos for me, not wrong school names).
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 08:09
Columbia already came out with their essay questions for January 2010. If that's one of your targeted schools, I would use those questions as a template to get an early start. Their ED 2010 application will probably open in lately July. Hope this helps a little.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 10:55
GMATaGoGo wrote:
Columbia already came out with their essay questions for January 2010. If that's one of your targeted schools, I would use those questions as a template to get an early start. Their ED 2010 application will probably open in lately July. Hope this helps a little.


Columbia is one of my top 4 choices. I'll get started on this. Thanks a lot.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 11:40
GMATaGoGo wrote:
Columbia already came out with their essay questions for January 2010. If that's one of your targeted schools, I would use those questions as a template to get an early start. Their ED 2010 application will probably open in lately July. Hope this helps a little.


I believe this is for the accelerated MBA. Will these questions be the same as regular 2010 admission? Thanks
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 11:47
Try to use previous year's questions for full time program. I think it will be close..
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 12:05
In my opinion, I believe they will be the same questions. Two reaons why.

1) Columbia just recently change its questions. And they don't do that often. So for them to change the questions again is highly unlikely.

2)January 2010 Accelerated Program essays are already out. And they are the same as last year.

I suggest to go ahead and get started. Besides, if they do change it, at least you have a template of themes to fall back on. I have already started the essays per my blog.

Hope this helps a little bit more.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2009, 07:44
I think this is easy - look at the notification dates. If the R1 notification is after the deadline to submit R2 apps, then push those to R2. For example, Stanford and Haas don't notify you until the end of January, by which time R2 deadlines have passed. Push schools like that into R2. Chicago, on the other hand, notifies you by the end of December, which means if you get an admit, you can cancel your R2 apps. Those are the three I applied in R1, and I wish I hadn't rushed to finish Stanford and Haas.

Oh, and my R1 essays sucked - I'd save my first choice for R2 for sure.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2009, 12:52
Just to play devil's advocate... My experience was that I felt really burnt out by the time I got to my third application. My first 2 applications were the strongest in my case.

Also, if any of your schools send R1 decisions before the holidays, I'd prioritize that. It's *really* painful to wait for a bunch of schools that have January/February decisions. And on that note, you should realize that depending on your list of schools you may not hear from ANY school before the R2 deadlines. This was my case, so you may not want to base your R2 plan off the results of R1.

My final advice: apply to your top 3 choices in R1. Prioritize the set of essays that seems easiest to you, because you'll feel good getting one application done. Don't let yourself get stuck struggling on a question you're not sure how to answer (achem...What matters to you most and why?) because that will be a stamina drain. If interview season doesn't go well, apply to school #4 and maybe find a fifth choice for R2.
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Re: Application round strategy [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2009, 14:44
CrushTheGMAT wrote:
I plan on applying to four schools (all M7) in the next R1 and R2. What's the ideal strategy?


Would you attend a lesser ranked school (i.e. Duke, Ross, Darden) over M7 if they gave you a free ride (or half ride) and M7 didn't? If so, you should apply to a safety or two and see if they pony up some cash. $150k in debt is nothing to take lightly, and the class of 2012 should have a good economy to graduate into, meaning plenty of jobs for all schools.

I'd go after three schools in round 1. If you get rejected by all, 2nd round is all safety. If you get into one or more, you can either skip round 2, try to upgrade within M7, or go after some cash at a couple safeties. To do this, in round 1 you'll need to apply to schools that respond before the holidays (columbia, chicago, wharton, kellogg), and save MIT, HBS, or Stanford for round 2.
Re: Application round strategy   [#permalink] 28 Apr 2009, 14:44
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