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Chances of getting into Top schools?

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Chances of getting into Top schools? [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2004, 15:47
Hi Linda,

I wonder if you can give me some feedback regarding my chances to get into the following schools: Harvard, Wharton, Chicago, INSEAD, Kellogg and MIT. I just took the GMAT for the first time a few months ago (45Q, 44V, 710) and I'm considering taking the test again since my Q score seems a little low to me.

Male/ from Honduras, Central America(which I think might help me since there aren't many from my country in the top schools) Attended school at the University of Washington, graduated with an Economics and Political Science degree(actually made the national honor society for Economics) with an overall 3.4GPA(3.65 if you exclude my freshman yr) and 3.65 in both majors. I have been working as a senior business analyst in the IT department for a major wireless carrier here in the US during the last 4 years. Volunteer for the Red Cross for the last year( I have volunteered for other things here and there as well).

I know I'm giving you very basic info but based on the little info I have given you, do you think I have a chance to get into any of the schools mentioned above. Should I take the GMAT again to improve my GMAT score? Thanks!

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 [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2004, 16:13
I forgot to mention that I'm worried about my Q score because my 45 translates into a 78% percentile and I've read that schools want your score in the 80th percentile. As I mentioned in the original post I had a rough freshman year, ending up with a 2.7GPA, including 2.0 in both Calculus 1 and 2 and a 2.5 in intro to microeconomics and in intro to macro. The reason for these grades was the fact that school was not my priority, had a hard time getting to class(I was young and immature). Since I received 3.8 and above for all of my advance econ courses(during my last 2 years of school) I'm hoping that the schools can see that my lower GPA in these math classes was not the result of not being able to cut it. My lower grades in these calculus classes are in fact my biggest worry. Should I be worried about this? If so, is there anything I can do offset these low grades? Thanks!
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Re: Chances of getting into Top schools? [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2004, 13:03
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crsierra wrote:
Hi Linda,

I wonder if you can give me some feedback regarding my chances to get into the following schools: Harvard, Wharton, Chicago, INSEAD, Kellogg and MIT. I just took the GMAT for the first time a few months ago (45Q, 44V, 710) and I'm considering taking the test again since my Q score seems a little low to me.

Male/ from Honduras, Central America(which I think might help me since there aren't many from my country in the top schools) Attended school at the University of Washington, graduated with an Economics and Political Science degree(actually made the national honor society for Economics) with an overall 3.4GPA(3.65 if you exclude my freshman yr) and 3.65 in both majors. I have been working as a senior business analyst in the IT department for a major wireless carrier here in the US during the last 4 years. Volunteer for the Red Cross for the last year( I have volunteered for other things here and there as well).

I know I'm giving you very basic info but based on the little info I have given you, do you think I have a chance to get into any of the schools mentioned above. Should I take the GMAT again to improve my GMAT score? Thanks!

Crsierra


Considering that you are from Honduras and that your last 3 years in college were excellent, I don't think you need to retake the GMAT. You may want to consider retaking calc just to show that those skills are top-notch, but if your upper division classes used calculus then they show that you really have those skills. The 80% figure is a comfort level not a line in the sand. You're just a notch below it.
With competitive essays, recs, and interviews, you definitely have a competitive profile at the schools on your list, but you don't have any safeties on that list. I suggst you add 1-2 schools lower down the rankings and still supportive of your goals.
Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2004, 22:35
Hi Linda,

Thanks for the quick response, just one follow up question. I'm looking for schools with good general management and/or international business programs. Based on my qualifications: 710/ 3.4GPA, etc what schools can I consider safety schools? Thanks again!


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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2004, 08:23
Greetings,

I can suggest some other schools that might interest you. However, unlike many of the fine people you will encounter at this forum, I do not subscribe to the concept of the "safety school." Instead, I encourage most students to apply to only those schools that genuinely interest them (in combination with other practical concerns such as funding). If they fail to gain admission in the first application year, they can improve their file and reapply the next year. In addition,for many students the comfort provided by the safety school is at best illusory since the students would not attend these schools even if admitted (for many students this is a strange option contract indeed- you pay a large premium for an option you will almost certainly never exercise). Of course, I encourage other observers to present opposing points of view.

There are a number of elite schools in general management that might interest you including Dartmouth, Virginia(Darden), and Michigan. I would also consider some transelites such as USC (Marshall). However, it is paramount that one evaluate these schools on their own merits rather than as some form of "inferior substitute" for other schools.

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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2004, 10:02
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crsierra wrote:
Hi Linda,

Thanks for the quick response, just one follow up question. I'm looking for schools with good general management and/or international business programs. Based on my qualifications: 710/ 3.4GPA, etc what schools can I consider safety schools? Thanks again!


Crsierra


Look into USC, UT, Georgetown, UNC for safeties. These are not safeties, but they are excellent GM schools: Darden and Tuck.

Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2004, 15:22
Thanks Linda and Hjort for the quick and thorough responses. I have been thinking about both UNC and USC as they seem to have good programs, especially USC's international program.

Hjort, I have been debating about the safety school issue for a while since(as mentioned in your response) I'm unsure if I would want to go to a "safety school" if accepted even though some of these programs are quite good. At this point it's all about differentiation with my essays and I think that I have a good chance of doing so, well at least I hope so.

Forgot to mention that I already applied to INSEAD for the January entry and about the last 2 weeks ago I had my second interview. They seemed to go well, now it's all about waiting(9/10 is the last day to find out) which is probably the hardest part :). I'll keep you guys posted.

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 10:58
Bravo for sticking to the programs that genuinely interest you. If you are going to spend 50k+ on something it might as well be what you really want.

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 13:18
Thnkas Hjort, one more question, at least for now, how many schools do you think people should apply to? I'm thinking of applying to 5 more, but that may be one too many. At what point is it too many? Thanks again.

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 14:19
Hi,

Two questions:

1) How many schools truly interest you?

2) Can you assign an approximate percentage to your willingness to be without any acceptances in your portfolio in the admission year? (i.e. a 10% chance of nonacceptance, 20% chance etc.)

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 14:59
1)At this point the schools that truly interest me are: Wharton, Chicago, Northwestern, Harvard, INSEAD and LBS. I'm also thinking to applying to MIT even though I wasn't even considering that school but I have received a few emails from them inviting me to their information session(to be honest, as dumb as this might sound, I think that it might have to do with the fact that they don't have anybody from my country in their school, I checked) and it was mentioned that they liked my performance on my GMAT(I guess that ETS send a list of people who score above a certain threshold). I know that this was probably a mass email but it did work since I have now researched the program and I'm considering applying even though I have no idea what chances I would have there.

2)I would probably say 30% in regards to willingness of not having a nonacceptance. I'm really looking to getting into school sooner than later...
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 15:17
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crsierra wrote:
Thanks Linda and Hjort for the quick and thorough responses. I have been thinking about both UNC and USC as they seem to have good programs, especially USC's international program.

Hjort, I have been debating about the safety school issue for a while since(as mentioned in your response) I'm unsure if I would want to go to a "safety school" if accepted even though some of these programs are quite good. At this point it's all about differentiation with my essays and I think that I have a good chance of doing so, well at least I hope so.

Forgot to mention that I already applied to INSEAD for the January entry and about the last 2 weeks ago I had my second interview. They seemed to go well, now it's all about waiting(9/10 is the last day to find out) which is probably the hardest part :). I'll keep you guys posted.

Crsierra


Thanks for your response.

I think I need to clarify what a "safety school" is and isn't. It is not a school that you don't want to attend. Applying to such a school is simply a waste of time and money.

A safety school is a school where your qualifications indicate you have a good chance to gain admission AND its strengths support your goals, even if its overall ranking is not your ideal. When looking at qualifications I seek a school where your GPA is roughly .2 above the school's average and your GMAT is roughly 30 points above the school's average. THose number are not rigid, but they give a range.

USC, UT, UNC, and Georgetown are strong in your areas of interest and their averages are such that you have a good chance of getting in.

HOwever, if you want to "go for the gold," are willing to risk rejection at all the schools you apply to and reapply next year -- a perfectly acceptable admissions strategy especially if you are a younger applicant -- then you should not apply to safety schools. Furthermore, if you are in a position where only an MBA from a top-ranked program will provide professional advantage, then you should not apply to a safety program. But if you are one of the many applicants who does not want to go through this process a second time if at all possible and needs an MBA to accomplish his or her goals -- even if the sheepskin doesn't have Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, et.al. on it -- then you should apply to a safety school.

I hope you hear good news from Insead.

Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 20:53
Thanks for all the info, it is appreciated. I agree, I need to decide if I'm willing to risk not getting any acceptances even though I would prefer to start school next year. Hopefully I'll receive good news from INSEAD even though that might lead to another dilemma(deciding to go in January or willing to risk it in order to see what options I might have for the fall). Anyways, who knows if I'll even have that decision to make(don't want to jinx anything :) ). Thanks again for the info.

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 21:50
Hi,

Have you actively evaluated Stanford and Duke?

If so, what was your rationale for rejection in each case?

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 22:10
Stanford: I actually like this program quite a bit but to be honest I only want to apply to one school where I feel I am a complete longshot and I decided to apply to Harvard(even though the longshot title might apply to Wharton as well). The reason why I picked Harvard over Stanford was because, at least based on the admissions %, Harvard looks to be a more realistic choice.

Duke: There are too many good schools out there and I had to narrow it down to 5-6 schools that I like better. In regards to location I'm looking to be in or close to a major metropolitan area and Duke doesn't fit that criteria.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2004, 22:29
I know I said one more question but another question just came up. Based on what I've read you shouldn't include extracurricular activities from back in highschool but one of the things that I'm most proud of happened in the summer prior to starting college and I don't know if I should use it.

Back in Honduras, during the summer prior to beginning college I volunteered(well over 125 hours) at a halfway house for homeless kids, it was a real drab place especially since these kinds of homes are completely underfunded by the state. I was involved in painting, cleaning, and just making the place hospitable for these kids. What I'm most proud of though was the fact that I (there were a few other people that raised money as well) approached several big companies back in Honduras in order to raise money for the work. We were able to raise thousands of dollars which in a third world country can do wonders. This was enough to buy paint, cement and furniture(among other things) By the time the summer was over the place looked completely different. I know that this happened a long time ago but it is something that I'm still proud of since it affected so many kids(over a 100, some as young as 5).

Thanks guys, sorry for so many questions(don't want to bother you, especially since you have been so patient reading through all these questions).
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2004, 12:50
Hi,

I might be the maverick on this question as well but if this community service is such a source of pride I think you should incorporate it. Of course, I would not make it the only service mentioned in your application.

Further, I do not view you as such a long shot for either Stanford or Harvard - together they accept well over one thousand distinct individuals.
Application Portfolio Theory acknowledges that positive action by some schools might be a relatively low probabilty event but this is acceptable as long as acceptance by at least one school in the portfolio is a high probability event.

Regardless, applying will almost certainly increase you chance of admission.

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2004, 13:04
Thanks Hjort, yes that would not be the only example of community service but in terms of sheer impact that is the best example I have.

I agree with your assessment but based on the schools I'm looking to apply to there is no school in my portfolio in which acceptance is highly probable. The other thing is that if I decide to apply to Stanford I would have to drop another school's application(probably one where I might have a better chance of acceptance). It goes back to the question of how many schools to apply to. Hjort, I really appreciate all your feedback, both you and Linda have been very helpful.

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2004, 13:30
Have you considered the timing of the applications? You can time the rounds so that you can still apply to the ultra elites in the first round and if that fails you can apply to other schools in the subsequent rounds. Note that schools such as Dartmouth and Columbia have an early action/decision process.
This way you can mix APT with conventional "safety school" strategies in the same admissions year.

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2004, 14:09
That is a good idea, I will consider doing that. I just felt that applying to both Stanford and Harvard might be a waste of time since my chances are slim but I can guess that you never know unless you try. That 8% acceptance rate does seem very daunting though. Hjort, how come you are so familiar with this process? I'm guessing that you are either going through it yourself or did so in the past.
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