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Does it really make sense to apply to backup schools?

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Does it really make sense to apply to backup schools? [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 11:50
Based on several conversations that I have had with other applicants, everyone seems to suggest that it’s always good to apply to 1 or 2 back up schools.

Now I thought about this real hard and don’t know how much I agree with this philosophy. I am going to invest 2 years of my life + 150k + 2 years of lost salary. After investing all that, do I really want to go to a back up school, even if I get in?

Some other considerations for this thought are:
- I believe that if one the Ultra Elite schools ding you for one or two reasons, if you work on them and re-apply the next year you have a higher chance of being admitted
- I have spoken with at least 3 - 4 people in HBS, Wharton, Columbia, and Stanford. All of then only applied to 1 - 2 schools; schools that they really wanted to attend
- Also I asked the current students the question: Now that you have experienced this school for one year, do you think it’s worth waiting for getting into this school if they ding you the first time you apply? Guess what ALL of them answered: YES, it totally worth it!

All these factors make me want to not apply to school that I wouldn’t want to go to.

Thought from my current GMAT clubbers?
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 12:24
Interesting question. I've begun to ask myself that same question lately. I've gotten my GMAT score back lately and it's high enough to get into a good school. So now the question is - shouldn't the "backup" school just be out of the question now? Afterall, we already have relatively good jobs. So what - work one more year and try again next year, right? I tend to agree with what you've said.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 13:20
If by backup you mean going to a program that isnt in the top 15 - or isnt really a great program - then dont do it.

My recommenders have both told me not to bother applying to a school outside of the top 15 - it will be a waste of your time and money.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 13:56
By Backup Schools I mean schools that are not in your top 3 picks. It has nothing to do with the ranking of the school.

For example, the 3 schools that I REALLY want to get into are Harvard, Wharton and Stanford. However, the school that I might also think applying to us LBS either, but its not something that I dream about!

Hence, in this context, LBS would be my backup school.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 15:39
It depends...is the "back up" going to give you access to the job you want (you only need one job) and have a location/culture/curriculum that you would be happy with? I think a lot of the top schools outside of H/S/W can make one happy, you just gotta know what you want. So because we don't know anything about you or your goals, it's really hard to say if it's worth it or not for you to apply to a back up school.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 16:55
It's interesting you bring this up actually because it's been on my mind lately. I want to go to HBS, Chicago or Kellogg. With a dose of reality thrown in, I want to go to either Chicago or Kellogg.

I'm debating whether or not applying to "backups" made sense because, in the back of my mind, I feel like if Chicago or Kellogg didn't accept me full time, I'd just apply part time, and if that failed too - then I'd consider a backup. I come back to the lost income and cost when I think this way.

Then, other times, I think to myself - look your "backup" is an ivy league school, it's not like were talking University of Pheonix Online here - sure, its no GSB, but it's still a darn good school and you'll still get opportunities of it, and anyway you don't want to go to IB and MC routes anyway - so who cares if Bain and McKinsey recruit at GSB but not at school X or Y?

I go back and forth a lot on this subject. In the end, I'm just hoping I get into my top three choices and then I don't really have to try and decide anything!
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 16:58
And Cornell Ryme? What you doing out there then?
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 17:03
Mark4124 wrote:
And Cornell Ryme? What you doing out there then?


It's only something I've recently struggled with - so my decision to apply to Cornell was prior to these doubts creeping into my head. That being said, this is Cornell - Cornell - an ivy league school, it's a great institution.

So why am I here?

Because in the end, I'd probably be happy here. I'd get a great education from a top school and I'd likely enjoy every minute of it.

What I struggle with is this - would I rather go to Cornell or postpone a year. Three months ago, I would NEVER have considered postponing - now, I'm not as sure. My experience at the GSB was so amazing that I MIGHT be prepared to wait another year and try again.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 17:08
Well... Lets here about your day at Cornell tomorrow... Its pretty nice out there. Super friendly and a nice environment. Though the students seemed a bit sharper at Dartmouth today.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 17:19
Mark4124 wrote:
Well... Lets here about your day at Cornell tomorrow... Its pretty nice out there. Super friendly and a nice environment. Though the students seemed a bit sharper at Dartmouth today.


The students I met today at Cornell were awesome - they were all very nice. One was a bit intimidating - hard to describe - I found him a little "look down on you" - but the others I met were about as down to earth as you can get.

So far, the trip is fabulous, I'm enjoying my hotel room run by pimple laden 18 year old freshman, and the campus is amazingly beautiful, swgotz didn't try and rape me or kill me tonight, and the students have been nice!

That being said I found Sage Hall (granted I have a lot more to see) pretty sterile and uninviting from the inside - architecturally speaking it's having a seizure. The exterior and interior are at war with each other.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 17:23
I didn't find that any of them looked down on me... they seemed super eager to meet me. In the Strategy class I visited it seemed like there were a number of stars but also a number who didn't contribute and didnt have anything insightful to say when they were called out for not contributing. Dartmouth seemed to have a larger share of contributors in the Media Communications class I visited today. Both classes were core classes. I'm sure it is a bit different in the electives.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 17:24
To see what I mean about hte interior:

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... &start=120
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 18:20
rhyme wrote:

So far, the trip is fabulous, I'm enjoying my hotel room run by pimple laden 18 year old freshman, and the campus is amazingly beautiful, swgotz didn't try and rape me or kill me tonight, and the students have been nice!



I'm not sure I like my name, pimply freshman and the word "rape" used in the same sentence! ;-)
  [#permalink] 06 Nov 2006, 18:20
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