Has or is anyone not applying to smaller programs because of a perceived greater difficulty of getting in eventhough you would prefer a smaller program? I know you can look acceptance rates and calculate your chances that way, but has anyone not applied to say Haas or TUck because they thought the small class made acceptance less likely than say Columbia, Chicago, etc.
My thinking is this: I am not a typical applicant with a few hurdles to overcome from my ug days. My reasoning is that it is more likely that a larger program might take a chance and make room for me rather than a program that only has 200+ slots. I would definitely prefer a smaller program, but if I have any sort of shot at a top program, I think it would be at some of the larger classes.
Is this thinking justified at all?
If you can prove your fit with a school like Haas, Tuck, Fuqua, or Darden and you are really interested in attending one of them - by all means go for it. Fuqua and Darden are small programs with high acceptance rates. Tuck and Haas value diversity as much as anyone else and it would pain them to have a class full of only bankers and consultants.
Your underlying thinking is correct in some cases. For example, a large amount of people choose HBS as their hail mary school, and don't bother with Stanford. This is largely due to HBS' class size and the fact that HBS admits and enrolls more students than Stanford. I would recommend that you have a well diversified portfolio of schools that you apply to - make sure you have 1 hail mary school, 2-3 stretches, and 2-4 good shot schools. If you absolutely need to go this year and need to add safeties, go ahead and do that too. If your stats line up with Tuck or Haas, don't let the smaller class size discourage you.
One last thing to keep in mind - the small programs really value visits, efforts to get to know the school and the community, etc. It is essential that you visit campus if you want to have a decent shot at Tuck or Haas.
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