You just received your final rejection letter. You have four options. You can:
a) Mope and sulk.
b) Decide you don’t need or want an MBA.
c) Reapply next year.
d) All of the above.
Listen, we're not going to deprive you of your right to be bitter about rejection. Do what you need to do, but then please try and get over it so you can start making decisions and being productive.
Once you've calmed down, we recommend that you objectively (to the best of your ability) analyze your profile based on the programs you applied to: Were your qualifications competitive at those programs? If you were qualified, then did you do something wrong in your MBA application?
If after you coolly analyze your application you conclude that you simply shot too high, then I encourage you to consider MBA programs that are ranked lower than those you already applied to. If you only applied to top ten schools, broaden your scope. Look at programs in the top 30 range instead. Are any of these programs strong in your area of interest? Will they support your MBA goals? Are they well respected where you plan on living and working? If yes, then perhaps you should submit applications to the best of these schools (best for YOU, that is) during the next rounds of this application season.
If you happen to be reading this in the future, like after a round 1 or 2 rejection, realize that schools outside the top 10 understand and expect that exceptional students will be applying to their programs in later rounds after being dinged at other top schools. Later admissions rounds exist for a reason: to offer competitive qualified applicants a chance at acceptance late in the game. Don't let the number 3 or even 4 scare you off!
If, however, you are reading this post after the late round deadlines or you simply have your heart set on attending one of the programs that dinged you, and are not willing to consider applying to any others, then I say save your time and money and jump straight to your reapplication effort. Focus on what need to change in your application to also change the outcome.
Not sure if you can objectively analyze your application and qualifications? Invest in an Accepted.com Application Review and have an experienced professional evaluate your application and provide advice on what steps to take next.
This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.