WAITLISTED? THE DO’S AND DON’TS

Your gut reaction may be to scramble to control the situation. For some applicants, that means bombarding the school with the comings and goings of their everyday lives. Or, showing up at the admissions office uninvited, when the school has made clear its policy not to hold individual meetings with waitlisted applicants. But your enthusiasm alone will not sway the school’s decision. Multiple factors shape the admit list, including overall class profile, admits flaking to other schools, applicant pool in later rounds, the school’s target yield (which impacts rankings), etc—which are all outside of your control. 

Do communicate to the schools promptly if you have had major developments since your application. A major development is defined as valuable information that may tip the scale. That could be a promotion at work, leadership-oriented accomplishments, higher GMAT score, having retaken that quant course you failed in undergrad (and earning an A grade this time around), etc. The more tangible or quantifiable the update, the more convincing because it shows your determination to improve and grow. Clarification on something in your application that you wish you had explained better could also be a plus, as it demonstrates self-awareness on your part. 

But the one golden rule in the waitlist approach is that you take the school’s waitlist instructions seriously. If the school says, “only contact us with major updates,” it literally means, only contact them if/when you have major updates. Reaching out to the school multiple times “just to say hi,” or to reiterate that you LOVE the school without offering additional insight may be construed as pestering, and ultimately backfire. 

Business school applications are, at heart, no different from recruiting. If you were the hiring manager, would you hire a person who follows up with you every week? Or, would you rather hire that gal/guy who can strike the right balance between showing enthusiasm and being respectful of your interview process? It’s obvious which applicant demonstrates better judgment and business aptitude. 

Desperate is never sexy, especially when it comes to business school applications. If you find yourself on the waitlist, do what you need to do to update the school with new and valuable information—but with an air of confidence, knowing that this will not make or break you. Because it won’t.

*****

This article originally appeared on Masaki’s blog. For more application tips like this, and to request a free initial consultation with Masaki, go to consultmasaki.com.

Masaki is a Toronto-based MBA Admissions Expert, helping clients identify, own, and convey their tell-worthy stories to create winning business school applications.