Making a Compelling Application
When your application arrives at your favorite college, the officers are not deciding whether to accept or reject you, but rather your application. Therefore, you need to make your application reflect your abilities, personality, background, interests, and past performance.
Don’t Hesitate – Starting Early Pays Off
Don’t wait until senior year to download the applications you need. Ideally, you will begin familiarizing yourself with your college applications and their requirements during the spring of your junior year. You will need time to carefully gather the necessary information and compile lists of activities and honors. If you can begin writing your essays over the summer, you will save plenty of time; just make sure to ask the admissions offices whether or not they plan on changing the essays in the fall.
Submitting your application as early as possible is always beneficial. Close to the deadline date, admissions officers must read close to 100 applications a day, but early in the season, they read only a handful a day. If the admissions officer has more time to consider your application in a thoughtful way, your chances are greatly improved. Also, an early submission suggests that you are quite serious about your interest in the school, even when you do not select Early Action or another similar option.
Extracurricular Activities and Your Application
You cannot fool college admissions officers by presenting an extremely long list of extracurricular activities in your application. While it is true that colleges want to make sure that you are doing something worthwhile in your spare time, it is not necessary to be a member of 20 different clubs, sports, or organizations. However, if you spend 20 hours a week at one particular activity, and you have become the mainstay of that organization, that’s impressive.
Extracurricular activity lists should demonstrate:
- Dedication and Loyalty
- Social Awareness and Sophistication
- Leadership Capacity
First Jobs and Student Resumes
As a high school student, it is not expected that you will have a lengthy resume. However, having a job in high school can impress admissions officers. It is a good idea include the number of hours per week you normally work at your job, and any leadership positions that you’ve held. Your job doesn’t need to be unusual, but your dedication is what matters. Some schools permit additional recommendation letters from job supervisors, and a glowing report of your maturity, work ethic, and problem-solving skills can be a real boon.
Look after your applications! If you apply online, always save a copy of your essays on your hard drive, and also a backup copy on CD or other removable drive. Take your time, and do your best to present yourself in the best light possible.
The part-time MBA, like the EMBA, allows students to keep their full time jobs while attending business school. Unlike the EMBA programs, however, part-time MBA programs are designed for the less experienced professional or for those seeking to learn the necessary skills to change careers. Some part-time programs also incorporate distance-learning options making them flexible for those who travel frequently as well as for those that do not necessarily live nearby the school they attend. Schedules also differ from program to program, so you will want to find a timetable that works best for you, your family and your employer.
The most significant challenge for part-time students is changing careers. Those who do not seek to make a dramatic change are generally satisfied with their choice. However, students who want to make a more extreme change in field tend not to be as satisfied with part-time MBA study as do full-time MBA students.
Full-time MBA students have time off to engage in summer internships or take a part-time position in a different field during the school year. This increases their potential to be able to change fields. Part-time MBA students are more limited in this respect. They may necessarily have to keep the jobs they currently hold, but often find it more realistic to move into a position that combines their experience with the new interests and skills gained in the classroom.
At the same time, part-time MBA students have a lot of time. The programs, being part-time, take an extended time to complete, and thus provide additional time for students to contemplate the direction they want the degree to take. In addition, it’s important for part time students to make use of campus resources, career counseling, and career assessment tools as they move along in the process. After three or four years in a program, goals may change, so these tools should be used when evaluating the MBA process.
Part time students will need the support of their employers and families too, as both studying and working will require large time commitments.
Some part time students receive funding from their employers to complete the part time MBA. Larger companies are generally more likely to fund MBA programs. Even for those who do not receive funding from their employers, part time MBA students have a financial advantage over their full time counterparts in that they are continuing to earn money during study, often enough to cover expenses.
Some part time students who seek to change careers post-graduation will find that their salaries do not increase and may even decrease. This is because companies still hire and determine wages based on proven experience. One way to mitigate this is by seeking to combine the expertise developed in your current field with your interest in a new field. Also, money need not be the single determining factor in your post-MBA professional choice. Though many go into MBA programs seeking to improve their earnings, many also seek to change jobs. With this in mind, try to find a position that will allow you to grow and learn. Consider options that complement your long-term goals and don’t just consider your post-MBA pocketbook.
At most top MBA programs, interviews are a required and important part of the application. Even where they are not required, they are generally recommended by admissions staff.
The interview offers admissions committees the opportunity to access a candidate’s ability to verbally communicate who they are. They see a candidate’s charm, beyond their written expression and their ability to think on their feet. Overall, a candidate should aim to behave in a manner that encourages conversation and open discussion. However, this requires practice. A few guidelines are the following:
· Aim for consistency with the written application. Candidates should be sure to review essay questions prior to the interview and make responses align with their written responses.
· Research the school. You may even want to have knowledgeable questions in mind for the interviewer related to the school’s program.
· If you tend to be nervous in interview situations, find a way to relax yourself.
· Be honest!
· Be prepared especially to explain your weaknesses and make them strengths. Avoid using the old, “I’m a perfectionist line.”
· Support your answers with examples.
In practice sessions with friends or co-workers or individually (ideally still aloud), practice the following themes:
College and (Graduate education if applicable). Why did you attend the college you did? What was your experience like? How were your classes? Which ones in particular stand out? What were your college extracurricular activities?
Job. Why did you choose the job(s) you chose?
MBA. Why? Why now? Why at ___? Where else did you apply? What is your top choice? Where would you like to work in short and long term? What curriculum methods interest you?
General. Tell us about yourself, according to your resume. Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you leave the house each day? What is your opinion on random business issues (ethics, current markets)? How would people describe you, including friends, co-workers, and supervisors? Describe your style of leadership, your approach to ethical questions. Describe your strengths and weaknesses. Rate yourself in terms of motivation, teamwork, organization, loyalty, work ethic. If money was not a worry, what would you do?
- Pace It to Ace It – Test Taking Tips for the SAT
- Specialized Business MS Degrees on the Rise
- Three ways to ace your MBA Admission interview through proper prep
- Applying for an M.B.A.: Reading Between the Lines
- The Ten Toughest Business Schools to Enter
- Basic Strategies to Conquer the GMAT
- The Profile of the 2011 GMAT Test Taker Demonstrates Growing Diversity.
- Business School Scholarship Application Advice
- The Changing Face of Executive MBA programs
- Business School Reapplication: To do, or not to do?