Sending too many follow-ups or None - Both are Bad!

F1GMAT: What are some of the best practices that an MBA candidate should follow if they are waitlisted? Some experts advice to follow up regularly and others advice to be cautious with follow ups. What is your advice on follow-up frequency?

AdmissionsConsultants: To successfully navigate the waitlist process, you must first understand the purpose of the waitlist. The waitlist is what the admissions committee uses to control yield. Yield is the percentage of admitted applicants who ultimately choose to attend the program.

A waitlisted applicant is essentially a very well qualified individual. If there were more spots in the incoming class, this person may have been admitted. However, the admissions committee is turning its focus on admitted applicants and is much more concerned with how many nonrefundable deposits (commitments) it receives from the admits than it is, per se, about the waitlisted applicants.

They will turn to the waitlist once they are finished with the admitted applicant pool to fill any remaining spots and to ensure the incoming class is well diversified.

Now that we have gone over how the waitlist works from the school’s perspective, we can look at this from the waitlisted applicant’s perspective. The first step is to follow the school’s specific directions.

Columbia, for instance, asks that you not send additional materials. Consequently, if you get an email from CBS, you should do nothing more than reiterate your strong commitment to the school with an enthusiastic and well-written email. It is OK to “enhance” your profile with an update, but keep it brief.

For other schools such as MIT and NYU that ask for additional information, you should reiterate your strong interest in the program and look to mitigate your weaknesses. Updates and letters of reference are often helpful. Be certain that any additional recommendations add new insight to your candidacy and don’t just simply regurgitate what previous recommenders already stated in your application.

Frequency gets a lot of applicants in trouble. Sending too many follow-ups to the school is just as bad as sending none. As stated earlier, the admissions committees are far more concerned with their admitted applicants than the applicants on the waitlist. Sending an inordinate amount of updates will only gain you an unfavorable label and can even harm your chances as a re-applicant.

About David Petersam

David petersamDavid Petersam is the president and founder of AdmissionsConsultants, Inc., launched in 1996. He graduated from the University of Chicago with an MBA.At Chicago, he gained an insider’s knowledge of MBA admissions, working in the admissions office there and contributing to admissions committee decisions. Prior to his MBA studies, he was a Certified Public Accountant.
On college and graduate admissions, Petersam has been quoted in the New York Times, featured in T.V. and radio programs, and has published a guest column in the Washington Business Journal.

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