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Mission Admission: Waitlist Strategies, Part 1

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

In recent weeks, many candidates have received a response from MBA admissions committees that can sometimes be far more frustrating than a rejection: “You have been placed on the waitlist.” So what should you do when your status is uncertain? The first and most important thing is to listen to the admissions committee. If the committee tells you not to send follow-up material of any sort, then do not yield to temptation and send material that you think will bolster your case. If you (misguidedly) choose to do so after being specifically instructed not to, you will most definitely identify yourself in a negative way—not the type of message you want to send to the group that will decide your fate.

Does this rule have any exceptions? Yes, actually. If you know a current student or an alumnus/alumna who can tactfully, diplomatically and independently work on your behalf, you can have this third party write a letter to or otherwise contact the admissions committee in support of your candidacy. But again, this is acceptable only if this individual truly understands the delicate nature of the interaction. If you have no such person on your side, you will have to wait patiently, as difficult as that may be.

Next Week: Responding to admissions committees that do accept additional information.




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