According to Gerald Bradshaw—who attended Harvard Law School and spent more than 15 years screening Harvard College applicants as an alumnus admissions interviewer—taking time off between completing your undergraduate studies and applying to a graduate program might actually improve your B-school acceptance odds.
In a recent article for the Chicago Sun-Times’ Post-Tribune, Bradshaw responds to a question from a worried college student who wanted to know if taking a break from undergraduate studies would negatively affect his/her odds of later being accepted to graduate school.
Bradshaw states that taking time off in this way should pose no problem for those who wish to apply to top business or law schools at some point in the future. He goes on to explain that a hiatus can even work to the advantage of an MBA hopeful.
Program leaders prefer applicants with measurable real-world and professional experience, and Bradshaw notes, “Most top law and MBA programs prefer students to have a few years of life experience behind them.” If you do take time off from your studies, be sure to highlight what you did during this time in your resume, essays, and/or other portions of your application. Experiences such as military service, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, charity work, and travel can help you present yourself as a well-rounded and captivating prospect.
Bradshaw reminds readers that students who take time off are subject to the same acceptance criteria as candidates who apply immediately after graduating from their undergrad institution. An individual still needs a stellar GPA, strong test scores, and compelling application materials to compete with other top program applicants.