You Have Been Waitlisted—What Happens Next?

In these unprecedented times, while quarantining at home, you may find yourself pondering your next steps after receiving word you have been waitlisted. Meanwhile, schools are knee-deep in uncertainty concerning COVID-19’s impact on classes and their plans for the fall semester. Most schools are even extending their Round 3 deadlines and encouraging additional applications.

The good news is that schools might need to tap into their waitlists to a greater degree this year, and you can take certain steps to improve your chances of gaining acceptance. Demonstrate your interest in and passion for the school by sending periodic updates (but be careful not to bombard the admissions committee), and consider making meaningful improvements to your profile, if applicable.  

If you have been waitlisted, we at mbaMission suggest taking the following steps during this uncertain time:

  1. Breathe a bit. We know being waitlisted is not the outcome you were hoping for, but it means the school is still very interested in you and that you are still “in the game.”
  2. Accept the waitlist if you still want to be considered. This is a step forward in securing a spot in your dream school’s next class.
  3. Think about how to improve your profile. We have presented some of ideas of how to do this in the mbaMission Waitlist Guide.  
  4. Draft an update letter that summarizes the steps you have taken or plan to take to improve your candidacy and that demonstrates your passion for the school. Update the admissions committee on any significant changes in responsibilities and accomplishments since you submitted your application. Let the committee know right away if you are willing to accept your spot in the class. Try to do this in the first two to three weeks, but note the school’s request for updates. If the school asks for them more quickly, get them in by the specified deadline.  
  5. Follow up later with any other meaningful updates (e.g., a new GMAT/GRE score).  
  6. Consider obtaining an additional letter of recommendation or a short note of endorsement if the school permits.  

Specifically for this season, if you have led or joined COVID-19–related community efforts, be sure to let the admissions committee know. Helping our communities right now is a fantastic way to give back.  

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Upcoming Deadlines

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  • UNC Kenan-Flagler (Round 3)
  • USC Marshall (Round 3)
  • Carnegie Mellon Tepper (Round 3)
  • London Business School (Round 3)
  • Cambridge Judge (Round 4)
  • NYU Stern (Round 4)

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