I frequently talk to people who will be applying to business school in a few years, and who want to get a head start on the process. This type of planning bodes well for their business school success! There are several concrete steps that can help you get ready.
- Get your GMAT or GRE out of the way.
It’s often easier to study for and take standardized exams when you are in “school mode.” Also, these tests can take longer to prepare for than you think, which is additional motivation to avoid last minute time pressure by completing your tests now. Scores are valid for 5 years.
- Take additional courses.
If you are a candidate who didn’t take any quantitative courses in college, or if your grades are below average, it can bolster your candidacy to take additional courses before applying. Why not get them out of the way now?
- Get involved.
Admissions committees tend to get suspicious when applicants suddenly join 3 organizations a week before submitting. You don’t need to volunteer if that’s not your passion, but do consider building a consistent history of involvement in hobbies, clubs or whatever you enjoy.
The best relationships build organically, so take advantage of the time you have now to connect with people who have gone to business school, and with mentors. When the time comes you will benefit from their perspective, and may even have great recommenders who can help you weave together and convey your story.
- Explore schools.
Sign up for mailing lists, so that you can start reading about the different programs and going to events. It is not at all uncommon for people to attend receptions, coffee chats and other admissions events well before they plan to apply.
There is a lot of information to absorb when you are researching programs, shaping your candidacy and applying to business school. Starting early will help you enjoy the process and get the results that you want.