Over the next few weeks business schools will start to admit people from their wait lists. I have written before about why you are on the wait list in the first place, and how to maximize your chances of getting off. In addition, it’s important to avoid these MBA wait list mistakes:

  • Being Too Passive.

You already know to opt into the wait list promptly, and to submit any additional materials that they solicit from all candidates. Failure to do any of this, or to do so in a timely way, sends a strong signal to the schools that you aren’t serious about attending. Also, if you get more personalized feedback suggesting that you retake your GMAT, write a new goal statement or provide another recommendation you need to do so.

  • Being Too Aggressive.

I have recently seen some truly terrible advice circulating that encourages candidates to do things like show up at the admissions office and stage a sit-in until someone talks to you. As a former Tuck admissions officer I beg you not to do this – you seem deranged, not proactive! There are less extreme but still damaging versions of this behavior, like calling every day or asking 15 alums to send notes on your behalf. It’s all bad – please use good judgment, follow the school’s instructions and avoid stalking activities.

  • Misunderstanding the Process.

There is so much confusion about what is actually happening behind the scenes throughout the admissions process, and the wait list is one of the least understood components. It really is true that the admissions officers can’t tell you how many people will be admitted, where you are “ranked” or when you will know. They don’t know themselves, wait lists aren’t ranked because people are admitted to round out the class across shifting demographics and you might be retained until the first day of class – or cut tomorrow. Pushing them for clarity will only backfire, so please don’t demand an early answer or ask for information that the school can’t provide.

It absolutely takes an incredible amount of patience to navigate the wait list. Take heart in the fact that there is still a chance of admission, and know that you wouldn’t be there if they weren’t impressed.