Waiting for admissions decisions from business school, law school or college? The next few weeks are big, with many schools releasing their early round results. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • You probably aren’t going to get in everywhere.

Even the very strongest candidates rarely get into every school. In fact, some slightly less selective schools may wait list or deny particularly strong applicants to protect their yield. I have had clients get into Wharton and Booth but not Yale or Tuck, for instance, and others who were admitted to Stanford and Northwestern but not Duke. What this means for you is that you shouldn’t panic if your first response is a no – you may very well get into your dream school, even if some of your other options don’t materialize.

  • Don’t compare yourself to other applicants.

This is easier said than done, but please try not to conclude anything from other people’s results. You really don’t know exactly what their applications looked like – were their essays too stilted? Were there typos? Or did their grandmother endow the library? There are so many factors at play, and you really can’t have complete insight into anyone else’s candidacy.

  • Don’t take the results personally.

Please try not to internalize your results. Whether or not you get into a particular school is not a referendum on your worth, or your potential. Top schools can fill their classes many times over with “perfect” candidates – 4.0’s, 99% percentile test scores, etc. Many extraordinary people, who go on to be extremely happy and successful, don’t get admitted everywhere they apply.

  • Stay off of the forums!

There is a breathtaking amount of misinformation online, even on allegedly reputable sites. For example, when I was at Tuck I would sometimes read forum posts from candidates claiming to have gotten calls offering them admission – before we had even locked the round. In general, it does you no good to speculate about numbers, signs, trends – it rarely if ever alleviates stress to spend hours online looking for clues.

  • Don’t give up.

No matter what happens, it really will be ok. There are so many fabulous schools out there, and while more than 90% of my clients wind up at one of their top choice schools I am very aware of the fact (as are they) that there are many different paths to success.


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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
North Star Admissions Consulting