This time of year, many applicants are waiting for a business school interview invitation from their top choice schools. Having been on both sides of this process, inviting candidates to interview at Tuck and waiting along with my North Star clients, here are some behind the scenes insights about the interview invite process.

1.             The first candidates invited are not necessarily the strongest.

Although some schools may triage applications and review people with the highest GMAT and GPA first, this is the exception rather than the norm.  In most cases, the order of review is much more random.

2.             The last candidates invited are not at a disadvantage.

Whether you interview on the first day or the last, the admissions committee reviews the entire round before “locking” decisions.  They are completely aware of how many applications are still under review, and will not penalize people who complete their interviews at the end of the round.

3.             You cannot assume that your application was reviewed early, even if you submitted it before the deadline.

In fact, there may not be any correlation between when you applied and when your application is read.  There are so many variables at play, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with you and your candidacy.  Your file may have been assigned to a reader who came down with the flu and took a week off, or who is chronically behind on her files and has a huge backload.  The processors may work alphabetically, and if your last name starts with z (or a) your file will be loaded last.

4.             Speaking of deadlines, admissions offices often miss theirs.

I know, this is a frustrating reality.  After all, you need to submit your application on time.  However, schools are often a bit behind reviewing applications and issuing interview invitations, especially during the January round, which is traditionally the largest.

If you haven’t heard from your dream school, please resist the temptation to call the admissions office and ask about your status.  The schools will be in touch as soon as they have updates. I also suggest avoiding the forums – although some posts are useful, it tends to increase stress to read about other people receiving invitations.  At times, these posts aren’t even accurate.  If possible, please try to draw reassurance from the knowledge that your part is done, and it’s in the hands of the admissions committee now.