Five years ago, I wrote a blog about why people really get wait listed. I have also discussed mistakes, and how to get off the MBA wait list. However, even armed with information, it can be hard to calculate your odds of getting admitted. Here is further insight into the MBA wait list, and some clues about whether or not you will get in.


  • Is your test score low?

How low? Like, 100+points below the school’s average? If so, and if you are unwilling to retake the exam or just unable to raise your score, you aren’t super likely to get in.


  • Did you apply 3rd round?

If so, your odds are also somewhat lower. Schools like to see sustained interest, and there is a psychological bias towards candidates who apply earlier in the process. (If you don’t articulate a really good reason for applying third round schools jump to their own conclusions – like that you don’t have it together, or that you aren’t really interested in their program.) 3rd round candidates are fighting against all of these factors.


  • Did you interview?

If you were wait listed without an interview you are somewhat disadvantaged, since the Committee has a more complete picture of some of your fellow wait listers. Also, if you are on the MBA wait list at a school that offers open interviews that you didn’t schedule, you have also missed the opportunity to telegraph strong interest. Either way, if you are wait listed and a school invites you to interview, jump on the offer. And, as always, go in person if you can.


  • Is this a reach school?

Are you wait listed at a school that was a stretch, especially numerically? (Meaning that your grades and test scores are well below the average.) Also, is this a school with a particularly high yield rate? If so, your odds of admission are obviously lower.


  • Are you unusual?

Do you offer something unusual that the school values? (A super high GPA or test score, an important special interest connection, membership in a demographic that’s hard to yield?) If so, you are more likely to get a last minute offer to join the class.


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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.
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