2006 Waitlist MBA Admissions Chat with Linda Abraham

2006 MBA Waitlist Admissions Chat with Linda Abraham

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Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:56:24 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's waitlist chat.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:56:35 AM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:57:54 AM)
OK, let's get started. I titled this chat "5 Keys to Moving from the Wait List to the Accepted List." Wait-list status is tough and you need the right set of keys to open the door to the program you want to attend. The truth is that even with these keys, you are still not guaranteed that the lock will work. But you do need to know these keys.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:01 AM)
First, a word of intro: Realize that receipt of a wait-list letter means you qualify for admission. You pass. You are probably on the wait-list (and not admitted) because they have already admitted applicants with your profile and want diversity in the class. Or they find your qualifications impressive, but find someone else's even more so.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:14 AM)
Key #1: Read the letter for any hints of deficiency in your profile. If a weakness is mentioned, inform the school of steps you have taken to ameliorate it. If the school encourages contact, do so as I will outline in a moment.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:20 AM)
Key #2: If the school encourages contact, provide it. Demonstrate your interest and give them more reasons to admit you. Inform the school of new achievements, initiatives, promotions, and developments in your life. This key implies developing a proactive campaign or schedule of contact roughly every 2-3 weeks. The exact particulars will vary depending on your school, specialty, and exactly when you are put on the wait list, but it can include letters, additional visit(s) to the school, an offer to interview, letters of support from others, and occasional phone calls.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:30 AM)
Letters should be 1-2 pages. For tips on the letters' content, please see my blog post.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:36 AM)
Key #3: Reinforcing the idea of a fit between you and the school. Show how a visit confirmed and deepened your interest in the program.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:42 AM)
Key #4: Enlist your fan club. Seek letters of support from supervisors on and off the job. Current students and recent alumni who know you can also write letters of support and emphasize your fit with the program.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 9:58:47 AM)
Key #5: Ask if there is anything you can do to improve your candidacy. (There usually isn't, but if there is you want to know about it) If there is, do it.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:00:04 AM)
The keys are taken from my book, The Nine Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist. The book goes into more depth.

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:00:49 AM)
Hi Linda, I am waitlisted at Michigan. I know a professor at Ross. Will it be wise of me to get a recommendation letter from him to emphasize fit with the Ross program?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:01:20 AM)
As long a the professor knows you and can comment on your fit with Ross, he would be a superb recommender or supporter.

mindahead (Jan 26, 2006 10:01:41 AM)
Hi. How useful is it to get a recommendation from a peer or a person mentored? They do provide better insight into my character.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:02:10 AM)
If your school accepts updates, then a recommendation adding value to your application or presenting an additional perspective on your qualifications is a great idea.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:02:47 AM)
BTW, Soarer, Accepted.com is hosting a WL chat just for Michigan on March 23.

waitlisted@cornell (Jan 26, 2006 10:03:01 AM)
Hi Linda, thanks for hosting this chat. I just found out yesterday I was waitlisted at Cornell. I am almost certain it is because I have only had 1.5 years of work experience. Do you think it would help if I told them I would defer a year to get more work experience?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:04:09 AM)
I would try a two-pronged approach, if you still prefer to attend this year: Emphasize the responsibilities and growth you have experienced in your 1.5 years of work experience. At the same time, you can indicate a willingness to defer if the adcom still has concerns about your experience. They probably will not go for that, but you can try.

mbaseeker (Jan 26, 2006 10:04:41 AM)
Linda, I was provided feedback saying that extracurricular and leadership potential are on at best to average - while I have had significant experiences in both, I think I did not elaborate enough about these areas in my application. Is it ok to elaborate further on the experiences I provided in my essays?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:05:28 AM)
Yes. Succinctly and powerfully show that you have significant leadership and extra-curric

ulars. You may also want, if your extracurricular was mostly in undergrad and you are not accepted at other schools, to start beefing up your extracurricular experience now in preparation for a possible reapplication effort next fall. Obviously if you are accepted elsewhere, and would attend the other schools, that is not an issue.

JLevi (Jan 26, 2006 10:06:39 AM)
For those who are waitlisted at a school that indicates in the decision letter that they do not want additional application materials, e.g., Wharton, what steps can applicants take to increase the likelihood of acceptance? Specifically, if the applicant has a hunch as to what part of his/her application is relatively weak, e.g., low GMAT?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:07:21 AM)
That is much harder to handle JLevi. I would recommend that you talk to friend who are recent alumni or current students at Wharton. Depending on your relationship with them you can either ask or wait to see if they will offer to put in a good word for you. Once they agree to do so, you can tell them of your GMAT concern and discuss the best way to address it. If it was your quant, they can discuss the quantitatively demanding work you have done or projects they have worked on with you. If it was something else, they can point out experience they have had which refute the negative.

Guest (Jan 26, 2006 10:08:58 AM)
Hello Linda, I was told by someone on the Wharton staff that if one is on the waitlist he/she should send a letter to the Dean indicating it is his/her first choice. Given their stated policy, is this a bad idea?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:09:01 AM)

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:09:17 AM)
BTW, Thomas Caleel will be our guest at a Wharton waitlist chat on Feb 2 at this time slot. It might be a fairly short chat, given Wharton's policy, but he'll be here.

ravi_h (Jan 26, 2006 10:12:41 AM)
I am applying from India, hence visiting the school will be difficult for me. Would it be a better idea to send an additional letter of recommendation or to take that special effort to go visit the school in the US?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:13:59 AM)
If you are overseas, it is probably not practical for you to visit the campus. Yes, you should send in the letter. You may also want to attend info sessions in India, which the schools may hold as they gear up for next year's application season. BTW, visiting schools doesn't imply that others shouldn't send in letters of support.

mindahead (Jan 26, 2006 10:14:34 AM)
Is there any waitlist chat by Accepted.com for other colleges? Also, I forgot to thank you for hosting this chat. This initiative is highly appreciated.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:14:58 AM)
We currently have scheduled with Michgian and Wharton. Others have expressed interest, but we don't have confirmed dates yet.

Andy (Jan 26, 2006 10:15:22 AM)
Hi Linda, I am on the waitlist at Carnegie Mellon. Do you have any specific recommendations for getting off the waitlist at Tepper?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:15:49 AM)
Tepper is one of those schools that has expressed interest so we should have specific info soon. In the past Tepper has encouraged its waitlisted applicants to keep in touch. Try to show how recent events have strengthened your interest in Tepper. Those recent experiences can include progress at work or contact with the Tepper like a visit or meetings with school reps, alumni, or current students. Focus on experiences that occurred and information that you acquired since you applied and therefore couldn't write about in your application. WARNING: Do not waste their time by sending in meaningless, verbose drivel or long-winded repetitions of your essays. Also, let them know of recent achievements and growth.

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:17:40 AM)
Linda, I came to know that waitlisted applicants at Ross are evaluated every round. So my next decision (accepted, continue in waitlist) will be taken when the Round 2 results are announced. Should I send in all my updates and additional recommendation letters before the second round deadline or should I spread my updates evenly till July 15th (deadline for the final decision on waitlisted applicants)?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:17:49 AM)
I don't recommend a deluge. Do send in an update or two before the next decision date. Again, with material information. Also have 2-3 fans send an additional letter of support, but don't just dump on them.

ravi_h (Jan 26, 2006 10:18:51 AM)
Linda, how important is it for an international applicant to visit the university?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:18:58 AM)
That's a tough call. If we knew it would get you admitted, it would probably be worth it, but there are not guarantees. So you have to weight the cost against possible benefits which are: A very concrete demonstration of interest, particularly important to schools like Darden and Tuck. Enhanced knowledge of the school so you can better demonstrate fit and why you want to attend. Remember that yield -- the percentage of accepted applicants who matriculate -- is a factor in admissions. Adcoms want to know or at least have reason to believe that they are admitting people who want to attend.

mbaseeker (Jan 26, 2006 10:22:30 AM)
My extracurricular are current and I want to make a good 2-page letter/essay. Do you provide any services to help me with it, such as looking at my application, providing feedback and then suggesting a strategy.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:22:46 AM)
Yes, please visit our waitlist services page.

Amit (Jan 26, 2006 10:22:52 AM)
Please tell me whether Kellogg encourages contact?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:23:05 AM)
Traditionally, Kellogg has been a school that encourages contact. I want to emphasize however, that the contact should be of a substantive nature. I spoke last year to a waitlist manager who was very frustrated. He was getting ten page emails from waitlisted candidates. He said, "I don't have time to read them much less respond to them!" The author of that email showed an incredible lack of judgment, maturity, and courtesy. He did not enhance his chances of acceptance. Remember this is a process where you are trying to impress someone positively. Don't do the opposite.

JLevi (Jan 26, 2006 10:24:56 AM)
That's good to know. Thanks.

Guest (Jan 26, 2006 10:25:11 AM)
Perhaps you've already touched on this but do you have any specific counsel for those applicants waitlisted at Darden? Darden does not appear to have a "waitlist coordinator" and all interaction with the admissions office are interfaced thru a representative based on your last name. However, my representative does not seem to have much real interaction with the actual adcom.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:25:35 AM)
Darden traditionally has been a school that encouraged contact and is especially responsive to visits.

smity (Jan 26, 2006 10:25:55 AM)
Linda - I was waitlisted at Darden but there was not specific reasons given other than the school hopes I remain on the waitlist for future rounds. When applicants receive a response with little or no feedback, how do they continue to demonstrate interest?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:26:15 AM)
Then you have to analyze your application and see what may have contributed to your waitlist status as opposed to an acceptance. Then gear your responses to addressing those concerns. For example, if your extracurricular's were weak when you applied, make sure you inform the school of the initiatives you have taken and the impact you have had in your favorite group since you applied.

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:27:23 AM)
Linda, I work at one of the big 3 Indian software companies (TCS, Infosys, Wipro). In case I do not get admitted off the waitlist this year, will taking up a job in India in a company like Accenture, IBM, Intel etc. increase my chances of getting admitted next year? I am asking this because I have heard that admission consultants give more weight for experience in US companies compared to Indian companies even if the job responsibilities are the same at both places.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:27:50 AM)
I disagree with that. The companies you name are well-known and highly respected. It is what you have done at the different firms than the name of the firm.

Guest (Jan 26, 2006 10:28:14 AM)
I've been waitlisted at Darden. Do you have any specific information for those applicants waitlisted at Darden? Unlike other schools, Darden does not appear to have a "waitlist coordinator" and applicants must interface with admission staff based on their last name. However, my staff representative seems simply clerical in nature and does not have much interaction with the actual adcom.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:28:49 AM)
I don't have info specific to Darden, but I would respond to your contact person and cc either the director of admission or an adcom member that you have had contact with.

bill (Jan 26, 2006 10:29:10 AM)
I received feedback on my application that my career goals were not compelling, didn't cite enough examples of leadership & wasn't clear how I would get involved on campus. Basically the interesting nature of my work experience carried me onto the waitlist --- its almost like they want a new set of essays. I'm involved a lot in extracurricular's – but it’s mostly on an informal basis. Most of my hobbies I choose to participate in, are in a non-formal structured way -- organizing weekend trips, evenings out with like minded people. What is a good way to bring these types of experiences out? Also, what is a good recommended length of waitlist reply letter?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:29:15 AM)
Good questions. The adcom doesn't want a new set of essays, but try to succinctly state your career goals and show how this school's program will help you achieve it. You should be able to do so in two paragraphs. In terms of your goal, think about function, industry, and locations. In terms of your extracurricular's if you have organized people, even if without a formal entity's umbrella, how many did you organize? What did you do? What was the impact? I think you also have to distinguish between getting together for an evening with a group of friends -- not noteworthy -- and organizing a weekend backpacking trip for a bunch who have never camped.

barnes (Jan 26, 2006 10:32:17 AM)
Hi Linda - I have been waitlisted at Kellogg, my top choice. I met with an admissions representative and he indicated that about 1/3 of waitlisted applicants will be granted acceptance. Is this typical of Kellogg from past years? Do they really utilize their waitlist to this degree?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:32:34 AM)
I don't have the stats, but they do :-) I have not reason to disbelieve them.

Guest (Jan 26, 2006 10:32:45 AM)
Is it possible to provide too much additional information? I don't want to be annoying. Also, how fast should we respond with the additional information once placed on the waitlist?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:32:53 AM)
Good question. Yes, it is possible to be annoying. You can annoy in two ways: 1) You are a pest - call or email daily for example. 2) You send in information that doesn't add value to your application. For example, a restatement of your essays or something, as I indicated above, that is very long and doesn't demonstrate any consideration of the time demands on the recipient of the email. In terms of how frequent to keep in touch, that depends on what's going on in your life and where you are at in the application process. If you are months away from a decision, then I would submit an immediate expression of interest followed every 2-3 weeks by some addition to your file and to the impression that you are A) very interested and B) an even better applicant than you were when they waitlisted you.

mba_08 (Jan 26, 2006 10:39:26 AM)
How long can you afford to wait before sending additional material?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:39:53 AM)
I would do it ASAP, as soon as you can draft something well-written and intelligent that will reflect well on you.

smity (Jan 26, 2006 10:40:05 AM)
I anticipate that I was waitlisted due to my GPA and GMAT score - although both were in the 80% range. For my GPA, I am currently enrolled in some extension classes but how do I counter a GMAT score?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:40:13 AM)
A GMAT above 80% is not a reason to be waitlisted.

waitlisted@cornell (Jan 26, 2006 10:40:27 AM)
Are waitlisted candidates good reapplicant candidates for the following year if things don't work out?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:40:31 AM)

mindahead (Jan 26, 2006 10:40:55 AM)
I have been told getting a current student/alumni to drop in note to the adcom gives a favorable response to waitlist candidates. In the event no current student alum or staff is close enough to do that, what would you advise to circumvent this situation?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:41:15 AM)
Then go to a supervisor, boss, or colleague and ask for an additional letter of support. You will need to coach that person as to what the school values.

Andy (Jan 26, 2006 10:41:40 AM)
Linda, what is the main reason that schools ask you what other schools you are applying to? Is it to try and gauge your real interest in their school?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:42:22 AM)
Andy, yes, and also to see who there competition is. Some may also use the info for yield control.

bo (Jan 26, 2006 10:42:37 AM)
I have been waitlisted at Chicago, with what seems like a large number of people. Does having a new dean of admissions have a factor on this? What percent of waitlisted applicants does Chicago typically take off the waitlist?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:44:03 AM)
Schools don't release those stats and frankly they are notoriously non-predictive from one year to the next. Chicago's change in adcom deans could lead to a change in waitlist policy. I contacted Rose and she said that Chicago will host its own waitlist chat, but did not provide a date. You can also use Chicago's forums for greater info.

mba_08 (Jan 26, 2006 10:44:23 AM)
Linda, I have been waitlisted at Chicago and would like to send additional material. I would rather wait and come up with a quality waitlist letter than hurry up. However how late is very late?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:45:00 AM)
Definitely, submit quality a few days later than something sloppy and hasty. However, it shouldn't take more than one week to draft a letter. These letters shouldn't be more than 2 pages. Maybe 10 days on the outside. That doesn't mean that if it is taking you longer, you shouldn't still submit. You should.

KelloggWL (Jan 26, 2006 10:45:52 AM)
Linda, I'm also a waitlisted applicant at Kellogg. They discourage others writing to adcom on behalf of applicant. Can I still have past Kellogg alumni or other fans write to the Kellogg adcom?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:46:18 AM)
That is a judgment call. Does the person you want to ask really know you? Will their insight add value? If yes, then go ahead with it.

mbaseeker (Jan 26, 2006 10:46:46 AM)
Linda, are reapplicants who were waitlisted last year have a better chance of admission this year - essentially, will it help reapplying or the adcom in general views it as a new application. Thanks a lot for your time and this great initiative on your part.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:47:15 AM)
Yes, waitlisted applicants who are not accepted do have a better chance as reapplicants the following year, especially if they apply R1.

nuku13 (Jan 26, 2006 10:48:15 AM)
What are UCLA's waitlist procedures? Thanks.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:48:31 AM)
UCLA is also a school that may be having its own waitlist chat.In the past it has strongly discouraged contact.

barnes (Jan 26, 2006 10:48:59 AM)
Would having a current student write a letter of recommendation help a waitlisted candidate at a SMULM school?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:50:02 AM)
SMULM means "show me you love me" and it is the title I somewhat flippantly gave schools that are open to contact in The Nine Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist. The answer to Barnes' question is yes, that would be appropriate, especially if the current student knows you well and can comment on your qualifications and fit with the school's culture.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:51:00 AM)
They make great supporters.

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:51:14 AM)
Linda, what should be the volume of each update I send to the adcom? Can I send in a cover letter along with two additional recommendation letters. Or should I limit myself to something less?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:51:31 AM)
The letters of support should come from the supporters, not from you.

mindahead (Jan 26, 2006 10:52:00 AM)
Is there any policy by which waitlist candidates can ask for deferred admits?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:52:21 AM)
I am unaware of any such policy. If you are interested in a deferral first realize that schools don't like to grant them and that they are handled individually.

Guest (Jan 26, 2006 10:52:51 AM)
Can you submit a letter to the dean indicating the school is your first choice when the school asks that no additional materials be submitted? Is this helpful?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:52:51 AM)
I would discourage it, unless the dean is a personal friend. :-)

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:53:16 AM)
Linda, so does that mean that the additional recommendation letters should be directly sent to adcom by my supporters?

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:53:19 AM)

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:54:33 AM)
Thank you again all for participating this evening. Please keep in mind that Accepted.com has several resources to help your waitlist effort:

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:01 AM)
Our blog, Accepted Admissions Almanac, has waitlist tips.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:03 AM)
Our ebook: The Nine Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:15 AM)
MBA Waitlist Advising and Editing services.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:22 AM)
Thank you very much for coming.

Soarer (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:34 AM)
Thanks a lot Linda.

mba_08 (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:39 AM)
Thanks Linda.

barnes (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:40 AM)

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:42 AM)
You're most welcome.

Linda Abraham (Jan 26, 2006 10:55:57 AM)
Good Luck!

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