Friday, April 14, 2006

So, you're Waitlisted. What Next?

I really need to do something about blogging. It's not like I am swamped with work or anything, aside from preparing for 5 classes this quarter, but I guess I'm spending a lot of my off-time just lazing around doing nothing. Maybe I should move the lazing around doing nothing to my group projects, so that I can blog during my off-time?

Anyways, Belated Congratulations to all the admitted students. Ran into Vatsa today after the student info session that I did as part of my DSAC responsibilities (wow, 'my' and 'responsibilities' in the same line!)

I have received a few emails from those waitlisted asking for tips/advice. I know I haven't been the most responsive, my apologies. I did ask one of my classmates, who was on the waitlist during our admission cycle, to answer one of these questions, and I think her response merits a wider audience. Reproduced below, with her permission. I hope some of you find this useful.
The applicant should do 2 things.

1) Write a letter to the admissions committee re-affirming their desire to attend the school (I expressed that the GSB was my number 1 choice) and outlining exactly why this is true. Also, most applicants know what aspect of their application is weakest and can be a cause of concern. So, the applicant should address this in the letter head on, and express how they intend to address this weakness at the GSB. For example, my weakness was extra curricular activities. I was working full time and going to school part time, which left little time for other stuff. I recognized my weakness and explained the reason for it in my letter. In addition, I said that I intend to be very involved at the GSB through various groups. Another example: if the applicant has a weak GPA b/c they were having a good time in college, they should say it! And say that they have changed since their college years. Since then, the applicant has re-focused their efforts b/c of experiences at work or b/c of their motivation in b-school or something that illustrates how they will be different. They should also write about how they intend address the classes at the GSB. Maybe they intend on taking refresher courses in the summer before class. The point is that if the applicant recognizes an aspect of their application is weak, chances are the admission committee also recognizes this. They should address the concerns they may have regarding the applicant. In the end, the committee wants to acceptpeople that will perform well at the GSB, academically, socially, etc

2) The applicant should make something/do something EXTRA ordinary. When Iwas in the similar position, the person that gave me advice told me thatpreviously, someone wrote a song about why they wanted to come to the GSB.Another person made a ginger bread house of the HPC. As you may know, Iused to do cancer research before coming to b-school. Well, we worked withand grew cells (yes animal cells) that we could dye to glow fluorescent red(GSB color) under the microscope. So, I managed to grow cells that spelledout CHICAGO GSB under the microscope, took pictures of it, and created abanner that I sent in. In addition, I created a 10 slide PowerPointpresentation explaining what I did, why I was doing it, and what I wastrying to say about me through this project. The point is to indicate thatyou are willing to go above and beyond in order to show your desire to cometo the GSB. The other point is to showcase something about yourself thatyou may not have shown the admissions committee in your application, to makeyourself unique in the committee's eyes. My project focused the photographythat I did for work and for fun, thus my inclusion of the photos of the cells and also some photos that I took myself for fun.

Being waitlisted means that either the committee isn't sure/has doubts aboutthe applicant or others are just more qualified than the applicant. By putting an applicant on the waitlist, the committee is basically putting the ball back in the applicant's court. The applicant can either do nothing, which shows that the applicant doesn't care enough about the GSB to do something about being waitlisted. Conversely, the applicant can do something that eases those doubts/expresses the motivation/tells more aboutthe applicant as an individual/makes the committee interested in theapplicant, all of which are GOOD things. In the end, the committee would rather give the spot to someone who, first and foremost, REALLY wants to be at the GSB because that applicant will be motivated/involved/gives back tothe community/all the qualities that a committee looks for.