Earlier this week Dee Leopold wrote a post on the HBS admissions blog describing how the admissions committee handles late letters of recommendation. Here is an excerpt:
If an application has two submitted recommendations, we send it out for review by the Admissions Board in the round in which the application arrived. If the third recommendation comes in, we make every attempt to add it to the file. Since the file can be in any number of places and we can’t stop the reading flow, we can’t promise that the recommendation will be added before review is complete.
Applications with only one submitted recommendation are held up for the next round.
We know that letters of recommendation can be the most frustrating part of the MBA application process, since you have less control over them than any other part of the application. Even with careful planning and preparation, you may find that your recommendation writers simply don’t (or can’t) make enough time to write personal, passionate letters that support your candidacy.
The best thing to do, of course, is to start the process early enough that your recommendation writers have plenty of lead time, and to build in some buffer time in case anything goes wrong. But, if you’re stressed because your recommendation writers are running late, just know that HBS and other schools will not use it as a reason to ding you immediately. They know that coordinating recommendation writers can be like herding cats. The best prepared applicants will have their ducks in a row (I’m running out of expressions that use animals), but the world will not end if one of your recommendation writers is running late. Timing is critical, but quality always trumps everything else.
Like everything else in the application processm, preparation is key. If you’re looking for more guidance, our MBA admissions consultants can help you properly prepare the people who will writer your letters of recommendation.