Applying for an MBA in Round 3?
Veritas Prep has you covered.
You may often hear that there’s absolutely no chance of being admitted to top-tier MBA programs in Round 3 of the admissions season. While it’s true that 90% of the spots may already be filled, Veritas Prep has a proven track record of helping candidates with successful Round 3 applications. Since we know many final round applicants have significant concerns about whether they should apply now or wait, we’ve developed our Round 3 Guarantee to take the risk out of your decision.
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The Veritas Prep Round 3 Guarantee
Purchase any Comprehensive School Package and receive our Round 3 Guarantee:
- Begin working now with your consultant on your applications for an MBA program’s final round (usually Round 3), and if you aren’t 100% confident that your applications are ready to be submitted, we will continue working with you on Round 1 applications for no additional charge.
- Concerned about slim chances of being admitted in Round 3? If you submit your Round 3 applications and are not ultimately successful, we will provide a free rejection analysis of your Round 3 applications to identify areas for improvement, plus a free review of your Round 1 re-applications to ensure you are showing the admissions committee an improved profile.
- If you are not successful in your Round 3 applications and wish to improve your GMAT score in re-applications, then we will offer a free GMAT On Demand course to help improve your scores.
Check out our Comprehensive School Packages for prices and details.
Who should consider applying in Round 3?
You often see online blogs or forums that state that it’s “impossible” to be admitted in Round 3, so you shouldn’t even consider applying. Admissions officers at Harvard (HBS), Stanford GSB, Wharton and across the top-tier MBA programs have openly stated that they would simply eliminate Round 3 if they did not consistently admit candidates from the final round. Harvard Business School’s Director of Admissions, Dee Leopold, offers this: “We always conclude that we like Round 3 enough to keep it as an option. Although we have admitted about 90% of the class by this time, we always – ALWAYS – see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again.”
But with so few spots available, don’t you have to be an “extraordinary” candidate to be admitted? Admissions committees will certainly use Round 3 to “fill in the gaps” in their class – but you have no idea what gaps they may need to fill! Perhaps your work experience will catch their eye, or maybe it’s something your recommender said about you, or perhaps they wouldn’t mind having more people from your geographical region. Don’t get us wrong – you’ll need a stellar application to be admitted in Round 3, but that’s no different than if you applied in the other rounds!
With so few spots available in Round 3, am I better off waiting until Round 1?
Waiting until Round 1 for next year is certainly an option you’ll want to discuss with your consultant. However, if you have a strong profile and have the time to put together a well-crafted application in Round 3, submitting a compelling application now will not put you at a disadvantage. In fact, even if you aren’t admitted in Round 3, re-applicants at most programs are admitted at higher rates than first-time applicants! We frequently see Round 3 applicants leave a strong first impression with the admissions committee in Round 3, but there simply isn’t a spot available for them. You want an admissions officer to say, “I wish they had applied in an earlier round – we’d definitely accept this person!” Then, when they see that you made the effort of submitting a re-application in Round 1, they recognize an even stronger signal that you’re serious about attending.
Who should not apply in Round 3?
Most U.S. MBA programs discourage international applicants from applying in the final round due to visa, housing and interview logistics. Because these programs are trying to fill all spots in the class, they do not want to admit candidates who may be unable to attend in the fall due to delays with their U.S. visa. However, if you are an international applicant who already has U.S. permanent residency, a citizen of Canada or Bermuda and do not require a student visa, or have another circumstance that will guarantee speedy visa processing you should note these circumstances in the optional essay of their Round 3 application. For more information about applying for U.S. student visas, visit the Department of State’s Student Visa page.
We often see applicants come to Veritas Prep expecting to apply to top schools in Round 3, but they have not conducted thorough research on their target schools or hope to slap together a rushed application just before the deadline. You never want to submit an application that will not showcase your absolute best work, and you certainly do not want to leave a poor first impression in Round 3. Even if you’re ultimately denied, your goal should be to leave the admissions officer thinking, “If only this candidate had applied in another round – we would have loved to have admitted them!” This sets you up perfectly for a Round 1 re-application. But submitting an application that’s sloppy, not well thought through, has a poor GMAT score or simply isn’t your best work is not going to do you any favors in Round 3!
Do you have advice for specific circumstances?
Part-Time, EMBA, International and lower-ranked MBA programs
If you’re applying to pretty much any program that is NOT a full-time, U.S.-based, top-tier program, Round 3 is completely fair game. Most part-time and EMBA programs admit qualified applicants equally across rounds. In fact, many programs have “rolling” admissions, meaning that they may continue to admit applicants until just a few days or weeks before school starts. Full-time programs outside the top 15 or so also tend to admit higher percentages of their classes from Round 3. MBA programs outside the United States such as in Europe or Asia also tend to admit candidates fairly equally across rounds. Many of these programs do not use a standard three-round process, and may have many more rounds of admission. We recommend that you simply apply in the earliest round for which you can submit your best application.
HBS 2+2 and other “deferred enrollment” programs
Some schools have special admissions policies or programs for current college seniors who wish to apply now and wait for 2 or more years to gain some post-undergraduate work experience before they attend. For example, Harvard Business School has a specific program called HBS 2+2 and Stanford Graduate School of Business has a policy called deferred enrollment. Candidates for these programs may apply in any round with no disadvantages. Because you’re applying for an MBA class that doesn’t start for at least 2 years, there is no limitation to the number of available spots. You will be compared only to other 2+2 or deferred enrollment candidates – not the Round 3 applicants of the current class.
Some applicants have extenuating circumstances that prevented them from applying in an earlier round. Admissions Officers will certainly keep this in mind while reviewing your Round 3 application, so feel free to include legitimate circumstances in your optional essay. This might include an overseas military deployment, atypical professional obligations such as working on a political campaign, or other circumstances where it is easy for the admissions officer to see that submitting an earlier application would have been nearly impossible. Do not feel an obligation to list an excuse for applying in Round 3, but if you have extenuating circumstances you may include them. Our Veritas Prep consultants can help you determine whether to mention a possible extenuating circumstance in your application or leave it off.
For candidates with GMAT scores that are significantly below your target school’s average, you may want to postpone your application, supplement your GMAT prep, retake the exam, and apply in a later round. While a strong GMAT score will never get you into a top school on its own, a low GMAT score could certainly keep you out. In fact, the GMAT score is often cited as the top reason admissions officers deny a candidate to their program. At Veritas Prep, we’ve found great success in encouraging applicants to postpone their applications until they achieve a more competitive score, even if it means applying in the third round. Your admissions consultant will bring their MBA admissions experience to help you determine the best course of action in your individual circumstances.