What to Do If Your College Applications Are Deferred

ReflectingIf you applied to college under any Early Application deadlines this year, you’re probably anxiously checking your email to learn the result. Early Application decisions will be released by schools shortly, and there are a few things that could happen…

Best Case Scenario: You’re accepted!

If you applied under an Early Decision deadline, it means you are bound to attend, so it’s time to buy the school t-shirt and start planning your next steps! If you applied under an Early Action or Restrictive Early Action deadline, it means you can keep this acceptance in your back pocket and choose to explore other options if you’d like. Either way… congratulations!

Worst Case Scenario: You’re denied.

This stinks, and it will probably be really disappointing news. Take time to process your feelings and accept your fate, and then focus all of your energy on finishing compelling applications to the rest of the schools on your list.

Scenario 3: You’re deferred.

If you’re deferred, it means that the admissions committee thinks you are a competitive applicant, but they want to see how competitive you are against the applicants who apply under Regular Decision. They are deferring your application to the Regular Decision round, and now you will get their final admissions decision in March.

There are a few things you can do in the next few weeks to boost your candidacy. First and foremost, do not inundate your admissions representative with emails and questions. Take the time to craft your strategy and send them just one communication.

When you reach out, you should highlight any and all of the accomplishments and updates in your candidacy from when you submitted your application until now. Did you win an award? Did you earn straight As in your classes? Were you chosen as the Captain of a sports team? All of this information should be shared with them, as they can take it into consideration when reviewing your application against the Regular Decision applicant pool.

In the end, it’s not the end of the road if you are deferred. It’s important to make sure you submit other competitive applications in the meantime, but there is still a glimmer of hope that you’ll get an admit decision soon!

3 Common Mistakes MBA Applicants Make Choosing Essay Topics

Law School Applicant SurveyOne of the most undervalued steps in the business school essay-writing process is to make sure the essay ties in with all of the other components of the MBA application – the resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GMAT scores. In the process and stress of making the major life decision of attending business school, many applicants often anchor their essays by one of the common factors below, and thus, lose out on presenting a stronger overall profile.

Let’s examine these mistakes one by one:

Professional Domain
A candidate’s pre-MBA industry, company, and job function are all important, so it is understandable that these may be top of mind when brainstorming for examples and highlights to include in your essay. When it comes to the MBA application essay, however, it is always best to consider mixing in different elements of your life experiences – ones that would help complement your resume and not just elaborate on what the reader will already glean from it.

Extracurricular activities, especially those that are not related to your profession, help show a multidimensional personality, so it would be wise to discuss the ones you are involved with in your essays. For instance, an accomplished banker with excellent academics may be better off sharing leadership experiences with his mountain hiking group rather than detailing how he was able to do well in the CFA exams. In this case, valuable space in the essays can be better used to show additional dimensions of the applicant’s profile.

Most Performed Activity
Another common error, especially when creating your resume and even preparing for your interview, is to focus on the activities you perform most frequently. As critical as operational and maintenance tasks are, it would be better to play up more attention-grabbing tasks. For example, it would be better to showcase how you led the financial review for your company’s new distribution model or new product lines than to describe the regular payroll disbursements you assist with.

In short, when asked to describe what you do, it is not always best to prioritize your activities by the number of hours you spend on them. Instead, choose the ones that would be the most exciting to discuss, and the ones that will highlight more of your strengths.

Technical Accomplishments
Applicants from technical fields typically want to share their most technically challenging work. Sharing complexity does demonstrate deep expertise, and that your company trusts you to take on tremendous responsibilities, however you must also consider if there are better examples that would better showcase your experiences with collaboration and leadership.

Remember, the MBA is geared towards developing your ability to work with people, whether it is through motivating teams of people, mentoring individuals, or managing challenging relationships. Thus, details on your technical accomplishments should be shared in a way that is understandable to non-industry readers. Details on these more technical achievements should be descriptive enough to show impact and expertise, but concise enough that you still have room to display the key transferable skills you learned from this accomplishment, such as leadership and teamwork.

Following the tips above should help you decide how to use the limited space in your MBA application and present a complete picture of your unique personality.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or request a free MBA Admissions Consultation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part II)

Last week we wrote about three things you should look for in your recommendation writers to ensure that your letters of recommendation include “Pound the Table!” levels of enthusiasm. Your business school recommendation writers need to know you well, they need to care about you, and they need to believe in you. These criteria may seem a bit obvious, but it’s hard for someone to shout, “This is someone you need to admit to your MBA program!” unless these are all true.

For sure, a necessary ingredient is a recommendation writer who’s very willing to write a glowing letter for you. But, even if someone has the best of intentions, how can you be sure he will write a great letter for you? How can you equip them with what they need to help you as much as possible? Today we’ll look at three things you can (no… should!) do to help your recommenders help you as much as possible:
Continue reading “Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part II)”

Happy Thanksgiving from Veritas Prep!

TurkeyThanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year, give thanks for all the good that is in your life… and be completely stressed out. Between gathering ingredients to roast the perfect turkey, formulating your plan of attack for Black Friday shopping, arranging your holiday decorations (Didn’t we just finish Halloween?), and mentally preparing yourself to interact with family members you may or may not be excited to see, add to that the stress of preparing for your educational future.

Whether you are studying to take the GMAT, GRE, SAT or ACT, or are tweaking your dream school application for the tenth time, the holidays are most certainly not the most relaxing time of the year.

At Veritas Prep, we’d like to make your holidays just a little less stressful by offering you our biggest discounts of the year for Black Friday: now through November 26, you can save up to $1,000 on test prep and MBA admissions consulting services, and up to $1,500 on college admissions counseling from Veritas Prep! This sale won’t last forever, so check out our discounts below and take advantage of the savings before it’s too late!

College Black Friday Sale >

MBA Black Friday Sale >

From everyone at Veritas Prep, we’d like to take this opportunity to express how thankful we are for our amazing students, instructors, admissions consultants, and staff that we are fortunate to be able to work with every day. We hope that wherever you are in the world, that you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part I)

Last week we wrote about how great letters of recommendation contain “Pound the Table!” levels of enthusiasm. It’s nice for your recommenders to write, “He’s a strong employee who will do well in the future,” but that doesn’t grab an MBA admissions officer by the collar and shout, “This person has ‘it,’ and you would be a fool not to admit him!” And that difference easily makes the difference between an admit and a rejection, or an admit and eternal waitlist purgatory.

“That’s all well and good,” you’re saying, “but how do I actually get my recommenders to convey this kind of enthusiasm in what they write?” There are a couple of things to ask yourself, and a couple of key steps to take to make sure that your recommenders understand the game, and do their utmost to help you get admitted. Today we’ll look at who in your life will be most likely to produce the kind of enthusiastic letters you need to get into a top-ten MBA program.
Continue reading “Admissions 101: Getting Enthusiastic Letters of Recommendation (Part I)”

Admissions 101: Do Your Letters of Recommendation Have This?

When working with admissions consulting clients, we coach them on how to select the best people to write their letters of recommendation. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, hopefully by now you know that they need to know you well, more than just as a friend, and must be able to provide specific stories that support the main themes that you want to highlight in your application. That’s “Page One” as we say around Veritas Prep headquarters — those are all of the basic requirements that you need to cover with your recommendation writers, no matter what. If someone doesn’t even meet those criteria, then he or she definitely should not be on your short list of potential recommenders.

But there’s one other rule that you should apply to all of your recommenders, no matter where you know them from or what your relationship is with each of them. This is one thing that MBA admissions officers rarely mention, but not because they want to trick you or hide their intentions. Rather, it’s so blindingly obvious that they normally don’t even bother mentioning it.
Continue reading “Admissions 101: Do Your Letters of Recommendation Have This?”

5 Tips for Veterans Applying to Business School

US Military Academy_West PointSo, you are looking to go back to school to earn your MBA and either plan for or facilitate your transition into a civilian role.   Here are a few tips on how to leverage your military experience into a successful business school application.

1)      Leadership, leadership, leadership

Whether you have been in an active combat situation or manage a satellite program, you have led many teams in your military career, and possibly at a military academy or at boot camp as well.  Make sure to highlight leadership examples in your application.  Especially for younger candidates, leadership and people management are key, as what you have likely exceeds a comparable civilian candidate.

2)      Budget Management

As a team or program leader, you probably have managed significant budgets.  Add these dollar amounts into your resume to highlight your fiscal responsibility.  Chances are, even if they aren’t big for the military, they are probably much bigger than someone your age has had in a civilian role.

3)      Critical Thinking Skills / Adaptability

The work you did, whether in combat or behind the scenes, had significant implications.  You have to quickly assess the situation and think on your feet.  You had to adjust your knowledge and training for the circumstances that you are in.  These are key skills that business schools look for, and many often teach a class for it!

4)      Handling Classified Information

You most likely had secret clearance and handled confidential information that had major implications on security.   You are a greatly trusted employee.  On the flip side, you probably aren’t able to discuss some of the work that you did in your essays or in an interview, nor will your supervisors be able to provide detailed examples in your recommendations.   Provide what information that you can, and focus on the demonstration of key skills versus the context.

5)      Academics

Many graduates of the Military Academies have lower GPAs than the range posted by Admissions committees as the target spread.   Admissions Committees are aware that grading and use of curves is different at the Military Academies, and the cadets must balance academics with extensive physical training and requirements as well.  Focus on your GMAT, and take an extension class or two if you want to provide additional proof that you have the academic background to complete your MBA.

We salute you for your service to our country!  And we are here to help you with your pursuit of higher education.  We have a great team of Admissions Consultants ready to work with you towards your goal.   Contact us for more information!

If you are interested in receiving more information on our Admissions Consulting services, please call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and YouTube, and follow us on Twitter!

Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA, received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA. 

All About College Admissions Interviews (and How to Ace Yours!)

InterviewIf you are applying to any schools that offer admissions interviews, it’s likely the interview invitation will come shortly after you submit your application. With application deadlines occurring right now and in the coming weeks, it wouldn’t hurt to start preparing for this important part of the application process.

Admissions Offices typically employ their large alumni base to conduct admissions interviews. These people are located around the world and can interview applicants based on geographic location. Alumni interviewers are given a “guide” on what to evaluate, not necessarily specific questions to ask. This means that not all interviews will be the same, and each alumni interviewer will use their own questions and tactics to evaluate the same criteria:

  1. Personal attributes
  2. Involvement & impact
  3. Academic preparedness
  4. Overall fit for the institution

For a successful admissions interview, I recommend practicing your responses to questions about:

  • Your personal academic interests
  • Your personal extracurricular interests
  • Your interest in school-specific programs/opportunities

Additionally, it’s important to know that most alumni interviewers will not review your application before the interview. If they don’t see if before the interview, they’ll never see it. Remember, the best interviews end up being more of a conversation and less of a question/answer session!

In preparation for your interviews, I would recommend coming up with 3–5 questions to ask your interviewer about their school experience. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the institution as well, and having prepared questions is often regarded positively. Don’t forget to remain professional in all of your email correspondence with your interviewer as well. Their evaluation of you begins at the first communication.

If you’re interested in coaching for your college admissions interviews, feel free to check out our admissions consulting services! We’d be happy to help you ace your college interview!

How to Prepare for Your Business School Interview

For many applicants the notification of an interview invite from your dream school is an exciting next step after an arduous application process. All of your hard work has finally paid off with some initial success. However, typically the excitement soon turns to anxiety as candidates begin to realize they have no idea how to prepare for an admissions interview for business school. “Is it just like a regular job interview?” “What type of questions do they ask?” are just some of the common initial questions that can arise once an interview invitation is received.

The business school interview should not be viewed as anything new to you. It is more similar to the traditional job interview than you might expect. Just like a regular interview you are aiming to impress and the majority of the interview will be focused on YOU! The key difference with this interview is really just the goal, which in this case is admission to the MBA program of your dreams.

We at Veritas Prep recommend preparing for your MBA interview the same way you prepare for any job interview, it starts with knowing your own personal background inside and out along with your motivations for that target business school. Then it’s on to researching your target school and identifying the aspects that make the school uniquely attractive to you. A nice way to do this is to pair up school-specific offerings of interest with an adjoining explanation for why that offering is uniquely attractive to you. This includes academic offerings, extracurricular activities/professional clubs, career support/recruiting strengths, etc.

Next you should identify common MBA questions like…

  • What Are Your Career Goals?
  • Why an MBA?
  • Why School X?
  • Walk Me Through Your Resume

As well as other common situational business school questions that address interpersonal skills like leadership, teamwork, and maturity. For the most part, these interviews have very few surprises, and you will know what’s coming, which makes the prep all the more important. Preparing conversational responses in a script format to each of the common interview questions can be a method for those that prefer a more structured approach to their interview prep. But make sure to incorporate elements of your personality into your script to avoid coming off as too rehearsed.

Also, breakthrough candidates will make sure to incorporate the “I” of what they accomplished into their script. Make sure to connect the dots with regards to the steps you’ve taken in your career, and remain structured in your responses. Utilizing the S.T.A.R format (Situation-Task-Action-Result) and talking in buckets – “There are 3 Reasons Why I Want to Go to Fuqua” are other tactics you can incorporate into your preparation for the interview.

Finally, take particular note of how the interview style of certain schools can affect your responses. Some schools like Kellogg have “blind” interviews so the interviewer will not have seen your application, so they will not have access to important information like GPA, GMAT, essays etc. Other styles can be influenced by the type of interviewer (Alum vs. Student vs. Admissions) or the location (On Campus vs. Off Campus) which can dictate the type of information you are prepared to share as well as list on your resume for the interview.

Don’t let the interview be the end of your business school journey. Prepare accordingly and come decision day you will be all smiles!

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free admissions consultation. Let’s get started!

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants.

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Business School Campus Visit

YaleVisiting campus is one of the best ways you can learn about your target MBA programs and not only determine if a program is right for you, but also acquire some school-specific fodder for your applications.

This information can transform components of your application – such as the essay, interview, and short answers – into real, customized pieces of content for the admissions decision makers. Before you pack your bags to visit some of the world’s best academic communities, however, read the below tips to make sure you are making the most of your campus visit.

1) Meet with Admissions

One of the best parts of visiting campus is the ability to connect with the MBA admissions officers who will eventually review your application. Creating a positive impression with admissions can really pay dividends. Forging a human connection is something that the majority of applicants will not do, so take advantage of the opportunity! Formal opportunities like the various information sessions hosted on campus are no-brainers during a campus visit, but make sure you don’t miss potential chances to also connect with representatives from admissions one-on-one, if possible.

2) Visit a Class

Sitting in on an MBA class really helps contextualize the entire business school experience while helping you determine if, academically, a program is right for you. Also, formal class visit programs are often tracked by admissions along with the information sessions, which can signal strong interest to the admissions office.

3) Connect with Students

Many programs will have formal programs that allow you to connect with students that share a similar profile as you, such as geographic, academic, interest or other demographic similarities. Informal chats with students can also be just as important, so spending some time on campus in public spaces can facilitate these type of interactions. Most current students will be more than happy to discuss their own personal experiences both on-campus and in the application process, so don’t be afraid to leverage these great sources of information.

4) Explore the Student Community

Classes and connections aside, choosing the right business school is an important decision. MBA students spend a lot of time both on-campus and in the immediate area around campus, so taking the time to explore the greater community is a critical aspect of any visit. Determining if big cities such as New York and Los Angeles are a fit for you, or if smaller towns like Hanover or Evanston are more your style, is an integral part of the decision making process.

Utilize these four tips to make the most of your business school campus visits.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert, or sign up for a free consultation and receive personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. 

Applying to Business School as an Entrepreneur

MBA AdmissionsFor the vast majority of business school applicants, pursuing an MBA is primarily about the opportunity to secure employment at their dream corporations. If you are one of the the ambitious few who are interested in entrepreneurship, your MBA dreams may align with incubating your own venture and forgoing the sanctity and security of the more traditional post-MBA career paths.

Applying to business school as an entrepreneur sets up a very specific set of considerations applicants should be aware of, however. Let’s discuss a few things that should be considered before applying to MBA programs as an entrepreneur:

Chances of Success:
How confident are you in the viability of your concept/business? Applying to business school as an entrepreneur is very risky from an application perspective. The Admissions Committee will surely scrutinize your plan and its potential for success, so it is important you have run a similar “stress test” on your concept or business.

Generally, business schools want to make sure their students are employed after graduation – an MBA who is not placed at a job at graduation (or 3 months after) can not only bring down the statistics of the school’s post-graduation employment report, but it can also cause that graduate to be an unhappy alumnus, which can lead to a negative perception of their MBA experience. As such, it will be best to make sure your entrepreneurial ambitions are clearly achievable, to both yourself and to the Admissions Committee.

Back-up Plan:
A high percentage of startup businesses fail. Do you have a contingency plan if your concept fails or if you just decide entrepreneurship is not for you? Schools will be looking to know that you have thought through all of the permutations and combinations of your decision. This can commonly manifest itself as an application question, essay prompt or an interview question, so have an answer ready that is well-thought-out and aligns with your past experiences.

Program Support:
Are you targeting MBA programs that have a track record of supporting entrepreneurship? The more your school is receptive to the challenges of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, the more well-received your application will be. Don’t think this makes your chances of admission much higher, as these schools are also looking to weed out those less committed to their goals. Also, some programs support entrepreneurs as alumni through funding and loan forgiveness, which could be advantageous during those lean early years of launching your business, and will be handy to keep in mind as you compile your list of target schools.

Timeline:
Does your timeline for diving into entrepreneurship make sense? Often, applicants will identify entrepreneurship as their short-term post-MBA goal. However, if the road map to starting your business appears a bit murky, shifting this short-term goal to the long-term may help make a better case for your profile. The Admissions Committee tends to be a bit more forgiving with long-term goals, given that so many things can happen before reaching them, but with short-term goals, the expectation is these should be highly achievable.

Applying to business school as an entrepreneur can be challenging, but can also represent a tremendous opportunity to pursue your dreams. Consider the above factors before you start your own application process.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or request a free MBA Admissions Consultation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

MBA Admissions Interviews – What to Expect

At this time of year we tend to get a lot of questions about the MBA admissions interview process. If you have been invited to interview with one of your target business schools (congratulations!), then here are the main types of questions you can expect to hear:

  • High-level questions about you

Just like in a typical job interview, your interviewer will often start things off with “Walk me through your resume” or “Tell me about yourself.” This is your chance to take control of the admissions interview and explicitly state the two or three core messages that you want to get across. Practice is critical here — you will want to develop and rehearse a two-three minute “elevator pitch” that describes your background, highlights your strengths, and provides a story beyond the plain facts stated on your resume.

  • Questions about why you want to go to business school and your career goals

A good elevator pitch will likely cover these questions some, but expect the interviewer to probe more deeply here. These questions also give you the chance to answer why you want to specifically go to the school in question, and the research that you do on the school will pay off here. You don’t want to go overboard, but citing a few specifics about the program will show the interviewer that you’ve done your research and are sincerely interested in the school.

  • Questions about specific experiences in your background

Some schools will spend a majority of the interview in this area in order to better understand your background. These are the questions that famously start with, “Tell me about a time when…” Your job here is to call on specific examples from your past, not to talk in hypothetical generalities. Use the “SAR” method: Situation (what the challenge or opportunity was), Action (what YOU specifically did), and Result (what you achieved through your action).

Good luck in your interview! If you want more hands-on help, take a look at Veritas Prep’s MBA interview preparation services. We offer a standalone service and it’s part of our all-inclusive MBA admissions consulting packages. Give us a call at 800-925-7737 to see how we can help you nail your admissions interviews. And, as always, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay on top of the latest news and trends in MBA admissions!

3 Things to Avoid When Applying to Business School as a Consultant

MBA AdmissionsOne of the biggest industry feeders to top MBA programs, year in and year out, is consulting. Consultants often come to business schools with an impressive list of client experiences, analytical skills, and business presence.

Now, given the surplus of candidates applying from this applicant pool, application season can be very competitive. This competitiveness makes it even more important for consultants to avoid the following issues when applying to MBA programs:

1) They Have No Clear Need for an MBA
A career in consulting presents many opportunities to develop a myriad of skills. Consultants are regularly poached to work with some of the top companies in the world, as well. The challenge sometimes for consultants applying to business school then is properly communicating why they actually need an MBA.

This may come across as a little odd, given that one would assume if you are applying to business school you should have this detail mapped out, but sometimes a candidate’s rationale can seem muddled in their application. In a weird way, business schools want to feel like they are needed by the applicant, and if there is not a clear opportunity to add value to a person’s life post-MBA, that can be problematic for a candidate applying from such a competitive applicant pool.

2) Using Too Much “We” and Not Enough “I”
One of the great advantages of working in consulting is the teamwork-oriented work culture the industry is known for. As MBA programs move increasingly towards a more collaborative approach to learning, the ability to work with others becomes more and more valued. However, given their predominantly team-based work, many consultants struggle to communicate their individual contributions to the greater good of a company. As such, resumes and essays often read as too much “we” and not enough “I,” thus making it difficult for the Admissions Committee to discern the true impact the individual applicant has had during their career.

3) Minimizing Accomplishments
Consultants can drive huge impact for clients and their firms on almost every project they work on. This exposure to top companies and major projects on a consistent basis can sometimes make it difficult for consultants to properly contextualize the impact of their work. Avoid minimizing your accomplishments by focusing on your own individual contributions, not just through quantitative numbers but also through qualitative experiences. Focus on highlighting your most impactful moments while contributing a holistic view of your work to best inform the Admissions Committee of your accomplishments.

Follow the tips above to avoid wasting all of the great experience you have developed as a consultant when applying to business school.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your MBA Personally

Access MBATop international business schools meet executive talent through One-to-One meetings during Access MBA Tour this Fall.

Over the past years the Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become a highly valued degree not only in business-related fields, but in areas as diverse as sports management and aviation. And rightfully so – it can be an asset for professionals who wish to give their managerial career a boost as well as for those who are looking to switch to a different field.

Even with increased opportunities for studying in all corners of the world, competition is not to be disregarded. Top MBA programs are looking for ambitious and well-prepared candidates to build a diverse student body and strong alumni network. Applicants need to be ready to invest time and effort into the application process from start to finish.

Here is why a personal touch can go a long way.

1) The MBA is a Personal Commitment

Deciding to pursue an MBA is a matter for career, lifestyle, and future development. The personality and approach of a school are important factors for MBA candidates to consider. How different MBA programs match one’s expectations is easily discernible by speaking with their representatives in person.

2) Business Meetings with Business Schools

Truly determined MBA applicants take the opportunity to talk business with MBA representatives one-on-one – they find out which business schools will enable them to reach their personal and professional goals. MBA meetings also allow applicants to receive feedback on how competitive it is to get admitted to the school.

3) 20 Constructive Minutes

Access MBA’s One-to-One events enable professionals to meet the representatives of schools that were carefully selected to correspond to their professional background and expectations. Thus, the school and the MBA candidate are already familiar with one another, and each 20-minute meeting is spent discussing the topics that matter the most.

4) Gain an Admissions Advantage

One-to-One MBA event participants get a sneak preview of their chances for admission by asking the right questions and putting forward their best presentation skills. Among the top-ranked, and thus most competitive business schools participating in the Access MBA Tour are IESE, MIT-Sloan, SDA Bocconi, ESCP, ESADE, Duke University, Manchester Business School, McGill University, Cass Business School, Hult, IMD, HHL, and many more.

5) Real-Time Professional Guidance

Getting an MBA degree is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and MBA applicants appreciate expert advice. Before, after, and in-between the business school meetings, event visitors can receive free MBA consulting on any aspect of MBA selection, GMAT preparation, funding options, and  MBA application strategies to help guarantee a successful business education investment. 

Why Consider an MBA?

  • Studying for an MBA can help you not only learn valuable business skills, but also network with knowledgeable and successful professionals in the industry.
  • A greater percentage of companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the United States plan to hire MBA graduates in 2017 compared to those who did so in 2016. US-based companies plan to offer recent MBA graduates a starting median base salary of USD 110,000 in 2017, up from USD 105,000 in 2016. (GMAC, Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 2017)
  • Despite political uncertainty about the status of immigration and work visa programs, companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the US are staying the course with plans to hire international graduate business candidates. (GMAC, Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 2017)

Meet top business schools’ admissions directors in your city this Fall!

Online registration is free of charge on https://www.accessmba.com/. By registering at least 10 days before the selected MBA event, event participants will receive a profile evaluation and a personalized consultation to identify the most suitable business schools at the event.


This article was written by Access MBA, a Veritas Prep partner. 

Where Should You Go to Business School?

study aboard girlShould location factor into your decision on where should you go to business school? Absolutely yes! Location can play a pretty big part in your overall experience in business school and the perception of the value of your MBA afterwards.

Professional Considerations

When it comes to selecting a business school the school’s location can influence where you will end up post-MBA. This may be one of the more obvious factors, but it’s also one of the main considerations applicants overlook. The majority of schools have the highest career placement within their home state. So applicants should take care in identifying schools in areas where they would prefer to live. This will make life much easier when it comes to making decisions for internships and full-time job offers.

Location also factors strongly when it comes to campus recruiting. Many school reputations are based as much on school specific competencies as recruiting proximities. Regional specialties exist in every part of the country for MBA programs. For example Stanford’s connection to the Silicon Valley tech scene or Kellogg’s connection to the consumer packaged goods industry of the Midwest should be factors you consider when thinking about which schools to apply to.

Personal Considerations

Another important factor is how the location fits with your personal desires and needs. There is such diversity in business school locations that can range from small college towns like Darden’s Charlottesville location to Booth’s location in the metropolis of Chicago. For some, the small town vs. big city debate is not a big factor but instead cold vs. warm weather locales present a much bigger decision.

Not only is it important to figure out where you stand on these factors but also how they all rank out relatively. You may really want the sunny weather of a school like UCLA Anderson but can’t pass up the prestige and access of Wharton’s finance program. All of these decisions should be thought of holistically and with a long-term outlook on what truly makes the most sense for you and your career.

However location factors into your school selection and eventual decision process, make sure it gets the attention it deserves and you will set yourself up to be at the school that makes the most sense for you.

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. You can also receive a free MBA admissions consultation on the Veritas Prep website – just fill out a quick form, and an MBA admissions expert will get back to you within three business days with insight as to how your profile will stack up against those of other qualified applicants! 

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants.

4 Essential Tips for Transitioning from High School to College

ReflectingIf you are headed off to college in the fall, you are probably balancing the excitement that high school is over and the excitement (and maybe apprehension) that college is about to begin! First things first, your emotions are common – most graduates are off living their best summer lives, while constantly remembering that big changes are on their way! The transition from high school to college is certainly a major milestone in life, and also one that is not to be overlooked!

Adjusting to college is not a walk in the park – life is about to become drastically different! We don’t want you to fall into a statistic of college drop outs, so take some time to read our advice on how to navigate the transition from high school to college.

1. Attend Orientation

If you have the opportunity to attend a freshman orientation, this experience will be hugely helpful in getting yourself acquainted with your new home and new peers. An orientation may also give you the opportunity to see where you will be living, so you can prepare appropriately for your new room. You may also choose your courses and begin to prepare for the rigors of college academics. You’ll also get a little taste of living independently in your new community! Take time to soak all of this in and use your summer months to prepare for these new changes.

2. Prioritize Organization

You’re going to be living on your own! Woo! While this newfound freedom is probably one of the things you’re most excited about, also remember that now you are completely responsible for organizing your life and your time. Explore new organization techniques to keep you on top of your responsibilities when school begins.

3. Identify Campus Resources

College campuses are stacked with resources for students. There are gyms, art studios, counseling offices, tutoring services, career counselors, resume editors… the list goes on and on! Your tuition dollars will likely cover your access to most of these things, so take advantage of them! These resources will help you make the most of your collegiate experience and will be immensely helpful as you make the transition from high school to college.

4. Get Ready for a Roommate!

Maybe you grew up sharing a room with a sibling, or maybe you’ve had a room all to yourself. Either way, things are about to change! Most students will end up living in close quarters with a stranger, and that is a very pivotal experience in your transition from high school to college.

When you receive information about your roommate, don’t hesitate to reach out and get to know them! The more you can communicate before starting school, the easier it will be to live together as roommates. Talk openly about respecting boundaries, set expectations for your shared space together and make a plan for tackling the first year!

How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 2)

Harvard Business School

In Part 1 of our “How to Get Into Harvard Business School” series, we talk about about what the admissions team at HBS is looking for. Now let’s talk about how to demonstrate what HBS is looking for in your application. Before you continue reading, take a look at “How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 1)”

Two things an applicant needs to do to get into HBS or any other top MBA program are:

1) Stand out from other applicants (especially those with similar profiles), and
2) Show how you fit with the school.

So, what does that mean for your application? We’ll break it down into two easy tips:

Do Some Soul Searching

In order to stand out from other applicants you need to convey to the admissions board what makes you uniquely you. The admissions team is deeply interested in getting to know you and wants to get a sense for what you will bring to the classroom and broader community. Ask yourself: “What is it that makes me a candidate they absolutely can’t live without?” You may want to share examples that show what drives you, the experiences that have led you to where you are today, the influences that have contributed to who you are. Try to focus on key takeaways or themes that you want the admissions board to remember about you.

Use Past Performance as an Indicator of Future Success

Harvard Business School is looking to build a class of 900+ students where every member will offer a different perspective to the classroom, contribute richly to the campus community, and make a distinct impact on the world as an alum, so give concrete examples of how you’ve done that in the past. Show that you have a track record of being all that they’re looking for.  

Veritas Prep consultant Kevin Richardson says, “ Perhaps more than any other school, HBS sees past performance as an indicator of future success. If you think about hitting the ‘checkboxes’ to apply to business school – good GPA, good GMAT, got a promotion, led a project/team, quantifiable success – it is SUPER important to have those for HBS.”

You may have heard this all before, but the truth bears repeating: be yourself and tell the truth. Don’t get caught up in trying to spin some story that doesn’t reflect your experience or where you see yourself going accurately. As long as you have your bases covered, if you do your research, invest in the HBS community, and demonstrate how you’ll be a phenomenal addition to the class, you’ll be in a good position for admission. You need to know “why you” out of thousands and be able to explain it. If you can’t answer that question, the admissions committee won’t be able to either.

For more helpful Harvard advice, watch the webinar we hosted, “How to Get Into Harvard Business School”, and check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Harvard Business School. You can also give us a call at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert about your chances of getting into business school and what you can do to increase them!

25 Questions You Need to Ask on a College Visit

campus tourAs you prepare to make college visits, it’s likely you’re curious about the “right” questions to ask. It’s great to go into each of your visits prepared with questions so you walk away with as much information as possible.

Before you step foot on campus, we encourage you to do some research online. Ideally, the questions you ask on your visit should be questions you couldn’t easily find answers to online (think school size and available majors). We also suggest bringing a notebook to keep track of everything you learn — you’ll quickly see that just a few hours on campus will leave you with tons of new information, and it’s wise to capture it all in one place before you go! Use our guide below to prepare questions for each of the colleges on your list!

Campus Life

  1. Where do most students live?
  2. What are the dorms like? Suite-style? Community-style?
  3. What resources are available to first-year students?
  4. Do most students have cars, or are there other ways to get to on-campus and off-campus amenities?
  5. What clubs and student organizations are most popular?
  6. How easy is it to start my own club or student organization?
  7. How prominent is greek life?

Academics

  1. What is the average class size?
  2. Are lectures taught by professors or teaching assistants?
  3. Are professors available outside of class hours? How beneficial are office hours?
  4. What academic departments have the strongest reputations?
  5. What percentage of students graduate within 4 years?
  6. What opportunities are there to study abroad?
  7. Are there research opportunities for students? When can a student get involved in research?
  8. How often do students meet with academic advisors?
  9. Is it hard to change majors?

Student Resources

  1. Where do students tend to study?
  2. Are computer labs available to all students?
  3. If I struggle in a course, are there tutoring resources available?
  4. What kinds of therapy services are available to students? How can they access them?
  5. Where is the nearest medical facility? Is it hard for students to make appointments with medical professionals?
  6. What resources are available to help students find internships and jobs after graduation?
  7. What percentage of students have a full-time job after graduation?
  8. Do employers recruit on campus? How frequently?
  9. How active is your alumni network in recruiting graduates?

Hopefully the answers to these questions that your school guide provides you with should give you a good sense of whether that school is a right fit for you and your unique needs.

Have other questions about college or the college application process? We’d love to answer them for you! Give us a call at 800.925.7737 to speak with a friendly college admissions expert today.

Expert Essay Advice for the 2018-2019 Columbia Business School MBA Application

Columbia UniversityWe are excited to share with you our advice on Columbia’s 2018-2019 MBA admissions essay prompts. Read on for a taste of the advice you can find in the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. You can also skip straight to the full version of our advice, if you’d like a more in-depth analysis of this year’s essay prompts from Columbia. 

This year, applicants to Columbia Business School must complete one short answer question and three essays. 

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

50 characters is not a lot, so get to the point! What do you want to do after your graduate business school, in a nutshell? A straightforward question deserves a very straightforward answer, so don’t beat around the bush in answering this.

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Here’s your chance to expand on the answer you provided to the short answer question. Two very important things to keep in mind with this essay: 1) Make sure your goals are researched, realistic and real, and 2) show that you have the vision and ambition to really make a positive impact.

We go into depth about how to ensure that your goals are researched, realistic, and real in the full essay advice section of our Essential Guide. For example, in researching your goals, ask yourself have you done “human research”? Have you actually talked to someone who has your target position and do you truly know what it entails? Will an MBA from Columbia help you achieve that goal? These are questions you should be asking yourself as you tackle this essay prompt.

Essay 2:

How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? Click photo. (250 words)

Be sure to actually watch the video that launches when you click on the photo. In your essay response, show how you’ll take advantage of the unique opportunities Columbia offers. What specifically does Columbia offer you that is perhaps not available at the other top business schools (especially other schools in New York) that you might be interested in? Go beyond just the obvious professional opportunities, and consider also writing about the social benefits of immersing yourself in the Columbia culture and going to business school in New York City.

Essay 3:

Please provide an example of a team failure of which you have been a part. If given a second chance, what would you do differently? (250 words)

Note that they specifically ask you to write about a team failure here. An important part of teamwork is being accountable, and an important part of a strong answer to this question is showing what you learned and how you grew (became a better leader, teammate or team member) because of this experience.

Those are just a few quick thoughts on the 2018-2019 application essays from Columbia. For more free expert advice on getting into top MBA programs like the one at Columbia, check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. You can also  give us a call at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA expert about how you can best increase your odds of admission to business school! 

Expert Essay Advice for the 2018-2019 Wharton MBA Application

Wharton AdmissionsWe are excited to share with you our advice on Wharton’s 2018-2019 MBA admissions essays! Read on for a taste of the advice you can find in the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. To skip straight to the full version of our advice, click here

Wharton requires only two essays this year…

Essay 1:

What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

A strong essay will describe your career goals and then make a clear connection between your goals and what the Wharton MBA program offers. It’s important that your goals are researched, realistic, and real.  You also want to make sure you demonstrate a strong understanding of the wide array of professional opportunities available to you through Wharton and back up your story with concrete examples. Finally, Wharton wants to know why you’re a fit for their specific program, and vice versa. So do your homework and ask yourself: “What is it about a Wharton MBA in particular that will help me achieve my career aspirations?”

Essay 2:

Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

We strongly recommend using the SAR (Situation–Action–Result) essay framework. This will help you avoid the pitfall of spending too much time describing the situation.  You want to make sure to include what you learned and dedicate significant time to connecting your experience and what you learned with how you specifically plan to contribute at Wharton. What’s going to make the difference between a good essay and a great essay is your ability to give the reader a glimpse into who you are and how you will contribute. Again, be sure to use concrete examples.

Those are just a few quick thoughts on the essays for Wharton. For more free expert advice, read the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools or call us at 1-800-925-7737! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

How to Get Into Harvard Business School (Part 1)

We recently did a webinar on How to Get Into Harvard Business School. If you have time, we encourage you to watch it here before you continue to read this article:

Here’s what you need to know: 

Over 10,000 people applied to Harvard Business School last year. 11% of applicants, or approximately 1,100 people, were admitted. HBS admissions officers concede that as much as 80% of applicants are fully qualified to attend and successfully complete an MBA program, however, there are only so many seats in any given class.

So, what can you do to earn one of those coveted offers of acceptance at HBS? Continue reading to find out!

What is HBS looking for?

Let’s start by breaking down what Harvard Business School is looking for.

There’s no big secret about what HBS seeks in candidates. HBS posts its criteria right on its website, and you should take their word for it. Without clearly demonstrating all three criteria — a habit of leadership, analytical aptitude and appetite, and engaged community citizenship — you’ll be climbing up a very steep hill to be admitted.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, I’ve got this!” One thing to consider is your perception of how well you demonstrate the qualities HBS seeks may differ from the admissions board’s perception. The admissions board is reviewing thousands of applications, and if you know someone who got into Harvard Business School or you’ve read essays written by those admitted, you know that they’re pretty impressive individuals and the bar is set very high. You will be facing some stiff competition.

How do you know if your accomplishments in these areas are good enough to be admitted to HBS? We can actually give you some idea through a free MBA consultation. If you aren’t quite up to par in one or more of the areas, don’t lose heart. There are definitely things you can do to improve or strengthen the weaker aspects of your candidacy.

It’s also worth noting that there are some applicants who think they’re really impressive in these areas, but in the eyes of the admissions board are just okay. There’s another group of applicants who don’t think they have anything or struggle to come up with good examples or stories, but they’re actually quite impressive. For some, the challenge is discovering and pulling out the aspects of your background that would make you a strong candidate.

For example, Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Taniel Chan says, “Don’t view ‘leadership’ with the narrow frame of formal roles. There is much that can be said, if not more, about informal leadership opportunities. Don’t boast about just the things you’ve done with a proper title. It’s appropriate and can sometimes be viewed favorably when you share an anecdote of you acting even when nothing was expected of you.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article  — we’ll talk about how to demonstrate what HBS is looking for in the limited space provided in the application!

College App Guide: 5 Essential Steps to Starting Your College Applications

writing essaySummer is here, and the excitement of a new application season is palpable… at least it is in the Veritas Prep office! Summer is a time to unwind, participate in a fun summer program, and (you guessed it) start working on your college applications. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly where to begin, so use this guide to help you get started on the right foot.

1) Finalize Your School List

This cannot be overstated. The absolute first thing you should do is finalize your school list, as everything else to come is based off of your finalized school list. Have meaningful conversations with family, friends, and an admissions consultant to finalize a school list that is balanced with Reach, Match & Safety schools that you’re excited to attend!

2) Create Application Accounts

Now that you have finalized your school list, it’s time to create application accounts for the schools on your list. Make sure to add the schools on your list to each application system so you can start to review their application requirements. You’ll want to make special note of application deadlines, written requirements and recommendation requirements.

3) Line Up Your Letters of Recommendation

Since your school list is finalized and you have read through the special requirements for each school on your list, you’ll know exactly which teachers to ask for a Letter of Recommendation. Ask these teachers as early as possible to ensure they have the bandwidth to write a stellar letter on your behalf, and even give them your resume and/or overview of involvement so they have something to reference as they write!

4) Create a Strategy to Overcome Perceived Weaknesses

Do a little self-reflection and evaluate your candidacy. Are there any parts of your candidacy that admissions committees may see as a potential weakness? Create a strategy to address it! For instance, have you made a meaningful impact in your local or global community through community service? Admissions committees want to see measurable impact when learning about your community involvement. If your involvement was sporadic or doesn’t lend itself to measurable impact, perhaps your strategy should be to find an opportunity to give back in a meaningful way! A free consultation with Veritas Prep can help identify these areas and set a strategy as well

5) Plan Your Application Narratives

If you’re applying to a balanced school list, it’s possible you’ll be writing at least 10+ essays. You will likely write a Personal Statement, plus school-specific supplemental essays for each of the schools on your list. Each of those essays need to be perfectly tailored to each school, and your demonstrated fit for the school as well. Take a step back and look at all of the prompts you’ll need to respond to, and strategize what you will explore in each narrative. The goal of multiple essays is for you to unveil new aspects of your candidacy as the admissions reader reads through your complete application, so plan accordingly!

Harvard Business School Eliminates Round 3 MBA Application Period

Harvard Business SchoolThis week Harvard Business School announced that, unlike most other business schools, it would not have a Round 3 application deadline this year. The world’s most desirable MBA program just announced that they dropped an admissions deadline… must be a huge deal, right? “Not really,” is our answer. Read on…

Here are the main takeaways:

1) In the past, the former Director of Admissions had said that they always see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again. We think the move to eliminate Round 3 indicates that HBS has so many great applicants in Rounds 1 and 2, it’s not necessary to review applicants in Round 3 in order to fill their class with outstanding individuals. Instead of admitting 90% of the class in Rounds 1 and 2, they’ll now admit 100%.

2) The announcement says that Harvard has decided to focus their spring Round on 2+2 applications. This seems to signal an elevated level of importance for the program for college seniors seeking deferred admission. Clearly, the program is going well enough that they were ready to really focus on it in the spring admissions round this year.

The impact on you:

As an MBA applicant, this announcement means that if you want to apply to Harvard Business School, you really need to plan ahead. In the past, if circumstances had prevented you from applying in Round 1 or Round 2, you still had a chance to submit your application in Round 3. That chance is no longer available to you at HBS. You either need to decide earlier if you are going to apply (the Round 2 deadline is January 4 for the Class of 2021) or you’re going to have to wait and apply the following fall.

However, a big reason we say this announcement isn’t that big of a deal is that we rarely ever encourage business school applicants to pursue Round 3. We didn’t always think it was radioactive — indeed, it has helped applicants in certain situations, such as coming back from a military deployment or losing a job — but most applicants apply in one of the first two rounds, anyway. And, that’s almost always what they should do.

Also, note that applicants to HBS will now most likely know their fate when Round 2 decisions are released. (The Round 2 decision date was March 21 this past season.) The announcement mentions getting admitted students their decisions earlier, giving them additional time to do everything they need to do before classes start. This will allow a lot of small logistical things to fall into place a little more neatly, for both the school and for admitted applicants.

Another thing we’re wondering with this announcement from Harvard: we’re curious to see what other business schools do. Will more of them eliminate their final round? Will they be happy to keep Round 3 and probably see more applications from folks who were dinged by HBS in Round 2? Only time will tell. In the meantime, start working on your applications now, if you haven’t already. If you have questions, contact us.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

Expert Advice for Young MBA Applicants

Make Studying FunFirst of all, who is considered a younger applicant?

Now there is not a universal cutoff that determines what an older or younger applicant is, but rather there is more of a guideline. Generally you want to base this determination off of the average age of the student body. The average age for most of the top full time MBA programs is typically about 27 or 28 years old, but as we learned from our GMAT prep, averages don’t tell us a lot. Even looking at the middle 80% age range of full-time MBA programs, most students are between 25 and 31 years old.  So, if you have fewer than 3 years of work experience, at the time of application, you will be at the lower end of the range. There is no cut off, though.

Every year, full time programs admit applicants younger than 25, however these people are outliers. Just as a candidate with a GMAT score that falls outside of the middle 80% of a school’s range must justify how they will succeed academically, an applicant that falls outside the middle 80% of the age range must justify why they want an MBA, why now, and how they’ll fit with the program both culturally and professionally.

If you are a younger applicant, what can you do to maximize your chances of admission?  

Demonstrate maturity.

It’s imperative to convince the admissions committee that you have the quality and depth of work experience they’re looking for in members of the class.  Help the admissions committee understand how what you’ve done in your fewer than average years of work experience is better than or equal to what other applicants have achieved in more.  Strong letters of recommendation could play a key role in this.

Make it clear why you want an MBA now.

Admissions officers are going to see your age, your college graduation date and the years of work experience you bring, so there’s no sense in trying to hide or downplay this aspect of your profile.  Instead, make sure you have a clear and coherent response for why you want to get your MBA now, how it fits into your professional path, and how receiving a full-time MBA is the best possible path to achieve your goals.  Know that the admissions committee will be looking at this portion of your application with extra scrutiny. I guarantee that every 23 year old who was admitted to a top-tier, full-time program had a very clear and compelling argument for why they should be there. Nobody stumbles into a top-tier program with 1 or 2 years of work experience who simply said, “I’m looking to expand my career opportunities and improve my management skills” without providing significantly more detail.  

Demonstrate fit.  

Also, don’t forget to do thorough research on each program to which you are applying.  Talk with current students and recent alums who were a little younger in their class and pick their brains on school culture, the ways they got involved, and their overall experience. Get on your target schools’ websites to find out what clubs interest you most and include these in your application essays to show the admissions committee that you’re serious about getting involved!  At Veritas Prep, we have expert consultants for younger candidates and can help you refine your professional goals, why you need an MBA now, and how you will contribute to your class.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

BREAKING NEWS: The GMAT is Getting Shorter!

stopwatch-620GMAC has announced that, beginning April 16, 2018, the GMAT exam will be 30 minutes shorter via the removal of 6 Quantitative questions and 5 Verbal questions and some streamlining to tutorials and other non-exam screens at the test center. So, just how much should this affect your test prep strategy? Well there are a few things to keep in mind before you take the official exam. 

To prepare for the changes, know the following:

  • Your allotted pace per question is essentially the same (within ~2 seconds per question).
  • According to GMAC, the removal of questions all comes from the unscored, experimental questions (those that GMAC is vetting for quality and difficulty, but that do not count toward your score).
  • There are no changes to scoring or to the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections.
  • There will now be 31 Quantitative questions (in 62 minutes) and 36 Verbal questions (in 65 minutes).

What does this mean for you?

  • In general your pacing strategy doesn’t need to change. You’re still allotted just about exactly the same amount of time per question (exactly 2 minutes per Quant question and 1:48 per Verbal question).
  • However, the “penalty” for guessing just got a bit more severe. With all of the reduction in questions coming from the unscored questions you lose (most of) the 25% probability that a question you guess on won’t count toward your score.
  • What you give up in “probability that a guess won’t hurt you” you likely make up for in mental stamina. A shorter test allows you to perform at your peak for a greater percentage of it, so that works to your advantage.
  • Most importantly, recognize this: everyone takes the same test, so these little nuances in stamina and number of experimentals will affect everyone. The psychometricians at GMAC take data integrity seriously and won’t sign off on changes that could alter the consistency of scores, so any perceived advantages or disadvantages are likely a much bigger deal in your head than they are in practice.

The best news?

Unlike with Section Select – another new, user-friendly GMAT feature – you (probably) don’t have to make any decisions.  If you’re signed up for the “old” format test (an appointment between now and April 16) GMAC will allow you to transfer your appointment to a later date with the shorter format free of charge.  But unless you have a test currently scheduled for the next 12 days you’ll just take the shorter test and be able to celebrate a half-hour earlier.

Whether you’re just beginning your GMAT prep or you’re just looking to hone a few particular skills (such as time management), Veritas Prep has a service to ensure you succeed on test day! Check out our variety of GMAT prep services online, or give us a call to speak with a friendly Course Advisor about your options. 

Admissions 101: Your Future is Not Defined by a College Rejection Letter

Oberlin CollegeIt is admissions decision time, and many institutions are reporting an increase in applicants for the Class of 2022, and a decrease in admissions rates. For the first time, Harvard admitted less than 5% of applicants! So, for the 95% of you who applied to Harvard and received a rejection letter, or for any other students who feel like their dreams have been crushed, this post is for you.

First and foremost, it’s important to allow yourself to feel how you want to feel – disappointed, angry, frustrated or even sad. You worked tirelessly in high school to be a stellar student, spent hours outside of schools participating in extracurricular activities, pulled all-nighters to complete homework assignments and stayed up late rewriting your application essays over and over again. You may have even lost some sleep in the last week in anticipation of the decision. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel a sinking disappointment. However, your rejection letter should not take anything away from your herculean efforts over the past four years. You are still an outstanding, accomplished student. Repeat that to yourself a few times.

Your future is not defined by today. We won’t try to get too motivational on you, but it is important to remember that tomorrow is a new day, life will continue on, and your future will not defined by the admissions decisions you received.

If you’re wondering what to do next, here are three suggestions to help you get excited about the next phase of your life:

Ask for an explanation

If you find yourself asking “what happened?” or “what could I have done differently?” you might get some peace of mind by connecting with an admissions officer. Many institutions are willing to give you feedback on why you weren’t admitted. If this is something that would help you feel closure, we suggest reaching out to the admissions office and getting this information!

Get excited about your plan B

Once you are ready to stop mourning what could have been, it’s time to start getting excited about what will be! If you’re able, go on a campus visit to your Plan B school to start envisioning yourself as a student there. If you happen to find yourself with no offers of admission, take this time to research schools who are still accepting applications, or seek a Community College option that might be a good fit for you for the upcoming year. You may even choose to work with a college admissions consultant to help guide you through the process.

Celebrate your successes

We get it, you didn’t crack the selective admissions rates at the top colleges in the country, but if you strategized your school list wisely, it’s likely you were admitted somewhere, and that’s worth celebrating! Go out to dinner, hang that admissions letter on the fridge and remind yourself that you’re awesome and your future is bright.

In the end, your future is what you make of it. No matter where you enroll, your future will be fantastic because you make it that way. Take advantage of the opportunities around you and the people in your corner cheering you on. The best is yet to come!

Waitlisted? Here are 3 Things You Should Do Next.

RoadThis time of year is full of so many highs and lows for college applicants. Many students will be jumping for joy when they learn that they’ve been admitted to the school of their dreams. Others may learn that they have been denied admission placed on the waitlist, and can’t help but feel defeated. If you happen to find yourself in the camp of waitlisted students, here are some strategies to help you figure out next steps.

Reach out to the school immediately.

If you’re still dreaming about attending the school that waitlisted you, open communication as soon as possible. Write a letter or send an email detailing that if they were to admit you, you would accept the spot in their incoming freshman class without question. Reiterate the reasons why this school is your dream institution and update them on any new developments in your candidacy.

Get excited about your Plan B.

Obviously your dream school is still your goal, but you’re likely going to head somewhere in the fall, so it’s time to psyche yourself up for Plan B! Since it is uncertain whether or not you will be lifted from the waitlist at your dream school, put down a deposit at a school that admitted you. The last thing you want is to be stuck after May 1st with nowhere to go, so set yourself up for success by paying an enrollment deposit at another school. Buy a t-shirt or hat for that school, too. You might end up being a student there, so it’s time to get into the school spirit!

Keep your eye on the prize.

If you’ve been waitlisted, you might consider just walking away altogether to take a Gap Year. For some students, this might be a good option, because you can spend your Gap Year doing things to boost your candidacy in anticipation of applying again. However, it is important to note that it is easier to try and transfer to your dream institution from another college than taking a stab at the first-time admissions odds again. In most cases, you are better off enrolling in your Plan B, kicking butt in challenging courses and ultimately positioning yourself to be a compelling transfer applicant in a few years. Who knows, you might fall in love with your Plan B and realize that’s where you were meant to be all along!

Being placed on a waitlist definitely isn’t ideal, but there are actions you can take to position yourself well for the future! Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are ready to help you with strategies to get off the waitlist at your top-choice school.

We are happy to review your waitlist school letter or assist you as you decide on which college is right for you. Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Insights from the 2019 US News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Booth Climbs to #1

US News College RankingsWe don’t like to overemphasize the importance of rankings, but we know that applicants are extremely interested in them.  As such, let’s take a look at the US News and World Report Best Business Schools rankings for 2019 (ranked in 2018) today.

What’s new?  

 

Booth went from #3 last year to #1 this year, tied with Harvard.  

This is the first time Booth has been ranked #1 by US News and World Report.  Comparing Harvard and Booth, the acceptance rate jumps out at you.  Booth accepted 23.5% of applicants and Harvard 9.9%. The percentage of graduates employed at the time of graduation also stands out.  Booth has one of the highest at 88%. The only school in the top 25 with a higher percentage is Ross-more on them later-with 89.7%.  Side note: We don’t want to get too deep into employment statistics, but if having a job at the time of graduation, or getting one shortly thereafter is really important to you, check out the numbers reported for graduates employed 3 months after graduation.  The highest percentage you’ll see in the top 25 is Foster at 98.1%-pretty impressive. For those of you who’d been solely focused on applying to and getting in to H/S/W, we hope this helps you open your mind to the value of applying to and the possibility of attending a school other than those 3.  

Ross went from #11 last year to #7 tied this year, tied with Berkeley Haas.  

Ross achieved a noteworthy rise in the rankings, cracking the coveted Top 10.  Similar to my comment above, for those of you hyper focused on attending a school in the top 10, we hope this 1) helps you realize that the top 10 varies from year to year and 2) opens your mind to applying to schools outside of the top 10.     

The difference between a school being ranked in the top 10 and not is pretty small.  One year they may be in the top 10, the next year they may be out. Did the school change that much in 1 year?  Probably not. Is the school still a great school? Most likely yes. There can be so much focus on a school being ranked in the top 10, but there are a number of excellent schools which hover right around the top 10 and even crack the top 10 (as they say) some years that as an applicant, you should make sure you don’t overlook them.  So, while Fuqua, Yale, Stern and Darden aren’t in the top 10 this year, as you consider which schools to apply to, take a look at these schools as they are perennially near the top 10 and sometimes included, if that’s important to you.

What do you need to know?  

One thing we noticed when we looked at the rankings was the average GMAT score.  Scanning the rankings, it wasn’t until you got to #17 Tepper that the average GMAT score dipped below 700.  Yikes! The average GMAT score at 5 of the top 6 schools (including the top 4 schools) was 730+. Wowza! Similar to rankings, we don’t want to place too much emphasis on the average GMAT score, but it’s worth noting that the average scores remain high and are continuing to go up for schools in the top 25.  You’re probably wondering, what you can do about it? Check out these articles on the Veritas Prep blog or contact us so we can give you some free advice.  

It’s pretty common knowledge that the top 7 schools are pretty consistent–thus the term M7.  And everyone wants to go to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton – thus the term H/S/W – even though Booth, Kellogg, or Sloan may be tied or ranked higher any given year.  Outside of the top 7, though, call it 8 through 12, there can be movement and as such, one school may be in the top 10 one year and out the next.
We constantly remind applicants, rankings are only one factor to consider when selecting which schools to apply to.  Regardless of which schools you decide are right for you, you’ll want to make sure you submit the strongest application you’re capable of.  Contact us today to discuss your chances of admission to your target programs, to get answers to your questions, and to find out how we can help you get accepted to the school of your dreams.

MBA Application Advice for Older Applicants

SAT/ACTFirst of all, who is considered an older applicant?

Now there is not a universal cutoff that determines what an older or younger applicant is, but rather there is more of a guideline. Generally you want to base this determination off of the average age of the student body. The average age for most of the top full time MBA programs is typically about 27 or 28 years old, but as we learned from our GMAT prep, averages don’t tell us a lot. Even looking at the middle 80% age range of full-time MBA programs, most students are between 25 and 31 years old.  

So, if you have more than 7 years of work experience, at the time of application, you will be at the upper end of the range.  In other words, if you’ll be 30 or older at the start of the program, you’ll be above average. There is no cut off, though.

Every year, full time programs admit applicants in their mid 30s, however these people are outliers, Just as a candidate with a GMAT score that falls outside of the middle 80% of a school’s range must justify how they will succeed academically, an applicant that falls outside the middle 80% in age range must justify why they want an MBA, why now, and how they’ll fit with the program both culturally and professionally.

If you are an older applicant, what can you do to maximize your chances of admission?  

 

Make it clear why you want an MBA now.

Admissions officers are going to see your age, your college graduation date and the years of work experience you bring, so there’s no sense in trying to hide or downplay this aspect of your profile.  Instead, make sure you have a clear and coherent response for why you want to get your MBA now, how it fits into your professional path, and how receiving a full-time MBA is the best possible path to achieve your goals.  Know that the admissions committee will be looking at this portion of your application with extra scrutiny. I guarantee that every 32 year old who was admitted to a top-tier, full-time program had a very clear and compelling argument for why they should be there. Nobody stumbles into a top-tier program with 10 years of work experience who simply said, “I’m looking to expand my career opportunities and improve my management skills” without providing significantly more detail.  

Demonstrate fit.  

Also, don’t forget to do thorough research on each program to which you are applying.  Talk with current students and recent alums who were a little older in their class and pick their brains on school culture, the ways they got involved, and their overall experience. Get on your target schools’ websites to find out what clubs interest you most and include these in your application essays to show the admissions committee that you’re serious about getting involved!  At Veritas Prep, we have expert consultants for older candidates and can help you refine your professional goals, why you need an MBA now, and how you will contribute to your class.

Consider applying to a part time or EMBA program.  

Many business schools, including Stanford and Wharton, offer other programs such as EMBA, part-time and executive education tracks that may be better suited to candidates who will not likely take advantage of the immersive experience of a full-time MBA.  If you have 7 or 8 or more years of work experience, be sure you are considering all of your options. Leaving your full-time job for two years is not always the wisest option for people later in their careers and will not provide the same ROI as for younger candidates.  Think through which program makes the most sense for where you are at in your life and career and what you desire out of your MBA experience. Generally the part-time and EMBA programs attract an older applicant pool given the structure and set-up of the programs. With whatever program makes the most sense for you make a strong case for how the offerings best align with your development needs.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Can Amazing Extracurriculars Outweigh Average Academics?

Extracurricular-ActivitiesYear after year, this is one of the questions we receive most from eager high school students gearing up for the college application process. We thought we’d take the time to break down how admissions decisions are made. Don’t want to read all the way to the end? Here’s our #spoileralert: amazing extracurriculars don’t outweigh average academics. Let us tell you why!

When admissions committees at top schools make admissions decisions, they’re evaluating you across a few elements:

Academic Preparedness

Here, admissions committees are looking to evaluate whether or not you are equipped to succeed in their college courses. This comes down to more than your GPA and test scores, though those are factors in this evaluation Other areas of your academic evaluation will include AP test scores, SAT Subject Test Scores, Letters of Recommendation and your academic involvement outside the classroom.

Habit of Leadership/Depth of Commitment

(This is where your amazing extracurriculars will be evaluated!)

It’s not enough to just participate in volunteer work or play a sport. Admissions committees at top universities are looking for students who have thoroughly enveloped themselves in activities that they are truly passionate about! Their job as an admissions committee is to admit a well-rounded, diverse freshman class. They’re looking for “pointy” students – students who have clearly demonstrated interests and passions and have taken the initiative to excel in those areas both inside and outside the classroom.

Fit for Institution

In the end, admissions committees will never admit a student that they don’t believe will actually enroll, so it’s important to clearly articulate your fit and sincere interest for each individual school on your list! This is typically done through school-specific supplemental essays, and will also be an imperative part of your application process.

Essentially, excelling in extracurriculars does not outweigh average or less-than-average performance in academics. Why? Because first, admissions committees need to determine if you will be able to keep up academically with your peers in college level courses. That’s the most important criteria. Unfortunately, your extracurricular activities do not necessarily demonstrate to admissions committees that you are prepared to excel academically on their campus. If you don’t have sufficient evidence on your application that you’ll be able to handle academic rigor, it is unlikely you will be admitted to selective college or university.

Do you have questions about how your unique extracurricular experiences will be evaluated by admissions committees? Take advantage of Veritas Prep’s free college consultation — you’ll receive personalized feedback from one of our college admission experts on your chances of admission to your dream schools, as well as tangible next steps for what you can do to ensure your applications are successful!

Top 5 Waitlist Strategies for College Applicants

Waiting in LineNo one wants to be waitlisted by the school of their dreams. Being waitlisted could be one of the best things that can happen to you in your college admissions journey. Why? You’re one step closer to the finish line.

A decision of “maybe” from your top-choice school might be confusing at first, but it gives you a chance to think about what you really want to do next. However, you must weigh your options quickly. If your heart’s still set on going to that college, there are some things you can do right now to boost your chances of acceptance.  

Here’s some expert advice from our Veritas Prep college admissions team on what to do next if you find yourself on the waitlist:

1. Reflect on why you applied. Is this school still your first choice? How does the curriculum align with your goals? What are the chances that you will receive a scholarship or grants should you be admitted after all early and regular decision acceptance offers have been made? Answering these questions can help you decide whether you want to pursue admission as you consider or await other college decisions.

2. Read the fine print. Many schools give clear direction to their waitlisted applicants about what to do next. Some schools require students to respond to the waitlist offer by a certain deadline. Others instruct students not to send any additional information to the admissions committee. It’s important that you follow the instructions provided to you in your letter — even if this means that you may just have to wait.

3. Write the “admissions love letter.” If your decision letter does not discourage submitting additional information to the admissions office, you can still show your dream school how committed you are to becoming a member of their next incoming class. Due to the time sensitivity of the process, this letter should be sent by e-mail directly to the contact information provided to you by the university’s admissions office. The letter should not exceed one page (1-3 paragraphs) and include the following:

a. New insights into why you are a good fit for the school (i.e. new discoveries from the admissions interview, campus tour or meetings with professors and/or alumni). Do not repeat information you have already stated in your application.

b. Highlights of how you have strengthened weaker areas in your application profile over the past few months.  This includes things like mid-year grade improvements, research projects, accomplishments and awards.

c. Reiterate that the school is genuinely your top choice and you will attend if admitted. This is the number one question admissions committees have about the status of their waitlisted applicants.

Time is of the essence: Don’t forget to send your “love letter” in a timely manner. Usually your letter will provide you with key dates and deadlines. If not, respond as soon as possible.

4. Create a backup plan. You can request to remain on the waitlist of your top-choice school whilst securing your spot at another institution. Pay close attention to the deadlines to pay your security deposit, in case things don’t work out with your first-choice school.  

5. Stay positive. Take a deep breath and feel confident that you put your best foot forward. No matter the outcome, you should be proud of your accomplishments to make it this far in the process. A waitlist decision is not an outright “no,” and it’s very likely that your application was favored over a pool of thousands of applicants from all over the world.

Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are ready to help you with strategies to get off the waitlist at your top-choice school. We are happy to review your waitlist love letter or assist you as you decide on which college is right for you. For help creating a top-notch college application, contact us today at 800.925.7737.

3 Reasons to Apply in Round 3

InterviewRound 1 and 2 deadlines have come and gone, but you had it in your head that you were applying to business school this year. So what do you do? Should you really consider applying in round 3?

Every year many applicants are faced with a similar dilemma. Round 3 has long been a cautiously avoided application round for most applicants. It is in fact the round where the least spots are typically available so the apprehension has merit. However, there are reasons why an applicant should consider applying in Round 3.

1. Many schools have strong Round 3 acceptance rates.

Think you have no chance getting in if you apply Round 3? Think again!  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 former 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.”  

Schools with relatively higher acceptance rates of Round 3 applicants include Cornell Johnson, UNC Kenan-Flagler, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, Emory Goizueta and Georgetown McDonough, according to data provided by MBA Data Guru. If you apply to schools outside of the top 15 MBA programs you are more likely to be accepted in Round 3. 

2. There were extenuating circumstances which prevented you from applying in an earlier round.

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.

3. You’re a stellar applicant with a stellar application.

Round 3 partly gets a bad reputation from those applicants who throw together their applications at the last minute (rather than having to wait eight months before applying in next year’s admissions cycle) and end up getting rejected. “See,” they say, “I knew I wouldn’t get in. Round 3 is impossible.” But Round 3 wasn’t the problem… their applications were what held them back.

An impressive set of qualifications can make round 3 and frankly any round attractive to candidates with impressive profiles. Candidates with strong GPAs, GMAT scores, and blue chip resumes can often still be competitive even with the limited spots left in round 3. If the candidate’s application measurables align with or exceed target school class profile numbers then round 3 becomes a realistic option.

We wanted to find a way to take out the risk in applying in Round 3 to top MBA programs, so whether you decide to apply in Round 3 or postpone to Round 1 in the fall, Veritas Prep’s Round 3 Guarantee  has you covered every step of the way!


Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Top 5 Reasons You Should Start Your MBA Applications Early

Six WeeksAcross the board, MBA admissions officers recommend that you apply in the earliest round you can – as long as you’re submitting your best possible application. Particularly for candidates from overrepresented industries such as finance and consulting, later round applicants can be at a significant disadvantage. This means that you should begin working on your applications now, in time to submit the best application possible, as early as possible. Here are the top 5 reasons to start your MBA applications early and apply in Round 1:

1. Significant MBA school research is imperative to your success.

Schools are looking for candidates who’ve approached business school with a mature and thorough decision making process. In order to write impactful essays that also demonstrate fit, you will need to do more than check rankings and click through their website. Effective research often includes conversations with current students and recent alums, visiting campus and attending info sessions, or at least diving into comprehensive resources like the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. Lack of research leads to generic essays, which are not compelling to admissions officers.

2. Demonstrating “fit” is a more arduous process than you think. It takes time. You can recycle surprisingly little among different schools’ essay questions.

Every year, we see clients who expect that they can write essays for one application and simply strip out the name of one school and insert the name of another. This is especially tempting with the current trend in open ended questions. Rachel, a member of our Ultimate Admissions Committee and Head Consultant from Wharton, says “it’s more important than ever to consider the culture and environment of the school.” Admissions officers see thousands of essays every year, and they can spot a repurposed essay from a mile away. Applying to multiple schools takes time!

3. You won’t just identify and explain your weaknesses – you will work to improve them.

One of the first steps in working on your applications is evaluating every element of your profile. Are there any weak areas? Red flags? Leadership? Low GMAT score? Low undergraduate GPA? If you identify any areas which may be less than solid, when you start early, you can take steps to improve your weaknesses, rather than finding yourself in the unenviable position of trying to explain them in an optional essay. This might include tackling a new project with your volunteer organization, taking a calculus course from your local community college, or retaking the GMAT with the proper strategy to raise your score. There are numerous strategies to improve your application profile, and if you start on your applications now, you have time to implement them!

4. You will increase your chances of receiving financial aid awards and scholarships.

It is well known that schools operate with a limited budget – this means that there is more money to go around for financial aid, scholarships and awards, towards the beginning of the admissions season than there is towards the end. Why not allow yourself the highest possibility of receiving a financial reward?

5. It will allow you to avoid late application pitfalls.

In an exclusive Veritas Prep survey, we asked the top 30 MBA admissions officers to name the most common mistakes they see in MBA applications. Their #1 response: careless errors. Admissions officers view your application as a reflection of your commitment, so careless errors can doom your chances for admissions. However, let’s face it, most of us love to procrastinate! About 80% of MBA applications are submitted within three days of each deadline, most within 24 hours. These rushed, last-minute applications are often rife with careless errors – a missing comma here, an incorrect spelling of “they’re” there. By starting the process early, you and your Veritas Prep Head Consultant can craft your Personalized MBA Game Plan™, providing structure to the application process and ensuring there is plenty of time to catch careless mistakes and add the perfect polish before you hit “Submit.”

What you should be doing now?

Even before the schools release their updated essay prompts, you can work to significantly improve your applications by working with an expert MBA consultant to:

  • Identify the ideal programs for your personal and professional goals, even some you may not be currently considering.
  • Thoroughly research your target schools beyond rankings and school websites.
  • Discuss how to maximize the value of your campus visits, information sessions, and conversations with students and alumni.
  • Prepare your recommenders to write stellar letters on your behalf.
  • Craft your resume to emphasize accomplishments that will resonate with the admissions committee.

Secure your ideal MBA consultant now.

With the lowest client-to consultant ratio in the industry, Veritas Prep ensures your consultant is solely focused on your success. However, this also means that many of our consultants can get booked up early. We will ensure you work with a consultant who best fits with your personal and professional background, career goals, target schools, and working style so they can clearly understand your story and know how to best portray it to the admissions committee. As a First Mover, you’ll work with the ideal consultant for your needs so that your applications truly shine.

If you need help with any of the advice above contact us, we’d be happy to help.


Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free consultation. As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

How Does Scoring Differ Between the GMAT and the GRE?

SAT/ACT

It’s a new year, and thus a good time to undertake a new intellectual challenge. For me, this challenge will take the form of teaching new classes on GRE preparation. Because the test has changed so much over the years, I thought it might be interesting to delineate my impressions of the newer incarnation, both in terms of how the GRE differs from the GMAT and in terms of how the GRE has evolved over time.

Observation 1: The formats are different.

 The GRE has two Quantitative sections and two Verbal sections of 30 minutes each, while the GMAT has a single Quantitative section and a single Verbal section of 75 minutes each. Moreover, while the GMAT is adaptive by the question, the GRE is adaptive by section.  Do well on the first GRE Quantitative section and the entire next section will escalate in difficulty. (My impression: while the GRE does adjust from section to section, it does so in a way that feels significantly subtler than the GMAT exam.)

Observation 2: The two Quantitative sections on the GRE are much easier than the one Quantitative section on the GMAT.

This is typically the most conspicuous difference test-takers notice. In our GMAT courses, we have a skill-builder section that allows students to re-master the basics before delving into a discussion about the types of higher-order thinking the GMAT will require. In other words, it’s not enough to simply recall the various rules, axioms, and equations we’ve forgotten from high school – those foundational elements will need to be applied in creative ways. While the GRE does require some higher-order thinking, on many quantitative questions simply having the foundational skills is enough to arrive at the correct answer. The strategic element is more about how to arrive at these answers in a timely manner and how to avoid panicking on the few hairier questions that will likely come your way.

Moreover, in lieu of the GMAT’s dreaded Data Sufficiency questions, the GRE has Quantitative Comparison questions, in which a test-taker is asked to compare the relative magnitude of two quantities – it’s possible that one quantity is larger than the other, that the two quantities are equal, or that it’s not possible to determine which quantity is larger. After grappling with knotty Data Sufficiency questions, a test-taker is likely to find Quantitative Comparison to be blessedly straightforward. Better yet, the GRE will allow you to return to questions once you’ve answered them, granting test-takers more opportunities to weed out careless mistakes. If that weren’t enough, on the GRE, you’ll have access to an on-screen calculator. So there are perks.

Observation 3: The GRE’s scoring algorithm is much less forgiving than the GMAT’s.

Of course, there’s a rub. The GRE’s Quantitative section might be easier in terms of the difficulty level of the questions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier to score well. If you’re able to ascend to the more difficult question levels on the GMAT, you can miss many of them and still do well. Not so on the GRE, where you need to be pretty close to perfect to achieve an elite score.

Observation 4:  The Verbal on the GRE can be trickier.

Like the GMAT, the GRE has a Reading Comprehension component. But unlike the GMAT, the GRE questions will often ask you to select “all that apply,” meaning that you may need to select as many as three correct assertions in order to receive credit for a question. Select two of the three? You get the question wrong. No partial credit. And while the GRE doesn’t have any Sentence Correction questions, it does have Sentence Completion questions, and these questions often come down to either recognizing somewhat obscure vocabulary words or utilizing more familiar words in less familiar ways.

Ultimately, in my experience, most test-takers will score at comparable percentile levels if they were to take both exams. Choosing which test is better for you might be a question of fit or comfort more than anything else. And while there’s a fair amount of overlap between the two exams, they feel different enough that you wouldn’t want to prepare for one and simply assume that you’re ready for the other. Each test has its own strategic texture and its own idiosyncrasies, so you want to be sure that you’ve worked through a curriculum specifically designed for the test in question before you sit for the exam.

Regardless of whether you take the GMAT or GRE, Veritas Prep is committed to helping you prepare to do your best on test day! Jump start your prep by taking advantage of Veritas Prep’s various free GMAT resources and free GRE resources to determine which test is right for you.


This article was written by Veritas Prep instructor David Goldstein. Be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful articles like these!

How to Spend Your Summer Months in High School

Study on the BeachIt may not seem like it now, especially if you’re looking outside at a pile of snow… but summer is right around the corner! Year after year, there is an increased focus from admissions committees at top schools on how students spend their summer months. While it is called summer “break,” we know that you need to spend your “break” being productive, too! We’ve compiled our list of the best ways to spend your summer months to maximize both preparedness and relaxation!

1) Strengthen your Candidacy

This one is general, but probably the most important. Summer months are your break from school, so you have opportunities to strengthen parts of your candidacy outside of your classroom performance. Here are some ideas for how to spend that valuable time:

Participate in a competitive academic program

Now is the time to apply to competitive academic summer programs. Admissions committees will evaluate how you have explored academic interests outside of your high school curriculum, and participating in an academic summer program is an excellent way to demonstrate your pursuit of academic interests outside of school. Any program that allows you to take additional coursework, study on a college campus or participate in research with a working professional is a great choice!

Participate in a meaningful volunteer opportunity

Admissions committees also care deeply about how you have supported your community and developed an interest in community involvement. If you reflect on your extracurricular activities and find that you have not been too involved in bettering your community, summer months are a great time to find a worthy organization and get your hands dirty!

Focus on test prep

If you’ve already taken the ACT or SAT and don’t have your desired score, you should spend summer months preparing to take the exam again. It’s easier to focus on test prep when you’re not knee deep in your AP Physics and Honors Literature class, so utilize the summer months to focus on test prep and increase your score before you begin the college applications!

2) Explore colleges – virtually or in person

Use your summer months to explore colleges in-person or virtually. While it’s not an ideal time to visit college campuses because the student population is much smaller than during the school year, it’s typically the best time for families to travel together. Make the most of your visits by meeting with an admissions representative personally, talking with current students and professors. If physically visiting campuses is not possible, take advantage of the World Wide Web and the fabulous resources available at your fingertips! Most colleges will offer virtual tours on their website and admissions representatives make themselves available for calls from prospective students!

3) Finalize your school list

One of the biggest mistakes we see students make is beginning their senior year without a finalized school list. By the time you step foot at your school as a mighty and all-knowing senior, you should have your school list finalized – a balance between reach, match and safety schools.

4) Enjoy yourself

Finally, it’s your break. Take a breather and enjoy yourself. Spend time with your friends and family, sleep in and soak up the sun. While it’s important to focus on college readiness, we also know that balance is key. Enjoy!


Do you need help with your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Starting the Common Application: Your 2018-2019 Personal Statement Prompts

The Common Application has made a major announcement! It’s only January, and they’ve announced that they will not be making any changes to the 2018-2019 Personal Statement prompts from the 2017-2018 season.

This means that if you are in the Class of 2019, your Personal Statement prompts are available to you, and you can officially begin your college application process! Your personal statement prompts are as follows:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

If you’re having trouble getting started with your Common Application essays, Veritas Prep has you covered. Our college admissions experts have broken down each Common App prompt to tell you what college admissions committees are really looking for in your answers to each question, and to offer actionable tips for how to start the writing process for your own essays. You can read our thoughts here:


Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Complexities of Parallelism – Part I

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomParallelism is one of the most common errors tested on GMAT, and debatably, one of the most tricky too! At times, due to the complexity of the sentence, we may not realise that elements should be in parallel; at others we may not realise that they should NOT be in parallel! (discussed in a previous post)

We see parallelism in many cases in GMAT. Some of them are:

  • A list of elements
  • Co-ordinating and correlative conjunctions such as “and”, “but”, “both … and…”, “either … or…” etc
  • Stating a comparison such as “compared to A, B”
  • Idioms involving elements in parallel such as “consider A B”

On the face of it, it seems quite simple and straight forward – all acting verbs or all nouns etc, but if a GMAT question focusses on it, it is bound to be more complicated than that. Parallelism depends on both, the form and the function of the words. Also, it is important to decipher the logic of the sentence – should the elements be in parallel in the first place? If yes, then which elements should be in parallel?

We also need to worry about when to repeat a particular word in all parallel elements and when not to. We know the thumb rule – either repeat in all or use only once in the beginning. But when is it a good idea to repeat the word in all elements?

Yes, it isn’t that simple after all!

But let’s answer all these questions using a couple of examples.

Question 1: It is no surprise that Riyadh, the Saudi capital where people revere birds of prey and ride camels regularly, is home to the world’s largest hospital for falcons, a place where falcons from all over the world are treated in operating rooms, an ophthalmology department, and a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(A) an ophthalmology department, and a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(B) an ophthalmology department, a pox area, and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(C) an ophthalmology department, to a pox area, and to the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(D) to an ophthalmology department, and to a pox area and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for. 

(E) an ophthalmology department and a pox area, and the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for.

Solution: There are lots of commas and lots of different elements in the sentence.

Logically, we see that Riyadh is home to the largest hospital for falcons and to the veterinary clinic for desert mammals. It can’t be home to operating rooms, an ophthalmology department, and a pox area! These are places inside a hospital!

So then, here is the structure of the sentence:

It is no surprise that Riyadh, …, is home to A and to B.

A and B should be in parallel.

Within A, we have a list of elements too.

A – the world’s largest hospital for falcons, a place where falcons from all over the world are treated in X, Y and Z

X – operating rooms

Y – an ophthalmology department

Z – a pox area

B – the largest veterinary clinic for desert mammals, a place where camels and other desert species are expertly cared for

Therefore, to show parallelism between A and B, we have used “to” with both to show the beginning of the parallel elements. This separates them from the other set of parallel elements – X, Y and Z.

Note that only option (A) satisfies these conditions and hence is the correct answer here.

Takeaways

  • The first thing to do is to figure out the logic of the sentence to see which elements should be in parallel and which shouldn’t.
  • After that, put those that need to be in parallel. We might need to repeat certain words to signal the start of parallel elements when we have other intertwined lists too.

We will leave you with a question now. We will discuss it in detail in our next post.

Question 2: Geologists believe that the warning signs for a major earthquake may include sudden fluctuations in local seismic activity, tilting and other deformations of the Earth’s crust, changing the measured strain across a fault zone, and varying the electrical properties of underground rocks.

(A) changing the measured strain across a fault zone, and varying

(B) changing measurements of the strain across a fault zone, and varying

(C) changing the strain as measured across a fault zone, and variations of

(D) changes in the measured strain across a fault zone, and variations in

(E) changes in measurements of the strain across a fault zone, and variations among

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Why We Need to Redraw GMAT Geometry Figures

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomMany test takers, though good at Math find Data Sufficiency difficult. They are much more used to the straight forward Problem Solving pattern. The very principles behind the two question types are very different.

In Problem Solving questions, our target is to find just one solution. For example, when we have questions involving percentages, we assume some values and get the answer. No matter what values we assume, we will always get the same answer as long as the integrity of the data is maintained.

In Data Sufficiency questions, our target is to find multiple possible solutions  after using all the given data and arrive at answer (E). If we are unable to find more than 1 solution using either statement (1) and/or statement (2), we arrive at answers (A), (B), (C) or (D).

The aim is diametrically opposite in the two cases. Therefore, our strategies in the two cases would also be different and they are. Consider Geometry questions with figures in them. In Problem Solving questions, we try to make the figures as symmetrical as possible under the given constraints. With symmetrical figures, it is easier to get an answer. One answer is all we need.

In Data Sufficiency questions, we try to make the figures as extreme as possible. Only the given data should hold in such a figure and no symmetry should exist in the other dimensions. Only then will we be able to really figure out whether the given information is enough to arrive at a unique answer.

Let’s explain this using two examples:

Problem Solving Question

 

PSvsDSQuesPS1.jpg ********************************

 

In the figure above, the area of square PQRS is 64. What is the area of triangle QRT?

(A) 48
(B) 32
(C) 24
(D) 16
(E) 8

This is a Problem Solving question.

All we are given is that PQRS is a square. Note that the location of point T is not defined. It is just any point on side PS. We can place it anywhere we like as long as it is on PS. At what point will it be easy for us to calculate the area of triangle QRT? Of course, T could be the middle point of PS (bringing in symmetry) and we could calculate the area of the triangle or we could make it coincide with S so that QRT is a right triangle half of square PQRS. Then, the area of triangle QRT will simply be half of 64, i.e. 32.

Note that we don’t necessarily need to do this. We can assume T to be a random point, drop an altitude from T to QR, find that the length of the altitude will be same as the side of the square, find that side of the square will be √(64) = 8 and area of triangle QRT will be (1/2)*8*8 = 32

We will arrive at the same answer of course! But, assuming a better position for point T (but only because it is not defined) will cut the calculations and help us arrive directly at 32 from 64.

Data Sufficiency Question

 

PSvsDSQuesDS1.jpg ********************************

 

If AD is 6 and ADC is a right angle, what is the area of triangular region ABC?

Statement 1: Angle ABD = 60°
Statement 2: AC = 12

Looking at the figure, many test takers are tempted to think that the altitude AD will bisect BC. Note that that may not be the case.

According to the data given in the question stem alone, the figure could very well look something like this:

 

PSvsDSQuesDS2.jpg ********************************

 

All we know is that ADC is a right angle and the length of the altitude is 6. We don’t know whether any of the sides are equal, etc. Hence, it is a good idea to redraw the figure with extreme proportions – one side much greater than the other.

Now we can use the given statements to re-adjust the proportions.

Area of triangle ABC = (1/2)*AD*BC

We know that AD is 6. But we don’t know BC. Let’s examine each of the statements separately.

Statement 1: Angle ABD = 60°

This statement tells us that triangle ABD is a 30-60-90 triangle. Knowing the length of AD will give us the length of the other two sides too. But here is the problem – to know BC, we need to know length of CD too. That we cannot find from this statement alone. This statement alone is not sufficient to answer the question.

Statement 2: AC = 12

We know that ADC is a right angled triangle. Knowing AC and AD, we can find the length of CD using Pythagorean Theorem. But we cannot find BD using this statement and that is needed to get the length of BC. This statement alone is also not sufficient to answer the question.

Using both statements, we can find the lengths of both BD and CD, and hence, can find the length of BC. This will give us the area of the triangle. Therefore, our answer is C.

Note here that if we mistakenly assume that D is the mid point of BC, we might come to the conclusion that each statement alone is sufficient and might mark the answer as D, instead of C. Hence, it is a good idea to redraw the given figure in a Data Sufficiency question to ensure that it has as little symmetry as possible.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

 

Breaking Down the Scale Method for Weighted Averages

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomBefore you dive into this post, make sure you are are familiar with the Scale Method for weighted averages, which we have discussed in previous posts. 

We know that the scale formula of weighted averages is the following:

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)

One point of confusion for many test takers regarding this formula is figuring out what A1, A2, w1 and w2 actually are.

Here is the simple answer: they can be anything. You can choose to set up the solution as you want. The only thing is that it must be consistent across. A1 and w1 could be the parameters of either solution; A2 and w2 will be the parameters of the other solution. We could also work with the concentration of either ingredient of the solution. We will illustrate this point with an example GMAT question:

A container holds 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water. How many quarts of water must be added to the container to create a mixture that is 3 parts alcohol to 5 parts water by volume?

(A) 4/3
(B) 5/3
(C) 7/3
(D) 8/3
(E) 10/3

Now, we have been given two solutions that we have to mix:

  1. A container holding 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water
  2. Water (which means it has no alcohol in it)

When these solutions are mixed together, they give us a mixture that is 3 parts alcohol to 5 parts water by volume.

So, what are A1, w1, A2, w2 and Aavg? We can work with the concentration of either alcohol or water. Let’s first see how we can work with the concentration of water:

Method 1:
A1 is the concentration of water in the solution of 4 quarts of alcohol and 4 quarts of water. So A1 = 4/8.
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of water in the solution of water only. So A2 = 8/8 (we want to write this in the same format that we write A1 in.)
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of water in the final solution i.e. 5/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (8/8 – 5/8)/(5/8 – 4/8)
w1/w2 = 3/1

So 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water should be mixed with 1 part of pure water.

Method 2:
A1 is the concentration of water in pure water. So A1 is 8/8
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of water in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A2 is 4/8
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of water in the final solution i.e. 5/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (4/8 – 5/8)/(5/8 – 8/8)
w1/w2 = 1/3

So 1 part of water should be mixed with 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water (same result as above).

Now we will see how to work with the concentration of alcohol. Of course the result will be the same.

Method 3:
A1 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A1 is 4/8.
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of water only. So A2 is 0/8 (to write in the same way as above)
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of alcohol in the final solution i.e. 3/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (0/8 – 3/8)/(3/8 – 4/8)
w1/w2 = 3/1

So 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water should be mixed with 1 part of pure water (same as above).

Method 4:
A1 is the concentration of alcohol in pure water. So A1 is 0/8
w1 is the volume of this solution.
A2 is the concentration of alcohol in the solution of 4 quarts alcohol and 4 quarts water. So A2 is 4/8.
w2 is the volume of this solution.
Aavg is the concentration of alcohol in the final solution i.e. 3/8

w1/w2 = (A2 – Aavg)/(Aavg – A1)
w1/w2 = (4/8 – 3/8)/(3/8 – 0/8)
w1/w2 = 1/3

So 1 part of pure water should be mixed with 3 parts of the solution with alcohol and water (same result as above).

Hope there will be no confusion about this in future.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? Check out one of our many free GMAT resources to get a jump start on your GMAT prep. And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter for more helpful tips like this one!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

How to Write a Strong Common App Essay

SAT WorryOver 700 American Colleges and Universities utilize the Common Application system to streamline the application process. Among the many elements of the application itself, you will have to choose ONE of seven Personal Statement prompts to respond to, and you’ll have 250-650 words for your narrative.

When you’re staring at the seven Common App essay prompts, the choices can seem overwhelming, and the stakes are high.  Depending on the prompt that you select, you’ll need to write something that is informative and emotionally compelling, but not a cliché. You need to be unique and demonstrate character, while also proving you’ll add insight and experiences to the incoming freshman class. You need to talk about your leadership and accomplishments, but stay humble.  You need to be yourself while also keeping your voice professional.  It’s a lot to convey your authentic self in 650 words or less, but Veritas Prep has you covered with our Personal Statement Guide.

Our College Admissions Consultants all have formal admissions decision-making experience, and they have reviewed each of the seven Personal Statement prompts to provide guidance on how to respond to each of the options.  Best of luck!

Prompt #1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Read advice>

Prompt #2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Read advice>

Prompt #3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Read advice>

Prompt #4: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Read advice>

Prompt #5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Read advice>

Prompt #6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Read advice>

Prompt #7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Read advice>

Admissions deadlines are approaching! Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? Fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+, and Twitter!