How to Successfully Ask for an MBA Admissions Deferral

AdmissionA deferral is when an applicant is admitted to an MBA program they plan to attend but they desire to delay their matriculation to a later date due to some sort of extenuating circumstance. (This is different than the official deferred enrollment programs that are offered at some schools, such as the HBS 2+2 Program, which you can read about here.)

A big part of applying to business school is affirming why right now is the ideal time for you to pursue your MBA, so when a candidate asks for a deferral, it kind of flies in the face of that statement. As such, deferrals are often difficult to secure at most top MBA programs.

Generally, when deferrals are secured at top schools, it is due to personal illnesses, deaths or illnesses in the family, or military deployment – essentially, extreme circumstances that are outside of the control of the admit. Financial or work related deferrals are more commonly requested, but they are also less commonly approved. If you feel that you really need a deferral for one of these reasons by all means request one, just know the odds of the deferral being granted will not be in your favor.

If you are going to make the request to have your business school admission deferred, see if you can have a conversation about your situation with the Admissions Committee in-person, or at least on the phone, rather than over email. This will add a personal element to your request and increase the chance that the Admissions Committee will make their decision in your favor.

It also helps if you can position the reason for your deferral as a once in a life time opportunity while reaffirming your commitment to pursuing an MBA at that particular school the following year, and reminding the Admissions Committee of how you will be able to offer more to the student community upon your eventual matriculation. Remember this is a difficult decision for the Admissions Committee as well. If the school admitted you, then they are invested in you becoming a part of their community, so engaging in discussions around a deferral is equally challenging for the Admissions Committee.

Make sure to follow up your conversation with the Admissions Committee via email, and include a special thank you for their consideration as well as a reminder of the above notes, as this request is ultimately outside of the typical application process. The best thing you can do when engaging in the process of requesting an MBA deferral is to be humble. Remember, you are making a BIG request that the school does not need to grant you. Being humble and appreciative of the consideration you are receiving can only help your chances.

It is important to enter this process understanding the limited odds you have to actually secure a deferral, so follow the tips above to increase your chances, and make sure you are properly evaluating whether the alternative to matriculating in the year you applied is worth the overall hassle.

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.

Breaking Down Your MBA Deferred Enrollment Options

GMATMany candidates start considering business school very early in their professional careers, while others start investigating even earlier as undergraduate students. Some of the top MBA programs in the world provide options for these eager college students to begin the application process for business school early.

For college students, this is an opportunity to earn an early business school admit – before even graduating college – from some of the top MBA programs in the world. This option is usually accompanied by some requirement to complete a few years of work experience, but some programs will allow students to matriculate immediately following undergrad.

Let’s explore a few of the top deferred enrollment programs and how they differ from each other:

Yale SOM
Yale’s deferred enrollment program is called the Yale Silver Scholars Program. This program is unique because it allows graduating students to begin their MBA immediately after graduation. For young applicants looking to complete their MBA at a top business school as soon as possible, this is a great option.

Silver Scholars is structured as a three-year program: the first year of the program builds business fundamentals through a core set of classes, with the second year taking students off campus through an extended internship that serves to supplement that lack of work experience Silver Scholars possess, while adding a more practical component to the program. In the final year of the program, students utilize the Yale electives curriculum to personalize their education and pursue unique areas of interest.

Harvard Business School
Harvard’s deferred enrollment program is called the HBS 2+2 Program. It is one of the most well-known and longest running of the MBA deferred enrollment programs. In the 2+2 program, participants must complete two years of HBS-approved post-undergrad work prior to matriculation. If you’re already a grad student don’t fret – with the 2+2 program, as long as you have not held a full-time work position you are still eligible to apply.

Stanford
The Stanford MBA Deferred Enrollment Program offers applicants the opportunity to directly enroll in their program or pursue full-time work experience for between one and three years prior to matriculation. The school then ultimately decides which program is optimal for the student and reserves the right to place the applicant appropriately.

As always, research is the key, so go beyond secondary research and connect with current program participants and admissions officers to get a feel for which program best addresses your development needs and whether deferred enrollment makes sense for you and your career goals.

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 Facebook, YouTube, Google+ 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 find more of his articles here.

Business Schools Just Say "No" To Deferrals

MBA admissions
An article on BusinessWeek.com yesterday described business schools’ increasing reluctance to hand out admissions deferrals these days. In a climate where some students have a harder time securing loans and others are unable to sell their houses in order to relocate for school, this could put some newly admitted applicants in a tough spot.

In a given year, many top schools hand out dozens of deferrals. Students may ask for all sorts of reasons — big changes at home, a newly earned promotion, or a financial picture that will change next year — and schools will usually at least consider such requests. However, with all of the uncertainty in today’s market, schools are unwilling to layer on one more level of complexity in managing a deferrals list.


Many admissions officers interviewed for the article said they plan to offer fewer deferrals this admissions season, and some even plan on scaling this number down further next year, to the point where they’ll offer no deferrals at all. This comes as these same schools report that the number of deferral requests are on the rise.

Interestingly, the reason for such requests seems to be changing: While many requests tend to come from applicants who hope to “shop around” and try to get into other schools, now the decision driving deferral requests seems to be whether applicants want to drop out of the workforce and pursue an MBA at all. Meanwhile, the schools, having seen their applicant pools become noticeably more and more qualified each year, are reluctant to grant deferrals knowing that they may have even stronger applications to choose among next year.

While MBA admissions officers explain that it’s difficult to defer an applicant who was admitted to this year’s class, since he may not fit into next year’s class, we believe that (as is often the case) yield management at least partly drives this decision. Yield rates for deferred admits are below 50% at some top schools. Clearly, schools see a deferral request as at least a weak signal that you may not end up matriculating, making them less likely to play along?

What does this mean for you? As always, you should only apply to schools which you actually want to attend. A “safety school” isn’t so safe if you don’t want to go there, so only apply if you can see yourself at that school. However, if you are admitted to a great school and have a truly legitimate reason for not being able to matriculate this year, it never hurts to pick up the phone and explain your circumstances. The worst the school can say is “no,” and they may even give you a little more time to decide. They will never take away your acceptance offer, so there’s not much downside in asking. Just know that you’re not likely to get a “yes” unless you have a real reason for requesting a deferral.

For more help in applying to business school, law school, or medical school, call us at 800-925-7737 and talk to one of our admissions experts. And, as always, be sure to follow us on Twitter!