You Oughta Know
When should I apply? Duke uses a standard three-round system for applications, plus an added Early Action round. This means that you may submit your application in any of its four rounds for consideration. However, 90% or more of the class will be filled by Round 2, so we do not encourage you to wait until the final round without compelling circumstances. If Fuqua is your top-choice program, we highly encourage you to apply during the Early Action round. If you would rather attend another program if accepted, then apply in Round 1.
Traditional candidates. If you are a traditional candidate from management consulting or finance, we encourage you to apply in Early Action or Round 1 (assuming you have a strong GMAT score), as you’ll be competing against many candidates with very similar profiles. In a later round, it’s possible that the school may see you as a viable candidate to the school but may have already admitted several other applicants with similar profiles, so it might pass on you to bring greater professional diversity to the class. (Plus, the school knows you’ve been planning on an MBA since the day you graduated from undergrad, so there’s no reason to delay!)
Don’t rush! Please note that even though the top schools encourage you to apply in the earliest round possible, this does not mean that you should apply with a rushed application or a mediocre GMAT score. There’s no sense in applying early if you’re just going to be denied. A GMAT score that’s above the school’s average will do more for your candidacy than applying in the first round. Fuqua itself advises, “Given the competitive applicant pool, you are encouraged to apply in the round in which you can submit your ‘best’ application.”
Deadlines. Fuqua’s admissions deadlines are virtually unchanged versus last year: There’s an Early Action round ending September 13, 2016, and three “regular” rounds with deadlines on October 13, 2016; January 4, 2017, and March 20, 2017. One important note about the school’s Early Action deadline: Even though it’s called “Early Action,” which most schools interpret as “non-binding,” Fuqua considers it to be a binding agreement that you will attend the school if admitted. So, we only recommend applying in this round if Fuqua is clearly your first choice. If it’s not, save your application for Round 1; you’ll still receive your final decision from the admissions committee before the holidays. Interview invitations are issued approximately four weeks after the deadline, and admissions decisions are sent four weeks after that. You’ll want to apply in the earliest round possible for full consideration for financial aid.