You Oughta Know
When should I apply? Tuck has an Early Action round followed by three standard rounds. You may submit your application in any of these four rounds for consideration. However, we do not encourage you to wait until the final round without compelling circumstances.
Early Action. Unlike schools like Columbia, Tuck’s Early Action round is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,500 deposit by January 13 if you plan to enroll. Anyone accepted in that round is welcome to continue applying elsewhere until the January response deadline. The key advantage of the Early Action deadline is the ability to signal to the school that it is one of your top choices by working on its application so early in the season.
Applying early vs. applying right. 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.
Deadlines. Applications for each round are considered after each deadline, so there is no advantage to applying earlier in the round. That said, we recommend that you submit at least a couple of days before your target deadline to avoid the last-minute crush. Recommendations need to be submitted by the deadline as well.
Unusual admissions policies. As we mentioned earlier in this Guide, Tuck tends to do things a bit differently. Below are several policies that differ at Tuck from most other MBA programs.
Test scores. If you have taken the GMAT or the GRE multiple times, Tuck will allow you to “cherry-pick” the best overall score, and will consider the best quant or verbal score from different sittings of the test. (You cannot combine different components of the GRE with those of the GMAT, however.) This approach is definitely different from other schools’.
Former MBA recipients. Tuck does not accept applications from anyone already holding an MBA, which disqualifies a large number of Indian candidates who went straight to business school after college, and now, after working for a while, realize that they would benefit from another run-through at a formal business education. Some other schools are open to this applicant profile; Tuck is not.
Applicant-initiated interviews. Tuck is one of the few remaining schools that still allows applicant-initiated interviews, a strategy that works for both the school and the applicant. Applicants who might be attracted to the traditional New England setting but are a bit apprehensive about the location may find that the campus sells itself with bucolic charm and a friendly and approachable community. Applicants also gain a distinct advantage by demonstrating their interest and adding another (hopefully positive) element to their application before it is reviewed by the admissions committee. And the admissions committee gets to meet a variety of interesting applicants for whom the confines of the application might not tell the entire story.
Ding analysis. Tuck, in keeping with its friendly and accessible culture, encourages re-applications. This fact is not unusual in itself; in fact, re-applicants are admitted at higher rates than first-time applicants at most business schools. However, if an applicant is denied (“dinged,” in the MBA admissions world), the admissions team offers feedback calls if requested (usually provided May through July) to offer suggestions for improvement.
Scholarship essay. Probably the biggest difference that can be overlooked—and the one that can potentially matter most to applicants—is the fact that the Tuck scholarship application requires another essay in addition to the standard application essays. Other schools often do not require anything further to be considered for fellowships and scholarship funding. However, the essay is short (less than 500 words) and isn’t harshly judged or scrutinized if you overlap content with your formal admissions essays.
Deferrals. Another nuance is that Tuck does occasionally permit deferrals from time to time, so if you gain an offer of admission and some life event arises that prevents you from attending business school on the originally planned schedule, you may see some flexibility from the admissions department. (Other schools are much more strict about refusing deferrals in any situation.)