In from Yale SOM’s waitlist [admit #4]

the_wait_is_over1

I started out last fall with my heart set on Yale SOM. When I first started exploring business schools, SOM called out to me…even before I found out that it was “the” bschool for nonprofit folks. And once I discovered that fact, I felt like my mind was all made up. I didn’t know what kind of chances I had at admission, but if Yale let me in, I would GO. I was that sure that SOM was The School for Me.

Then I found out I was waitlisted. It was the first bschool decision I received of all my apps (well, except for GSB, but that didn’t ever really register with me), and I was crushed. I thought that if I had a chance anywhere, it would be SOM…and even they weren’t sure if they wanted me. I started to think I had little to no chance of admission at all my other schools.

But then things started looking up. Way up. Not only did I receive admission from Anderson, I also received a scholarship. I was floored. I started out this process thinking mayyyybe I’d have a shot at scholarship money, but in no way did I expect it. But I got some, and suddenly my expectations shot upward. I started to need more than an admit to consider enrollment.

In the meanwhile, I was learning more and more about Johnson, my dark horse candidate. And I liked what I learned. I liked it a lot. SOM started to look very far away, and Johnson looked more and more within reach.

And that’s what brings me to where I am today. I found a little over a week ago that I was admitted with all the other round 2 admits at SOM. I was really happy, of course, but I also did not receive any funding from them. And even though Yale has an outstanding loan forgiveness program…I’m sticking with Johnson. For all those of you who have been going following the SOM saga with me (machichi, AG, tinkered, everyone else out there), I have truly appreciated swapping stories and going through all of it with you, and I’m sad we won’t be classmates next year. But I’m sure you’re all destined for greatness, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for SOM 🙂

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my bschool application drama. I hope you enjoyed the show!

I’ll still be blogging when inspiration hits me, probably mostly complaint-filled posts about the relocation process. (Did I mention I hate moving? Yes, I think I did, but I’ll say it again. I hate moving.) No promises once the fall semester starts at Johnson, though. From what I hear, I’ll barely have time to breathe, much less blog…though I do love blogging.

I want to thank all of you out there who have been reading my posts and virtually traveling the bschool application journey with me. This blog is well on its way toward its 30,000th view since my first post this past September! I’ve tried to be as transparent as possible, and I hope you guys have gleaned something from it all, whether it was a smile, a nod or a muttered “god I hate her she is so annoying.” I’ll take it all.

For those of you asking, “How did you get off the Yale waitlist?“, I honestly don’t think I did anything special. I was kind of lazy about the whole thing because I was hedging my bets. I didn’t visit campus or reach out to more students/alumni. I’m pretty sure my case was “Pretty good, but not awesome. Let’s put her off until round 2 and reevaluate her within the context of that group.” And maybe yield was lower than they expected for round 1. But here’s what I did:

  • Asked for feedback: SOM will give you feedback on your application if you ask for it (other schools won’t). I asked, and their feedback was that they had no specific feedback, so that didn’t really help me much. But they might give you something actionable that you could work on.
  • Demonstrated interest: When I received an offer from another school, I let SOM know about it and said that I’d still pick them if they let me in.
  • Submitted another rec: I had another previous supervisor submit a character-driven rec for me. I never saw the rec, so I don’t know what it really said. Maybe it was crazy fantastic and that’s what got me in (?) But I also hear recs from current students and alumni can help a lot.

I also submitted a two-sentence update saying that I had completed a pre-MBA math course and received an A+ in it, but I doubt this had anything to do with my admission. I don’t think quant was a real concern on my app.

I’ve heard stories of people putting together pages and pages of supporting content and sending it to admissions. I didn’t do any of that. I probably sent SOM three or four short (3-4 sentences each) emails total during the four-month waiting period. And I didn’t really get a response to the messages I sent, so I don’t even know if they read them, really. I actually wonder if what I contributed had any influence at all on my admission. I mean, it was probably better than staying completely silent, but in and of itself I don’t believe the content was that compelling.

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Bye GSB–Nice (not?) knowing you [Stanford Ding]

deniedWell, I can officially mark down my first business school admission decision, and it’s a rejection.

I actually felt this one coming on right when I started filling out Stanford’s application. I can say, hands down, that my Stanford app gave the most incomplete picture of me as an applicant. The way the entire thing was framed and what information it asked for made it very difficult for me to explain myself, and it was also clearly looking for information about someone who was, well, not me.

First, the app had a huge “Awards” section to fill out (well, “huge” according to my standards). I had to reach really, really far to fill out that list–like, over a decade ago. So that was pretty much a waste of space.

Second, in terms of activities during college, Stanford’s app drew a firm line between unpaid and paid work/activities, which made it really difficult for me to list the things I had done. I spent basically all of my free time during the school year completing unpaid internships. I knew I was going to enter the workforce right after graduation, so I tried to get as much practical experience I could under my belt to beef up my resume, and I pointedly spent my time working off campus instead of getting too involved in student clubs and such. I probably had just 1-2 semesters where I wasn’t interning somewhere. And most of the places I worked at didn’t have money to pay interns. But unfortunately, with the way GSB divides up your experience on the app, there was only space to put down two (!) of the internships I completed. Two of the eight or so I had done. (And meanwhile, the “Awards” section had five spots to fill out. And four spots for “Activities after college.”)

And lastly, sharing your parents’ entire educational history and their occupations was mandatory. In my opinion, this only works in the favor of two groups of people: Those whose parents are Bill Gates (famous or rich or have status in some other way) and those whose parents never went to college and work a a blue collar job. I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with favoring these folks–but I don’t fall into either group.

But even if I could have filled the application with only the pieces of myself that I wanted to, I’m pretty sure I’d still get that ding. While filling out the app, I formed a picture in my mind of what GSB was looking for: Sky-high stats, young people who have already done something groundbreaking with their time (awards), people with connections (lineage) or those from a tough, disadvantaged background who have really persevered. I don’t fall into any of these categories. But, really, I’ve heard of people who fulfill all of those characteristics who were denied. I also know people who were admitted, and it’s not exactly clear to me why they were. My essays were my only hope, really. I think I wrote something pretty decent and unique, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the rest of my blah app, I guess. Oh well. Goodbye, GSB, I hardly knew ye.