My initial plan was to submit all seven of my applications during Round 1. But my best laid plans were thwarted by Cornell. Then they were thwarted again by USC. But I’m still doing round 1 for the other five, even though my schedule was crazy tight for Round 1 deadlines (I just took the GMAT for the first and only time less than two months ago!). My reasons are as follows:
First, and most important of all, I wanted to get this whole thing OVER WITH. I knew if I drew out the application process a couple months longer I’d just agonize over small details and drive myself crazy. Plus, I’d probably just sit around on my ass for the first few weeks and not really work on my apps until there wasn’t much time left anyway.
Secondly, the appeal of possibly knowing where my life was heading by the end of the calendar year was too much to resist. I want to know where I’ll be in 2014 NOW.
And then there’s the whole your-chances-are-better-in-the-first-round thing. Even though some of my schools explicitly say that there is no difference in competition between Rounds 1 and 2, I still don’t quite believe them. And, for me, this is a no-brainer. If you know your chances are better now, just do it now!! Yeah, there’s that whole “submit your application when its strongest” thing, but I don’t think another two months will make that much of a difference for me.
So I charted out my deadlines on a spreadsheet a few weeks ago and realized–with horror–that Cornell has an insanely early deposit deadline for Round 1 decisions. They give you literally less than one month to decide whether to commit your MBA future to them or not. And that Round 1 deposit deadline is earlier than some other schools’ Round 1 decision release dates. So if I did Round 1 at Cornell and if I got admitted, I’d have to pony up a $1,500 deposit fee to save my space while I waited for Berkeley and UCLA to release their decisions. And while I’d probably pick Cornell over UCLA at this current moment (and I might totally change my mind later), I don’t want to be in that kind of sticky situation. So Cornell got pushed to Round 2.
Then USC raised its ugly head (No no, your head isn’t ugly, USC. Your head is really pretty! Can I be admitted now?). It’s probably my fault, though. When I was creating my spreadsheet in mid-August, USC hadn’t updated its deadlines for the 2013-14 application cycle yet. Its website still had 2012-2013 deadlines on it. I figured that the dates would probably be the same this year, and typed down what the deadline was for round 1 in 2012: November 1. I happened to check in on the site again just a few days ago and saw that Round 1 does not end on November 1st this year, but October 15 instead. A two-week difference isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but it does make a huge difference in my insanely tight schedule. Northwestern and Berkeley both have October 16 deadlines, and I couldn’t fathom the idea of squeezing in another entire application at the same time. I also saw that USC’s website now says the second round is when “Priority consideration for merit-based scholarships [is] given to both international and domestic students with completed applications“, so I’m probably better off anyway.
So here are my deadlines, in all their glory:
- Yale, round 1: Was due on Sept 25. I submitted everything already except for those damned video interview questions, which I will do this weekend and write about later.
- Stanford, round 1: Due Oct 2. Their website explicitly says applying in round 1 is advantageous. I’ll be submitting this app this weekend, also.
- Berkeley, round 1: Oct 16
- Northwestern, round 1: Oct 16
- UCLA Anderson, round 1: Oct 22
- Cornell, round 2: December 4
- USC, round 2: January 10, 2014